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Crime of the Century…

Well, it’s been bitter cold a few days ago. I know I was varnishing an external door.

I then thought for dinner I might fancy (It was my wife’s idea) making a hearty Spanish style stew. So I went on a hunt for chorizo… and found it at the Co-op which staggered me for it was the only “filthy foreign sausages” (insert Sid James line of choice) the Co-op did have among it’s bewildering variety of almost identical British (Gawd bless ‘er! etc.) mechanically recovered offal tubes (there’s a ref there and not a prize if you get it – well not from me, anyway) there was chorizo! My flabber was gasted. None of that other continental filth, mind. None of your French or German or Czech or Polish or whatever sausage (insert Sid James line of choice). Apart from their many other sins the Co-op is staggeringly parochial. On the little screens at the tills there’s loads of piccies of “jolly natives” with their new water-pump but (with the exception of chorizo) nothing else paid for by buying Fairtrade tat or buying bottles of “ethical water” (why does that always remind me of homeopathy?)

And, yes, I am aware the British sausage industry (insert Sid James line of choice) makes lovely sausages too but those were not represented. Just umpty varieties of bog-standard “bangers”* of the sort I only ate as a student and only when I was on my uppers. Fortunately not too often. Anyway I got chatting to J who works there and is by far and away the most competent member of staff. He used to be a pub land-lord but… Well, I dunno – what with pubs closing 16 to the dozen and all – but he’s a shelf-stacker now. He’ll never make management because I suspect he is regarded as “not a team player” which is HR talk for, “shows initiative and is capable of thinking independently”. The way to get ahead in such organisations (I saw much the same when temping for the Government) is to just keep your head down and schmooze. Never, ever suggest a better way of doing things it shows your line-manager up. I did once and was “pruned”.

Anyway he told me a story… He’d recently apprehended a shop-lifter. The shop-lifter had gone over to the freezers and purloined a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and had concealed it down the front of his trousers**.

“Is that stolen goods in your pants or are you just pleased to see me?”

J told me something else bizarre too. Apparently ice-cream sales rocket in the last half of December. I found that odd considering what I was making for dinner that night.

*Insert Sid James line of choice. etc. This is getting tired, so I’m retiring it.
**Oh, go on, that is very “Carry On”. On pretty much the coldest day of the year he had put a tub of ice-cream next to his genitals. Perhaps he was planning on wooing a lady? Well, I guess the poor mare would have been disappointed as the Barry White was playing and the lights went low. Unless he’d previous half-inched a magnifying glass and tweezers. Some how I doubt he had the fore-sight. He might have had a cryogenic foreskin mind :-)


  1. JuliaM says:

    It’s not really that much of a surprise that ice cream sales rocket at this time of year – what’s nicer that curling up on the sofa with a film and a big bowl of ice cream while the weather does it’s worst?

  2. SimonF says:

    mechanically recovered offal tubes

    How could any self respecting Yes, Minister! fan not recognise that line?

    ( Scan down to Euro-sausage if you don’t get it but I’d be surprised if any readers here didn’t

  3. john in cheshire says:

    Considering how old the COOP is, it’s a surprise to me that they seem to have learned next to nothing about running a supermarket. I actually remember when the COOP had a counter with all the goods on shelves behind the shop assistant (I was about 4 or so, but my mum actually used to send me to the shop for her; amazing. And there’s a short story to go with that : I was infatuated with Popeye at the time and on one of my forays to the COOP in addition to buying what mum had sent me to buy, I asked for some spinach – because that’s what Popeye ate to make him strong. Well, the COOP didn’t have any in stock. But, the next time mum and I were in the shop, the assistant told her that they’d ordered the cans of spinach and they’d be there the following week. As they say in all trite comedies, much hilarity ensued.)
    The COOP is so expensive that I’d almost go as far to suggest you might as well shop at Waitrose because the price differences are so slight.

  4. RAB says:

    I’m very picky about my sausages. My dad was a master butcher and used to make his own in one of our outhouses (probably a hanging offence now) and I have never tasted better; real meat properly spiced. So finding even half way decent Bangers since has been an almost futile search.

    But we were in France on holiday last year, and stopped in Bayeux on our 3 hour journey south to our Gite, to stock up on stuff. Cheese and veg natch, but we bought some sausages in the open market that were the fuckin business! Even in their big supermarkets stuff labelled “Chipolattas” were full of proper meat and flavour, christ even their Bacon pisses all over ours.

    Be that as it may, back in Blighty, we buy Nuremberg sausages in packs from Lidl. They are about 6″ long and quite thin, but they taste wonderful. Quick recipe for xmas supper?

    Fry or grill the sausages. Then cover them in slices of Gouda cheese and strips of pickled Red Peppers (also from Lidl) then grill till the cheese melts. Bit of crusty bread, glass of wine, sorted!

  5. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ RAB ~ my father-in-law, a vet from abroad would heartily agree; make your own sausages, meatballs, burgers etc. The only way. I have recently procured a mechanical mincer and the difference is literally chalk and well…. meat.

  6. CountingCats says:


    Sorry, but every time I read that, or a variant thereof, I think to myself “Must be a girl thing”.

  7. Laird says:

    RAB, I’ve been trying making my own sausages (using store-ground meat, since I don’t have a grinder), but I’m not yet satisfied with the spice mixture (trying for italian sweet sausage style). If you have any of your Dad’s old recipes I’d love it if you could send me some.

  8. RAB says:

    My mum may very well know Laird, and as she will be with us in a few days for Christmas, I’ll ask and let you know.

    She’s 89 you know. Everybody knows that because she keeps telling us all. She also says that she’s going to be 90 next year and she doesn’t want a party, absolutely not, no way… My mother, who has made me as sharp as I am, in competition with her all my life, is bloody Brere Rabbit! She knows she is going to get one, and a big one too. How do you think I became a wind up merchant? It’s all my mum’s fault :-)

  9. JuliaM says:

    “…I think to myself “Must be a girl thing”.”

    You’re not wrong! ;)

  10. The Jannie says:

    If French bangers are so wonderful, why do they all look as if they’ve just dropped out of or been hacked out of, an animal? Then there also have andouillettes, which look like yummy rustic sausages but taste like vomit . . .

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