Friday, 24 February 2012


Once cricketers have exhausted the nostalgic recollection of batsmen or bowlers long gone and matches well and truly over; once their wistful reminiscences have dwelt on items of equipment and clothing and generalised to what was fashionable when they were young and eager; once they have relived their dancing days in reviving the dance-hall, or disco, or club hits of their day, there is only one true subject for nostalgia - food.  For food brings memories of home and origin and the route to a man's nostalgia lies through his stomach.

Bread and Mucky Fat - 35p
Fantasy Bob is stimulated to these philosophical posturings by a recent piece in the Guardian's food blog about the mucky fat butty.  Apparently this splendidly named item was a delicacy of the English north-west and is occasionally seen still in the area.  While the author of this piece rather delicately reported that this delicacy is basically bread spread with lard, but rather than sound off in a Guardian-type way about the perils of eating such food, she then reviewed some other very local food products of days gone by.

But FB sticks on the mucky fat butty - the mucky fat in question would not be the highly processed lard which is still available as a cooking medium but dripping with bits of whatever meat it came from in it (hence mucky).  Nowadays cricketers have long eschewed dripping, lard and fat for healthier alternatives including olive oil, virgin, first pressing, extra virgin, blah blah, grapeseed oil, walnut oil - in fact any oil full of noncholesterolunsaturatedomega3 and all that stuff.  But for the nostalgia hound, fat is the boys.  When FB was growing up he had a balanced diet - fruit and vegetables were always part of any meal.  But the fat content of his diet was exponential compared to today.  Lard and cooking fat were used as a cooking medium and in home-baking.  Butter was that bit too expensive for the thrifty Scot - who felt that butter based baking was a bit too rich in any case.

Here are the 5 top fat products that children of his generation in Aberdeen will find loom large in their nostalgia fantasies:

Mealie puddings - (known elsewhere as white puddings) - oatmeal, onion and suet/lard packed in a sausage skin.  Often served as a main course with Chips - home made and cooked in dripping/lard

Fried Bread - a slice of white pan loaf soaked in hot dripping

Herrings - tossed in oatmeal and fried in dripping - much of the greasiness was actually hugely healthy fish oil so FB is cheating putting that in but it is a very nostalgic item given the disappearance of

Potted Heid (or Hough) - low quality meat, lard based gravy pressed into small tubs - used as a sandwich spread

Rowies - don't be fooled these can kill
Rowies - now this is the daddy of them all.  Otherwise known as a buttery, or an Aberdeen Roll (or Croissant ha, ha) - this is a roll made with such a high proportion of lard that it slides around the plate.  It was said to be invented for the trawlerman to take on his voyages as a source of energy and sustenance.  It is highly salted and so could keep for days.  Don't be fooled by the Marks and Spencers alternative which is made with vegetable oil and is very tame.  A traditional rowie has 300 calories and 30g of saturated fat.  It's for grown ups.

All these would slow any team down if they were to be found on the cricket tea table.

Too much for FB
But fat in the diet has vanished in other areas as well as sunny Aberdeen.

FB's late father in law who was born in Poland used to attack with relish on a daily basis a delicacy called griebenschmaltz liberally spread on a slice of bread.   Greibenschmaltz is German for mucky fat (just about) - the version that FB's father in law extolled was in fact rendered goose fat, but there are duck and pork based versions too.

Now FB would just about take on a mealie pudding or a rowie, but he never quite met his father in law's griebenschmaltz challenge.  He was a continual source of disappointment as a son-in-law.

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