With traditional dinner parties back on the menu as restrictions on meeting indoors are eased, Brits seem set on celebrating this new-found freedom by hosting retro-themed dinner parties, according to Waitrose. New figures reveal that online recipe searches for prawn cocktail have risen by over a third this month compared to April.
Meanwhile, John Lewis reported sales of tablecloths rising by 73 per cent and sales of champagne rose at Waitrose by nearly a half (49 per cent), compared to the same week last year.
Zoe Simons, senior innovation chef at Waitrose, said:
“Now we’re able to host indoors once again, we have seen a growing trend in retro dinner party recipe searches on Waitrose.com. It’s clear we’re revisiting our childhoods and recreating recipes such as prawn cocktail, devilled eggs and baked Alaska, dishes which our parents and grandparents would have served for an extra special evening.“
The Prawn cocktail is a seafood dish consisting of shelled, cooked prawns in a Marie Rose sauce or cocktail sauce, served in a glass. It was the most popular hors d’oeuvre hors in Great Britain, as well as in the United States, from the 1960s to the late 1980s.
According to Wikipedia, the invention of the prawn cocktail in the UK is often credited to British television chef Fanny Cradock in the 1960s; however, it is more likely that Cradock popularised her version of an established dish that was not well known until then in Britain.
Many celebrity chefs and food writers have praised the Prawn Cocktail over the years, combatting it’s naysayers.
According to the English food writer Nigel Slater, the prawn cocktail “has spent most of its life see-sawing from the height of fashion to the laughably passé” and is now often served with a degree of irony.
Chef Heston Blumenthal states that prawn cocktail is his ‘secret vice’, adding:
“When I get home late after working, there’s nothing I like better than to raid the fridge for prawn cocktail.”
The television chef and writer Delia Smith states that the best version is with self-cooked prawns, and that in the 1960s it was “something simple but really luscious, yet over the years it has suffered from some very poor adaptations, not least watery prawns and inferior sauces.