Gastro Weasel

One of the stressful, but regular aspects of life is needing to eat when on the move. Those of us, most of us, who go from one place to another have coping strategies. Mine is to take a hamper with homemade delights on planned journeys. This of course is not always possible. And then it's time to play Russian Roulette. I have a few rules to impart for your enlightenment, but first, a little anecdote that brings out the better side of victualling whilst traveling the highways and byeways by modern motor vehicle.

We were coming back from Leeds, after a very pleasant weekend with a dear friend, and we pulled off the A1 somewhere near Theakston, in North Yorkshire, I think. It was just a pub. We had never been there and it was about 2 o'clock and we were ready for something to eat. I never, as a strict rule, walk into a pub and order food. I order a drink first, look around, inspect the glass, check the loos, look at the other punters, and the landlord. Well, it seemed to pass muster, apart from the inevitable damp labrador that seems to have taken over from fag smoke as the number one aroma in country pubs. So, gingerly I asked about food. This is the point at which every proprietor in all the towns in all the world will look at you as if you have asked to sacrifice his youngest daughter in a Wicker Man. I have been around a bit, and the reaction is believe me, universal. Owners of restaurants and pubs and cafes cannot believe that anyone asking for food outside the hours of 7-9, 12-2 and 6-8 is anything other than an escaped convict.

Well, there was a bit of bluster and the landlord said, "I can make you a sandwich". Dubiously, I asked, "what do you have?" "What do you want?", he countered, suspiciously. I could see this was turning into a test of manhood. So, after consulting Mrs Weasel (which I do from time to time) I said, "How about some ham and some beef?" "Ok," he said, "but I shall have to make them", which to me sounded fair enough.

Well, the sandwiches were perfect. I mean, they came in crusty white bread, cut by hand, and contained wonderful roast beef with a hint of redness in the middle, and some ham off the bone, and some real pickles and fresh salad. Remarkable!

You never know!

Weasels tips for eating out whilst on the move:

  • Check the car park. Avoid anywhere where there are boy racers or any car with go-fast stripes, obvious MOT failures and a preponderance of Rovers.
  • Never order food straight away. Always check the lavatories and look at the fingernails of anybody who serves you. A nasty stink of stale food and wee wee can be a clear indicator of unpleasantness, as can someone else's bogies attached to the table top.
  • Never enter a pub if there are weedy, miserable single men standing outside smoking a fag.
  • Remember, you will be tired and emotional. Plan to eat before you absolutely need to or else it might end in divorce, and well, navigators are difficult to get at the best of times, particularly when their sole purpose in life is to be shouted at.
  • Never order anything enclosed in pastry or with the word "bites" or "nuggets". If in doubt, and desperate, order chips. It's all frozen anyway and who can ruin chips?
  • Never expect to find that perfect little place that will just be "our little secret". Even if you do, next time you go it will be under new management.
  • If you fail to find a place to eat, stop, have a little cry and head for home.


Jim Baxter said...

There is one thing and one thing only to be said in favour of the smoking ban. Pubs now advertise themselves on the outside more clearly than ever before.

I would add only two further suggestions: if the pub is called either the 'Criterion' or the 'Commercial', and there are C & Cs all over the place, there is no need to trouble them and their regulars with your alien presence unless you wish to soak up the ambulance. And soon.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I dare say there are certain parts of Glasgow where my putative posh English accent might cause eyebrows to be raised, or ripped off altogether.