We used to have a very good butcher in Leighton Buzzard called Downhams. Regrettably for us, some time ago the very pleasant chap who ran it, Owen, stopped doing so and retired (I think). What made it stand out from the several similar establishments was that it sold a terrific array of game, both furred and feathered, and at very reasonable prices. Oh, how I miss the regular seasonal supply of wood pigeons and hares.
Recently, I have tried to call in to a butchers (called Best Butchers) in a farm unit just outside Great Brickhill close by. There, working in the background on one occasion was a face I recognized: Owen, formerly of Downhams. Today I called in again and he was there on his own. He apparently works there part time, presumably to supplement the old income and pay help our exorbitantly high fuel prices.
While he was preparing my two pork chops (destined for some Cajun blackening), I told him how much I missed his supply of game since the disappearance of Downhams. He told me that they do have a little at Best Butchers but nothing like the variety that he used to have. Indeed, I had bought some pigeon breasts recently but was disturbed to see them pre-frozen in packs of 10 which, of course, couldn’t be separated. He went on the tell me that they are now not permitted to have furred or feathered game in the butchers shop; that it must be prepared elsewhere and, of course, it comes back more expensive with yet another cost added to it. Good grief (he said, as his jaw hit the ground)!
It comes to something when a butcher isn’t allowed to prepare rabbits and pheasants for an adoring public. I’m not clear whether this a directive from good ol’ Brussels or some local crazy restriction based upon our own apparent inability to stop Foot ‘n’ Mouth breaking out. I suspect the latter but must try to find out next time. Whatever the reason, the French and Spanish would never stand for it, just this pathetically small-minded country.
Little wonder I’ve been having trouble finding anything less than run-of-the-mill to eat. It’s enough to make a foodaholic scream.