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Blanks and Prizes
White beans and boiled bacon chopped up together, the beans being blank and the meat the prize. Known from 'A Dictionary of obsolete and provincial English' by Thomas Wright (Wright 1857)
A correspondent to 'The Guardian' on Saturday 31 January 2009, wrote, under the heading; "We love to eat Granna's Blanks and Prizes -
Blanks: a savoury base - vegetable soup, baked beans or a mound of creamy mashed potato.
Prizes: cut-up chunks of sausage - pork bangers, spicy kabanos or chorizo, or tiny meatballs, bursting with porky, meaty, juicy flavour.
Stud the Blanks liberally with Prizes, and ladle a helping into each bowl. It's impossible to ensure an exact division of Prizes, so squabbles will inevitably ensue - but that's all part of the fun.
A sickly, weedy, asthmatic child, I apparently survived childhood only narrowly, and probably because of my grandmother - Granna - a large, capable woman who took on the job of feeding me whenever I was in the grip of another harrowing bout of bronchitis and refusing food. "Blanks and Prizes," Granna would prescribe, rolling up her sleeves and setting to work at the stove, "That's what you want to set you right again."
Before long, a steaming, savoury-smelling bowl would appear, Granna deftly wielding a spoon: "Open your mouth, poppet. Now let's see, what will you get - a blank or a prize?" she would tempt.
However ill I felt, I would join in the game until the bowl was empty.
I'm in my 50s now and no longer weedy, but cuddly - so it must have worked. We still have Granna's Blanks and Prizes for supper sometimes. Teresa Hewitt"
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