Food, Glorious Food…..

DSCF0040[1]Now this little fellah is called Robin….or rather was, as at the ripe old age of 9 months he was, quite literally, ripe…for the chop! Male goats, aka ‘billy’, are not a lot of use in a herd of goats after they have ‘visited’ a lady or two. To be offered ‘Robin’ and trimmings on Saturday night was rather distressing even if he would have tasted like lamb. Net result was a trip to the local chippie, twixt Gore End & Newbury. Indeed this,’ battering emporium’, stands on the site of The Second Battle of Newbury ( Civil War) –  as indicated by the memorial obelisk adjacent which celebrates Lord Falkland’s contribution. Locals in the queue were bemused by conversation about this & other ephemera but it was Saturday night & the queue was long. Amazing to record that along with pickled eggs, giant gherkins & senior citizen concessions the menu had SCRAPS!! Many have supposed such delicacies have long passed into History, like steam engines under Beeching’s Axe. Not so in the wilds of Berkshire! To the uninitiated scraps are the bits of batter lifted out of the frier at regular intervals by the ‘chef’ to maintain clean oil for the fish/saveloys/sausages et al to swim in. This detritus is usually put into a space at the side of the frier for disposal?! or, as in this case, offered up to customers in a paper pouch to go with, well,  anything. Brilliant, what a treat. Subsequent discussions with my Geordie host & his good lady revealed that in days gone by, considerably north of Watford, it was commonplace to go down to the chippie armed with dessert bowls …’ A penn’th of mixed in each please’ = a bowl of chips/scraps & mushy peas. This was the time when one would only eat half of the Yorkshire Pudding with the roast dinner …the ‘afters’ consisting of jam spread on the remainder. Fashions change in food as with anything else but class is permanent. ‘She who must be obeyed’ talked lovingly of scraps in curry sauce after a night on the Pernod in Penarth while no Post-Grads ‘Day On’ in Aberystwyth was complete without a plate of gammon, egg, chips and scraps. The  numbers who crave such delicacies and indulge whenever possible may be larger than we think. Standing in line at an airfield restaurant in South Yorkshire it was a magical moment to hear an order of, ‘Brie & Bacon Panini with Mushy Peas.