Faggots are meat patties made in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire from ground meat that is bound together with breadcrumbs, seasoned with onion and sage, and wrapped in caul fat before cooking.
The meat used comes mostly from parts of the pig considered offal — lungs, heart, and liver.
The caul fat not only helps further to bind it together, but also bastes it during cooking.
Faggots are served with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy (generally onion gravy.)
You can buy them at butchers, already cooked; you just heat them up at home in the onion gravy.
People either love them in spite of what they are made from, or hate the very thought of them.
If you don’t have caul, you can wrap them in streaky bacon or greaseproof paper.
In January 2003, the Doody family from Wolverhampton was selected as the national Faggot Family for the UK, and helped launch the first ever National Faggot Week in the same month. They had competed for the honour earlier in November 2002 at the Savoy Hotel in London.
By 2004, though, Ofcom (the UK government agency called “Office of Communications), upholding radio listener complaints about promotion of the special week, decided to ban ads for it after some listeners complained about the use of the word “faggot”. [Ed.: The derogatory sense of the word “faggot” — meaning gays — is generally considered an American slang term; the British term tended to be “poofter”.]
Literature & Lore
“Faggots are a humble pate, made originally after a pig was killed to use up the lights, heart and melt, as well as the liver. …To me, the essential thing is a piece of caul fat — indeed that is the first thing to ask for. …The delight of faggots is that delicate white supple lace of caul that encloses each little nugget, basting it throughout the cooking, and turning to a most appetizing shiny brown. …There is some argument about the name, but it seems in this case, as with wood, to mean a bundle.” — Jane Grigson in The Observer Guide To British Cookery. London: Mermaid Books, Michael Joseph. 1984.
BBC News. Family of faggot fans fly the flag. 27 January 2003.
Williams, Dale. Save our faggots! Birmingham Evening Mail. 12 July 2004.