Saturday, 24 August 2013

Stiffies and Turd-burgers (unedited version) - South Shropshire Journal 9/8/13

I love getting invited to things, whether I’m interested in them or not. It’s just fun to get a stiffy through your letterbox from time to time and makes you realise that somebody, somewhere gives a flying-one about your existence. During the stiffy season I like to have at least two invitations on my mantelpiece at any one time.

The last couple of weeks have done me well. I’ve been invited to this, that and the other and I’ve turned up. The evening ones get me out of having to bathe my babies, which is great. You go to a Thing, for instance an art Thing, fashion Thing, food Thing, wedding Thing, whatever Thing. You chat to a bunch of people who can’t remember your name (it’s fine, you can’t remember theirs either) and you slurp a glass or two of something warm, when it probably ought to be cold.

The thing is, at these things the nibbles are generally so awful. Why has the canapé eluded us? The canapé makes a wedding, an art exhibition, a fashion show, a whatever. A good one titillates the palate and the soul. In posh restaurants they call it an amuse bouche. A bad or average canapé makes you think “whatever happened to chips and dips?”

So my advice, for what it’s worth, if you’re hosting a Thing splash out on the nibbles. I’ll remember it, even if nobody else does.

I’ve some chums, by the way, who have the wonderful Black Bough gallery and shop in Ludlow. If they send you an invite to a Thing, go. They do proper nibbles.

The Burwarton Show is the climax of the South Shropshire summer season. A veritable smorgasbord of handsome livestock, pretty girls in tweed, and confused people from Kidderminster. I blagged a member’s pass which meant I could park in a field where I had to trudge through fewer cowpats than you did, before stepping in the other cowpats.

As country shows go, this is one of the best (regular readers will know that I will not have researched this) and sort of sums-up all that is wonderful about South Shropshire: pretty girls in tweed, fine cattle, neat sheep, oiled pigs on parade and a few more pretty girls in tweed.

So the best of Shropshire farming was being displayed in all its finery, there were some local food producers here and there selling their wares, and some more pretty girls in tweed, but the mass-catering was so unrepresentative of what Shropshire has to offer.

It’s not just Burwarton, and I’m sure most people don’t care, but if we’re showing off our agricultural capabilities, surely the burger vans should be doing so too? Turd-burgers and horse-in-a-bad-bap just, you know, let the side down. 

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