You never know what delights await you when you venture out of the city into the myriad villages that lie like buckshot spread across the Northamtonshire landscape. It was on one such Saturday lunchtime venture that we found ourselves in a village pub with a reputation for good food. But why so empty? Whither the slug who left its silvery trail on the carpet beneath our table? Whither the person(s) unknown who had first used the paper napkin placed carefully at one of our place settings?
The serving of tartar sauce that arrived with the fish (soggy batter, unskinned fish) seemed to bubble strangely. A lively dish indeed. When we complained at the end of the meal, the landlord was affronted. “It cannot be! They just opened a new large jar in the kitchen”. He then proceeded to take one of our knives, dipped it into the sauce and tasted it – not once but twice. And declared the sauce to be fine.
Now, I may be just a simple soul, but this behaviour seemed odd on two accounts. Firstly, you would normally graciously apologise that not everything was to sir and madam’s liking (as I said, I am a simple soul without pretentions!) – not dispute the fact. Secondly, using a used knife seems a little lax on the hygiene front – and who is to say that he did not use that same dish of sauce for the next unwitting diners?! The sauce of the man, and he with gastronomic pretentions!