An odd fellow, that Justin Horton! He gets rather hysterical with me from time to time, although, I confess that is not particularly odd. He writes extremely well which makes it more of a pity when he writes tosh, such as, his recent post on the subject of a 'ploughman's lunch'. He insists that such a thing does not exist at all, that it is all a figment of some ad-man's imagination. Yet, at the same time he points us to Wikipedia which says that the first citation in the OED was for 1837. This august publication goes on to claim that since the term 'ploughman's lunch' was not mentioned again until 1970, it did not, therefore, exist. All I can add to this fascinating subject which combines etymology with the culinary, is that just because no-one writes about something is no proof that it does not exist. I would even venture a dash of logic, thus; at sometime between 1837 and 1970, a ploughman, somewhere, sometime, undoubtedly took a packed lunch with him into the fields. It is not unreasonable to assume that, cheese and bread being staples of country cuisine, those items comprised his lunch. Ergo, (cor, I do like a touch of the Latins), the 'ploughman's lunch' existed, and therefore most of Justin's ravings on the subject are quite misplaced.
In case you are interested, and I must admit my own interest is waning faster than my Laphroag, Justin's extra-ordinary attack on this harmless, little belly-filler has something to do with Baroness Thatcher. Apparently it was all her fault. (No, don't ask me, go read Justin.) Incidentally, in looking through my 'OUP Dictionary of Quotations' to find a suitable title for this post, I came across this, in which I have taken the liberty of exchanging Justin's name for that of Chatterton in the text. Given his, shall we say, tendency to self-absorption with tragic overtones, I thought it rather applicable, although "joy" is perhaps not a word I would associate with Justin:
I thought of Justin, the marvellous boy,
The sleepless soul, that perished in his pride;
Of him who walked in glory and in joy,
Following his plough, along the mountain side: