Why is it called a ploughman’s lunch?


A Ploughman’s lunch generally consists of bread, cheese, pickles or chutney, and often cold meats and fruit. (Picture: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A Devon pub has made headlines this week after it received a backlash for renaming the ploughman’s lunch ‘ploughperson’s lunch.’ 

The Tors Pub was accused of being ‘woke’ and of ‘cancelling’ the classic ploughman’s lunch dish.

Following the media attention, the pub explained the name change on social media, saying ‘Two years ago we put the Ploughperson’s on the menu as a lighthearted gesture and nod to our local farming community of men and women. We never intended to cause offence.’

But what is a ploughman’s lunch and how did it get its name?

What is a ploughman’s lunch?

A ploughman’s lunch is a popular lunch dish served in pubs in the UK. It is traditionally served cold and generally consists of bread, cheese (typically cheddar or Stilton), and pickles, but is often served with other accompaniments, such as cold meats, apples or other fruit, and scotch eggs or pork pies.

Despite nearly a quarter of Gen Z never having tried a ploughman’s lunch, it remains a classic pub dish.

What is a ploughman’s sandwich?

A ploughman’s sandwich is a sandwich inspired by the ploughman’s lunch that generally includes cheese, salad, and pickled chutney, like Branston Pickle


The Tors pub in Devon and an insert picture of a Ploughman's lunch.

The Tors pub changed the name of classic meal from Ploughman’s to Ploughperson’s as a ‘lighthearted gesture.’ (Picture: Google/The Tors Inn/SWNS)

Why is it called a ploughman’s lunch?

The ploughman’s lunch is supposed to resemble what a ploughman—a farmer who prepares the soil for planting crops—would eat for lunch while working. 

According to Britannica, the meal as it is today was likely created in the 1950s and became popular in the 1960s when it was included in a marketing campaign from the Milk Marketing Board to sell more cheese. 

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