This diet malarkey is doing my head in. I am obsessed with the numbers of Kcals (what was wrong with Cals?), and the difference between Carbs and Protein, (not a clue), and whether Dopamine or Thiamine are the same things. All I know is that every meal has to be recorded religiously, nay zealously on my Nutracheck app. Tiresomely this tells me that – and you may be surprised – eggs, bacon, toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, and a mug of sweet tea delivers a bloody big number, compared to the packet that you pour boiling water onto and which smells like a third-class seat on the Durbar night train.
Thanks to the unelected Medical Panjandrums that now run this country, largely through fear masquerading as kindness, the Queen’s Speech this week also demanded that any restaurant company worth its salt, will have to become obsessed about KCals and Carbs and Fat (two types apparently). Restaurant companies with 6-7 restaurants in the company won’t be cooking, they’ll be obsessing. You think me harsh? Let me elucidate the “food chain” of restaurant success, and do, please, correct me if you can see a flaw.
The Lentil Bistro employs 6 people and Whitty and Co do a lot of open-necked virtue-signalling there with Grauniad hacks. These people only eat lentils in North London bistros masquerading as soup kitchens, so the Lentil Bistro gets a good reputation. The chef also does three daily specials to go with his menu of fourteen things to do with various colours of lentil. The specials are delicious. After a year, the LB has made enough to open a second branch and they now employ fourteen people, seat more, feed more and still have a great reputation for innovation and craft skills, through their daily specials. A customer with a hedge fund likes lentils, likes the menu, loves the specials and invests. The LB Company grows and now has eight bigger units in places that aren’t in Islington and employs 255 people. A man from the Council comes and fines them £10k for failing to print the Dietary stats for every menu item across their menu. They comply, but they stop doing the specials because it is simply too much aggravation. Now – because the menu is precisely formulaic – the chefs are not required to be creative, but rather to follow a menu exactly. To be production line operators. They leave. Across the country, people stop wanting to become chefs and we end up with no middle ground. We just have Fastfood global chains and we have Mom and Pop operations that will cover the broad spectrum of brilliant to appalling. What we won’t have is grass-routes growth of restaurants, because this isn’t about good eating, being sociable, enjoying oneself. It’s about Puritans versus Libertarians.
My perceptions of the current divides in our society – Food Bad – Drink Bad – No Platforming Good – was also highlighted this week by the news that The Cypriots weren’t now building a Chippy, in the next village, but had instead bought some premises in Marlborough many miles away. This new enterprise is presumably on the grounds that vast numbers of College children enjoy some greasy scran of a lunch-time. Certainly, Marlborough’s pizza parlours are busy and there is a Donor kebab shop hidden away, that I have seen full of scoffing young. However, what set the Kneesup fuse ticking, was the prurience of the local Nobbery, who expressed delight at the changed Chippy plans. Lady Nob, wrote on the local website: “…you can already get F&C from the two pubs and the local Chinese! Why would anyone need another one? Also, it means less litter and all the after-hours rowdiness”, showing a truly woeful understanding of not only the Fish and Chip shop market but the entire concept of Pub Take-Aways.
The Pub Take-Away is a new phenomenon of Covid 19, and in horse breeding terms, is by Avoiding Penury out of Earning a Crust. In the main, it sort of works, but my local experience, suggests most villagers do it once a week or fortnight, primarily to lend support to the local. In the last year, I have only had one good Burger or Fish and Chips from any pub, and that was from Oakman Inns – and you cooked the pre-prepared ingredients yourself at home. Delicious Hamburger, beautifully cooked. Amen.
What pubs do is different from Take-Aways. Thus, and please bend your ears back Lady Nob, no Chinese Take-Away or ordinary Pub (I am swerving Tom Kerridge et al) has ever sold a Take-Away Fish and Chips as good as a well-run Chippy. Equally, no Chippy has ever served a good Spring Roll or Steak Pie or Sunday Lunch, and no pub has ever done a respectable Cha Siu and Duck with Pak Choi in Oyster sauce, on a bed of crispy noodles. Additionally, The Cypriots charge £7.50 for a very decent piece of sizeable Cod and a huge portion of chips, plus chargeable options of pickled eggs, Saveloys, Pickled Cucumbers, Pickled Onions and of course Mushy Peas. The pubs locally are in the main £10, but some might include Mushy Peas.
But on top of this, Lady Nob, then calls the police in! “…After Hours Rowdiness”. Do you mean that the Yahoos run amok, incensed by the faintest whiff of Vinegar? Do they get Sodium overdoses and lie screaming in the gutters outside your window, having doused their chips with salt? Perhaps the Chippy’s with which you are so unfamiliar, secretly sell Bottles of Sake for those who are going to loiter outside the Take Away Chinese? Perhaps your issue is with the pubs, which has nothing to do with Take-Aways because they are almost exclusively eaten at home.
I try to be tolerant of People on the Clapham Omnibus puffing themselves up to be our moral masters, but in this case Madame, I refer you to Pliny The Elder’s Naturalis Historia. In it, he recounts the story of the Greek (from Kos to be accurate) painter Apelles who was approached by a shoemaker who bollocked him for painting a shoe incorrectly. Apelles changed the painting, at which point the cobbler started highlighting other defects. Apelles advised him not to make judgments past the shoe.
“Sutor, ne supra crepidam.”
This brings me neatly to the ultracrepidarian tips
1:50 Newbury HAPPY ROMANCE e/w
2:05 Newmarket FANCY MAN Win – SEA THE SHELLS e/w
2:25 Newbury LOGICIAN Win
2:40 Newmarket DEVILWALA Win
3:00 Newbury OZ LEGEND Win – RIVER ALWEN e/w
3.15 Newmarket SHARK TWO ONE e/w – JUST FRANK e/w
3:35 LADY BOWTHORPE e/w – LOPE Y FERNANDEZ
4:15 Navan WORDSWORTH