It’s ortolan, chips and Hendos for tea

Have your say

There is nothing a Sheffield woman loves more than eating spinach pie while watching the snooker highlights.

Of course, that is after she has driven her Volkswagen home from clothes shopping at Fenn Wright Manson, played her favourite musical instrument and watched the film Goodbye Lenin.

This unlikely picture of a Steel City resident has been conjured up thanks to polling website YouGov, which has used its data to show what differentiates various groups of people.

Apparently, across the whole of South Yorkshire tastes are even more adventurous – or the typical resident likes to wind up pollsters with dubious information.

According to YouGov the man, aged 40 to 59, most likely tucks into the obscure and controversial dish ortolan, a rare songbird eaten in France.

He describes himself as ‘barmy’, enjoys model building, Midsomer Murders and Thin Lizzy.

Real residents of Sheffield and South Yorkshire treated the poll with typical humour.

Posting on The Star’s website at, one reader said: “Can’t move in our kitchen for ortolans. We keep them next to the mountains of foie gras and veal.”

Another said: “Just off for some ortolan and chips. Lovely with a bit of Henderson’s.”

And the blunt verdict seemed to be: “What a load of old twaddle.”

Dr Aneta Piekut, lecturer in quantitative methods at Sheffield University’s methods institute, said the samples used to compile data were small, based on 600 people for Sheffield and just 66 in South Yorkshire, which could contribute to ‘uncertainty’.

Dr Piekut said: “The profiler targets trends or behaviours that are overrepresented among the group or a population of an area in comparison to others.

“So what it really says that people living in Sheffield, based on the imperfect, small sample, are more prone to eat spinach pie and watch snooker than you would expect people living in other cities to do so.

“But it does not mean all Sheffielders practise these behaviours and if the app allowed us to break down the population by age groups or neighbourhoods we would see a much more real, interesting and diverse picture.”

Some parts of the poll did seem more likely, however.

The average Sheffield woman listed her favourite music as hometown bands Arctic Monkeys and Pulp, while her niche interests included both the city’s football clubs – and The Star was one of her most-visited websites.

What the ‘ell is an ortolan?

The rare, tiny and delicate songbird was an expensive dinner mainly in France – until it was banned.

When it was possible to eat them, they were fattened then killed by being drowned in wine.

The diner then ate the entire thing – bar the feet – with a napkin over their head, supposedly to hide the shame of eating such a beautiful creature from God.