World Gone Bongo: Let’s Hear it for Gout—That Most British of Afflictions

In today's World Gone Bongo column, Andy ponders whether we should revive the grand old British tradition of gout.


Andrew Churnwell

2/1/20222 min read

On discovering that the centrist comedian Matt Forde has gout, I was seized by an irrepressible swelling of pride—pride that I live in Great Britain, where the upper strata of society (the beautiful people) remain bewitched by this most traditional of afflictions. That Sir Winston Churchill, Alvin Stardust, Big Daddy, and Freddie Starr were all gripped by gout should give you some indication of its illustriousness, its tantalising charm.

I put it to you that without gout, there would be no Normandy landings, and therefore no triumphant British victory in WWII; no My Coo Ca Choo, nor Beat the Crusher on Sky One. Yet nowadays youngsters, too busy complaining about the housing crisis and their inability to continue living in the current economy, have nothing but scorn for gout. They know nothing of its history and care not for its pedigree. Many, furthermore, simply don’t eat a patriotic-enough diet to contract gout in the first place.

So what should you be eating if you want to honour the Great British tradition of gout? Avoid vegetables, for starters, and pop down to your old fashioned chop house for a bowl of assorted organ meats and a pitcher of Surrey ale. A sad fact: before plant-based supremacy, British cuisine was the envy of the world—Britain being a paradise of delicious traditional foods that were acclaimed for their gout-enriching properties.

Although many of these foods have become quite unfashionable, I can still recommend establishments off the beaten path (in Broadstairs and in Kettering, in Tow Law and in Bridgewater) where a hungry punter can have a hearty meal of chodey eggs, flayed gullet, and gammon steaklet with an aspic brick; where you can chow down on a drippy pudding, Crewe tartlet, or cummy bun.

To know that I can eat as well now as I did in a 1979 Berni Inn provides me with a modicum of solace. But what I say is this: let’s bring back all the old foods for Blighty—not just chodey eggs and aspic brick, but the Barnsely bean sheath and the wet eggy slice, too. Our foods used to be world beating. Let’s, then, bring them back and begin this gout-honouring revolution of culinary excellence!