Sunday, October 14, 2018


You’re surely familiar (I mean, I’ve banged on about it often enough) with the great early scene in the movie The Quiller Memorandumin which Alec Guinness (Pol) recruits George Segal (Quiller) for what sounds like a suicide mission.  Guinness toys with sandwiches throughout the scene. The screenplay is by Harold Pinter.

POL bites into his sandwich and grins at QUILLER … He offers the sandwiches to QUILLER.
POL. Some leberwurst ?
QUILLER. No thanks.
POL. Or some schinken? (He examines the sandwich.) No, wait a moment, what am I talking about, this isn't schinken, it's knackwurst. What about some knackwurst?
QUILLER. I'm not hungry.
P0L. Aren't you? I am.
He bites into the sandwich, chews a moment and then stands.
     You don't mind if I eat while we walk?

Comedy of menace – we got it!! So imagine my excitement when I was shopping in the Waitrose by Russell Square in London, and found the “Delicate & tender German sausage selection.”

Now you and I may not think that German sausage is especially delicate or tender but you can’t argue with Waitrose, can you?  As you see, the collection consists of “coarse Shinkenwurst, succulent Bierwurst, and smooth Extrawurst. 

I’d have thought those adjectives were unnecessary, but again Waitrose is the boss

Now, only a fool would attempt to parody our Harold but I find myself imagining a scene in which some British spymaster in Berlin might say to one of his charges,  “No, wait a moment, what am I talking about, this isn't succulent Bierwusrt, it’s smooth Extrawurst. What about some smooth Extrawurst?

And then imagine my further excitement in finding that Waitrose also sells Bury Black Puddings, from a company that claims (and once again I wouldn’t argue) that black pudding is a superfood.  

Their website also has recipes for Vegetarian Black Pudding Samosas, which does raise suspicions, I mean come on, have the courage of your convictions, guys.

I don’t think these were the tastiest black puddings I ever ate.  I think they needed more fat, and I wish I’d bought some that I saw when I was up in Sheffiield, but fried up with potato they were good enough.  The thought that they were a superfood didn’t help much.

My friend Phil was once offered a job as an apprentice black pudding maker in Lancashire.  The job description said something like “Mustn’t mind wading ankle-deep in blood.”  He declined. The main objection to doing such a job, I imagine, is that it would take all the joy out of eating black puddings, and nobody wants that.

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