beef and kidney pie? Not if he wanted those 50 destroyers

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prudent260

Senior Member
Chinese
"If Roosevelt had gone to England, would the king have given him beef and kidney pie? Not if he wanted those 50 destroyers."

The article comments on the idea that chicken shouldn't be put into the frankfurter.
The author's idea is that it shouldn't matter as long as it is called 'hot dog.'

What does the sentence mean?

Thank you.

LIFE
 
  • AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    You've only provided a bit of the context, but I think I know what it is. Roosevelt served hot dogs to King George VI. The author thinks Roosevelt would have been so offended if the King had reciprocated by feeding him a similarly low-status British food, Roosevelt would not have given Britain fifty powerful naval vessels.

    This is a fanciful exaggeration that the author is using to make a point.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    The previous two sentences provide useful context.

    Meanwhile the hot dog rules above the strife, unassailable, the only item in cookery which compensates as an institution for what it frequently lacks as food. Didn't President Roosevelt give hot dogs to George VI when England's king and queen came here in 1939 to cement the alliance?

    And then: But if Roosevelt had gone to England, would the king have given him beef and kidney pie? Not if he wanted those 50 destroyers.

    The article is written in a humorous tone throughout. I think it's a joke about beef and kidney pie, to say that it isn't a particularly appetising item of food. It suggests hot dogs aren't much better but that they at least have a certain image. There's a reference to the importance of hot dogs in American culture earlier in the article too.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think the idea may be that, although the steak and kidney pie is as emblematic of English cooking as the hot dog is of American cooking, the British lack the confidence of their own convictions and would feel the need to set a more fancy dish before an important foreign visitor.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It’s a marvellous dish when cooked properly.
    I'm sure it's wonderful... for you. I'm not sure about Roosevelt, but most modern Americans can hardly stomach the idea of eating kidney. In addition, when served whole, it's too reminiscent of a frozen chicken pot pie; when served in portions, it seems like a casserole. Neither is elegant. :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    One of the dishes contains offal (and we're up-front about that:thumbsup:) and the other contains God knows what, ground up in an unidentifiable paste:thumbsdown:. :D
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    One of the dishes contains offal (and we're up-front about that:thumbsup:)
    I don't think that the "steak" is from a cut of beef that we would call "steak" in American English. It's stew meat. ;)

    From the BBC recipe site:
    Steak and kidney pie
    700g/1lb 9oz braising steak, diced
    Braising steak recipes - BBC Food
    The most common cuts of beef sold as braising (or stewing) steak include chuck, skirt, leg and flank – all hardworking muscles that are tough and need long, slow cooking.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    You've only provided a bit of the context, but I think I know what it is. Roosevelt served hot dogs to King George VI. The author thinks Roosevelt would have been so offended if the King had reciprocated by feeding him a similarly low-status British food, Roosevelt would not have given Britain fifty powerful naval vessels.
    Sausages are dubious at best regarding their content- as Bismarck noted "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” :D
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But if Roosevelt had gone to England, would the king have given him beef and kidney pie? Not if he wanted those 50 destroyers.

    The article is written in a humorous tone throughout. I think it's a joke about beef and kidney pie, to say that it isn't a particularly appetising item of food. It suggests hot dogs aren't much better but that they at least have a certain image. There's a reference to the importance of hot dogs in American culture earlier in the article too.
    It suggests hot dogs aren't much better but that they at least have a certain image.

    I think it suggests that the King needed more from Roosevelt than Roosevelt needed from the king. Roosevelt could afford to feed the king the potentially insulting (to someone of his social class and tastes) a hot dog.

    But the king (or his country, at any rate), the writer is implying, badly needed those 50 destroyers and needed to avoid the same potential faux pas. Anything that wasn't well-received by Roosevelt needed to be avoided because the all-important task at that critical moment in history and the soon-to-be war was to gain possession of those destroyers. For that, one's best behavior was called for. It was international power politics carried out over a hot dog plate.

    As Barque says, the article is humorous and no such affront was actually taken by the king. According to what I read, he enjoyed his hot dogs and beer. But it also mentioned that no photographers were permitted to photograph him doing so. That would have been a step too far.
     
    Last edited:

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I don't think that the "steak" is from a cut of beef that we would call "steak" in American English. It's stew meat. ;)

    From the BBC recipe site:
    Steak and kidney pie

    Braising steak recipes - BBC Food
    But the Collins dictionary entry (for British English) is not so restricted :D
    steak/steɪk/n. any of various cuts of beef of varying quality, used for braising, stewing, etc
    Perhaps the broader range of cuts included is the result of the rarity of common folk even getting beef in any form in "olden days" - so that it was all steak when the pie was originally named?:)
     
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