Eton mess
Eton mess at Black Horse Inn, Nuthurst West Sussex England 2 slightly different focus point.jpg
A plate of Eton mess
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Created byEton College
Main ingredientsBerries, meringue, cream

Eton mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries or other berries, meringue, and whipped cream.[1] First mentioned in print in 1893, it is commonly believed to originate from Eton College and is served at the annual cricket match against the pupils of Harrow School. Eton mess is occasionally served at Harrow School, where it is referred to as Harrow mess.[2]

Lancing mess (which uses bananas) is a similar dessert that is served throughout the year at Lancing College in West Sussex.[citation needed]


Eton mess was served in the 1930s in the school's "sock shop" (tuck shop), and was originally made with either strawberries or bananas mixed with ice-cream or cream.[3][4] Meringue was a later addition.[5][6] An Eton mess can be made with many other types of summer fruit,[7] but strawberries are regarded as more traditional.[citation needed]

The word mess may refer to the appearance of the dish,[5] or may be used in the sense of "a quantity of food", particularly "a prepared dish of soft food" or "a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together".[8]

"Eton mess" in popular parlance

In recent times, "Eton mess" has often been used by commentators in the media to describe political infighting within the UK Conservative Party over issues such as Brexit. Eton mess is used because a number of Conservative politicians were educated at Eton College.[9][10][11]

See also


  1. ^ Darra Goldstein; Sidney Mintz; Michael Krondl; Laura Mason (2015). The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford University Press. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-0-19-931339-6.
  2. ^ Arthur Henry Beavan (1896). Marlborough House and Its Occupants: Present and Past. p. 162.
  3. ^ Weir, Robin; Caroline Liddell; Peter Brears (1995). Recipes from the Dairy. London: National Trust. ISBN 0-7078-0243-1.
  4. ^ Blumenthal, Heston (5 February 2005). "The appliance of science : Another fine mess". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b Blumenthal, Heston (28 June 2003). "No messing". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Smith, Michael (1973). Fine English Cookery. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-10349-9. (Revised edition London: Serif, 1998, Foreword by Geraldene Holt; ISBN 978-1897959367.) See Dupleix, Jill (3 June 2004). "Eton mess : Strawberries and cream make a superb summer pudding for lazy, hazy days". The Times. London.
  7. ^ A recipe by Heston Blumenthal, for instance, uses bananas: see Blumenthal, Heston (12 February 2006). "Eton mess : Look, no berries – this Eton mess is a crispy, creamy, zingy heap of a treat". The Sunday Times. London.
  8. ^ "mess". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 25 November 2007. The Oxford English Dictionary defines mess as "[a] serving of food; a course; a meal; a prepared dish of a specified kind of food." or "[a] portion or serving of liquid or pulpy food such as milk, broth, porridge, boiled vegetables, etc.": Simpson, John, ed. (March 2002). "mess, n.". OED Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 July 2007..
  9. ^ Ashworth, Jon (18 March 2014). "Tories are in 'open warfare' over their 'Eton mess'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  10. ^ Mason, Rowena; correspondent, political (18 March 2014). "Tory minister attacks David Cameron's 'Eton mess' inner cabinet". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Baroness Sayeeda Warsi: Stirring the Eton Mess". The Independent. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2020.

Further reading