The Great Crumpet Smackdown took place in a Weight Watchers meeting when I was about 13 years old. This was in the days before Points. Weight Watchers didn't let you eat just any old thing you fancied back then. It had to be on The List of Stuff You're Allowed To Eat.
One night after weigh-in we were sitting around in a circle airing our grievances and confessing our sins when a woman asked our lovely leader, "Why can't I have a crumpet?"
"Crumpets are not on the list."
"Why not? I read the nutritonal information on the packet. One crumpet is only 330 kilojoules (86 calories). That's less than a piece of bread. It doesn't make any sense!"
"They're not on the list!"
"We can have bread, bread rolls, pita bread, English muffins… but no crumpets. What's so wrong about a crumpet?"
"Because they're inevitably served dripping with butter! And/or honey!"
"But I don't HAVE butter or honey on my crumpet. I don't even have Weight Watchers Whipped Margarine! I have a plain, toasted crumpet with either banana or Vegemite."
"They're not on the list."
"WHY aren't they on the list?"
And on it went.
I remember being conflicted on the issue. Part of me thought, "Well hey, if it's not on the list, you know… we really should obey the list". But the teenager hitherto lacking a cause to rebel against was thinking, "Just let the woman eat her bloody crumpet!"
The incident was seared into my memory. One one of the first purchases I made as an independent householder was a packet of Golden Crumpets. I had them with butter AND honey and yes indeed, they were Golden Good. It was all downhill from there, as has been well documented on this blog.
I've wanted to bake my own crumpets since Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini blogged her Sourdough Crumpet recipe in January 2010. I bought some crumpet rings then promptly did nothing for 20 months. Then when Carla and I were coming up with our Five Fun Things for the podcast I decided it was time to give them a red hot go. Messing around with a sourdough starter was beyond my interest level so I went for a straightforward recipe from The Hairy Bikers (Edit: here's a video of them in crumpet action!). For those not in the know, The Hairy Bikers are two hairy blokes on the telly who ride around the countryside on motorbikes and cook things.
The crumpets were simple and satisfying to make. All that rising and waiting and rising and waiting was very soothing somehow. It was such a sweet feeling when I finally poured the batter into the crumpet rings and it went all bubbly like real live crumpets.
I ate the first one with doused with too much butter and eucalyptus honey as a two finger salute to the crumpet fascists of yesteryear. The rest were enjoyed more sensibly over the next few days. My favourite topping is a little butter and a scraping of Vegemite. Well worth the effort on a lazy Sunday if you like that sort of thing!
P.S. I posted about my crumpetry on the Up & Running forum and the wonderful Yvonne replied: "I never considered that they could be made. I assumed God just dropped them out of the sky ready made, like babies." Snortle!