Saturday, 17 March 2012
I must admit to being no great lover of gastropubs Far too many good boozers, especially in country districts, have been turned into restaurants in all but name and watching the chattering classes eating their dinner is not my idea of pub entertainment. The one wonderful exception is the forager (I dare say you can get a degree in it) and the pub chef who joined forces to persuade the punters that eating road kill ticked all the right fashionable green boxes. The Home Counties middle class tucking into half putrid badger is something that I reckon I would pay good money to watch. Not, I hasten to add, is there anything wrong with foraging. Anyone who has picked a few blackberries down a summer lane can claim to be a forager. Certainly our original 1970's copy of Richard Maybey's Food For Free remains a treasured possession and my sloe gin will stand up to any one's. Not only foraging, but hunting for the pot as well, are perhaps the last remnants of an earlier, some would say more authentic life. Most shooting in this country consists of bagging reared and vertualy tame pheasants as a form of corporate entertainment. It's a wasteful and completely unjustifiable pastime that has nothing at all to do with the time honoured skill of hunting for the pot. The pheasant is a quarry best shot from it's roost with an air rifle by moonlight. Apart from nicking the odd pheasant, the fields are alive with good meat in the form of rabbits. At one time the youth of this nation would be out at the weekend and, armed with guns, ferrets and an assortment of dodgy looking canine companions, would go in pursuit of coney for dinner. There is nothing wrong with skateboarding, video games or looting Footlocker - but there's a lot to be said for poaching.