Saturday 16 February 2013

The Saturday Post - Let's Buy British

I am hoping that this is the last weekend without a phone line and broadband, although we have learned how to cope because it has taken so long.  Two months and counting.  The 19th (Tuesday) is the current "do by" date, so fingers crossed.  According to our local paper, the Western Mail, if you are a heavy internet user, you get withdrawal symptoms similar to withdrawal from regular Ecstasy use.  That is, when you have no internet access.  Whilst I've never taken Ecstasy, I did suffer without my internet for that first month!

Meanwhile, my husband and I (whenever I write that, I hear the Queen's voice in my head!!!) are continuing with logging for next winter, and if you have ever seen the Mountain Men programme on Sky (love it) we are beginning to feel just like them.  We are currently harvesting a well-seasoned fallen oak, the middle chunk of which my husband is planning to try and split today to build a coffer from, and the chunks either side, which are bent and damaged, are firewood.  Heavens, it weighs an absolute ton though, I can't manage to carry even a small slice!  The tannin in it smells just like Daddy's Sauce (Brown Sauce to the uninitiated) when you cut it.  Strange.  Now I have a note of how the old tanneries must have smelt, as they used oak bark for tanning leather (I can remember, in my youth, buying stirrup leathers which were oak bark tanned).

Well, the horsemeat furore carries on apace and it would seem that unless we are strict vegetarians or vegans, we have been eating it in all sorts of disguises down the years.  It doesn't surprise or disgust me (although I would NEVER choose to eat horse meat, having owned horses all my life) but I am hoping that something positive may come from this and that the return to supporting our local butchers instead of buying blindly at the supermarket (though personally I cook from scratch and have never had anything more ready-meal than a fish-finger or pizza).  I hope that the NFU's adverts in the National newspapers this weekend for fresh sourcable BRITISH meat will influence the British public.  After all, it ticks so many boxes and helps the British economy - particularly British farmers who have been struggling for years to keep their heads above water.  Eynon's, the superb butcher we use at St Clear's (far too infrequently, I will own) is an expert at accountability and advertises the name of the farm where the beef/lamb/pork etc came from.  The venison comes from the Queen's estates at Balmoral and is WONDERFUL.  All this meat has lived a good life, had a good death, been properly hung, prepared, and if you think lamb is lamb is lamb - try lamb raised on salt marshes - the flavour is out of this world.  Far better for us to eat less meat, but when we do get it, to go for top quality meat such at Eynon's and similar butchers sell.  Far better for people to learn to cook from scratch too, and I understand that Michael Gove is aiming to introduce cooking skills back into the school curriculum - and not as part of Design & Technology where the food had to be designed - one dish in various guises, rather than learning  how to cook a good soup, stew, cake or loaf of bread which was what we learned in "Cookery" lessons back in the 1960s.

Have a good weekend all.


  1. Oh that Banner photo of the snow!!! It certainly is beautiful, but I have lived through too many long snowy winters like that, that I couldn't help but give a shudder.
    As for lamb,it's not in our stores except maybe twice a year and I do miss it

  2. I do agree BB. Since the horse thing broke I have not bought any meat products in the supermarket - I do all that kind of shopping at my local, very good butcher - where everything is locally sourced. Alright, it is more expensive - but we shall just eat a little less of it to make up for the difference. Yesterday I bought a pound of beef skirt - I haven't see that for many a year, so I shall make a slow casserole like my mother used to make. Just hope it tastes as good as I remember.

  3. Hi BB
    Glad to hear you will soon be connected - we have missed you too. Fingers crossed and toes plaited.

    What a seriously good article. I too was taught proper cooking at home and at school and they should never have got rid of it off the curriculum in the way they taught it to us. The boys had the option of cooking too and indeed one of the lads did the course all the way through as his ambition then was to be a chef (although I pulled him out of several scrapes with some of the food he did go on to work in a professional kitchen in a very well known local hotel).

    I very rarely go supermarket shopping - I top up on basic ingredients and only use a proper Butchers for my meat. We are of the same view we would rather a smaller portion of meat and it be tasty than lots of it and tasteless and top up with plenty of fresh vegetables, Yorkshire Pudding and stuffing to pad the meal out and then perhaps a pudding every now and again to really pad things out. I value the flavour rather than the quantity. I only buy peas ready frozen and then freeze fresh veggies myself throughout the year.

    We too have been watching the Mountain Men programme and are enjoying it too.

    Take care and I hope the wood splitting /firewood exercise goes well.

    Love and Light



  4. I so agree about eating local. Meat and vegetables.
    Daughter belongs to a CSA group and they receive a share of the veggies picked that week. No out of season fruit or vegetables. No tomatoes from Mexico that were picked, shipped weeks on the road, then across the border and another week to the store. No wonder fruit and veggies rarely taste good anymore.
    Seasonal eating is what we should understand. I do buy frozen veggies but rather have fresh when I can.

    Hope your internet gets connected soon.

    cheers, parsnip

  5. Here's hoping (again!) that you're back online soon!

    Couldn't agree more that it's far better to raise/grow (or know)what it is we're eating. Good grief, I can't decide if finding out what it IS or isn't (meat) or knowing what has been added (chemical-wise) to most everything store bought is more worrying.

    Strange times indeed.....

    Hope to have you back soon!


  6. I hadn't heard that about re-introducing proper cookery lessons into schoills. Not before time either especially since most modern mothers have no cookery skills they can pass on at home.

  7. Galloping through as someone else waiting for the computer here at the cafe. Thank you for your comments. I could have written a LOT MORE in that vein.

    Anyway, BT texted this morning and will "contact" me later. Since two engineers expressed grave doubts about getting the line back across the river last week, we have gone down and risked life and limb (Health and Safety would have had 50 blue fits if they'd seen us in action yesterday, combined age 132 years . . .) and managed to get a nylon rope across from pole to pole, so all they need to do is tie their cable to one end and pull across . . . We shall see. Back anon, and thank you for being such good friends. I am missing everyone's blogs but can't linger here most days.

  8. You are brave the pair of you tackling the river, look forward to you're coming back x

  9. Being a demi-veg. Someone who eats mostly vegetables some fish and an occasional cut of beef when the body demands it.

    I buy Irish Beef which is succulent and tasty and superior, yes even to the Scottish product.

    Never ever buy burgers when for a little effort it is so easy to make your own.