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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query chubb. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, December 24

Christmas Rack

A queue forms at Chubb & Son, the local butchers who have been in business for three generations, I learn. Us dads have our marching orders and stand in the cold, stomping feet and reading the papers or drinking coffee. Brave Madeleine joins me in return for a "treaty" at the next door news-agent (she brings her purse stuffed with various coins and currencies). Chubb tells me today is his busiest day and he fills his cold room for weeks in preparation. "I used to stay up all night sawing, but now trucks deliver frequently enough" he tells me. While Chubb's meat is organic and from farms selected by them, in the old days "butchers used to choose the animals for slaughter, which was done on site or nearby enough to be on the racks that day." Blood, guts and all, I might add. And the most popular selection for Christmas? Goose, of course.

Saturday, December 24

The Day Before Xmas

Per tradition, we visit R Chubb and Son for the Christmas goose. Sonnet asks to cut the wing off "at the joint" which is an awfully brutal instruction to give the butcher. Ken allows Eitan behind the knives and the boy embarrassed that I make room for my photo

From there, we go to the boozeria so I can buy wine and Absolute for my own little holiday.  It is a long distance between Christmas and New Year's, after all. For now, the parties and people behind us and so it is me, the family+the dog, who picks up a Flintstones sized bone from R Chubb.  Sonnet busies herself with the festive cheer and I blog away for you, my dear, dedicated, reader. All 20 of you, God bless.  I also write for the kids when they are 20 or 30 or whenever. And me, too, to remember it all. It is true what they say :  time speeds up as we grow older.

Thursday, December 11

Fergus Henderson


Fergus Henderson champions 'nose to tail' eating. Photograph: Suki Dhanda

England is offal. No other country treats organs and innards like a delicacy. Even the French, who know how to surprise with their haute cuisine, stay away from certain parts of animal or at least give the various bits sly names foie gras or escargots. Today, and a sign of the recessionary times: tongues, hearts and brains are experiencing a surge in popularity here, with sales up 67% over the past five years. They are also cheaper, you see.

Says Fergus Henderson, whose restaurant St John's is a favorite: "It was never a mission to start the offal ball rolling, it just seemed common sense, good eating." (Ferguson's cooking best-seller is "Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking"). 

Back in the day, I hated liver and became violently ill trying to force it down at my parents behest (at least I like to remember it this way). Eggplant was also gnarly, though I love it now. Eitan and Madeleine have foods they do not like but nothing repulsing; usually it is general complaint that drives every hard-working mother insane: "Aw mom, not this again." 

Back to the present: our neighborhood butcher, R Chubb & Son (and yes, it is a father and son affair) present selections which are frozen, prepared and cut on site unlike the groceries where meats pre-packed and from God knows where. Chubb is a portly, friendly fellow too - he gets me and Eitan tickets to Fulham matches which are particularly valuable when Fulham plays Chelsea or Manchester United. Chubbs hands and apron usually covered in blood and he moves slowly, considering a chop then - whack! - down comes his knife severing a joint or cutting flank. Bones bring out the saw. It is a gruesome affair, no doubt, but best to seen given where it goes.

"O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on."
Iago in Othello

Friday, December 24

The Goose

Sonnet gives me a good kick and I jump from bed, grab the boy, and off to Chubb & Son for the Christmas bird. Not until standing in line do I have my first sip of coffee. The trick, as we have learned these last eight years, is to arrive 30 minutes before opening otherwise the queue around the corner and the wait two+ hours. Eitan in pretty good spirits as are we all as Moe and Grace set to arrive Heathrow today .. inshallah. This year, Grace notes, seems extra-special given the effort to be together including three cancelled flights. Katie remains closer to NYC and in Vermont.


Last night we see "39 Steps" at the marvelous Criterion Theatre on Piccadilly circus. To be precise, the theatre under the circus and we descend four or five flights to our seats. The venue dates to the 1870s and feels wonderfully of an other era which is fine since the decor not replaced in a generation (The Criterion a Grade II listed building so no structural changes allowed but a good upgrade, or at least a tidy dusting, would do nicely). Wartime music plays before and after the show. Sonnet describes the play as "an inventive comedy" which references every Hitchcock movie. Four actors fill various rolls and some of the set pieces, like racing across the roof of a train ("Number Seventeen") or avoiding a dual-wing plane ("North By Northwest"), spirited. Eitan adds "It is a bit of a mystery" and my two-cents that it is more like Monty Python. It is perfect for kids, though well passed their bedtime. Ah, well - holiday schedule dude. Anthony joins us and we have dinner at the very cool Soho House since it is, well, Anto. Kids allowed until 9PM. Sharp. The manager stops by to chat with us for ten minutes despite the busy busy.

The Pope does "Thought For The Day" on Radio 4.

Me: "Anything to say on Christmas Eve?"
Eitan: "Um, it feels like any other day."
Me: "Really?"
Eitan: "Yeah, I guess so. What's it supposed to feel like?"
Me: "I don't know. That's what I asked you."
Eitan: "Where is this going, Dad?"

Sunday, December 24

Christmas Bird

Eitan, who has accompanied me the past three years to pick up the Christmas Goose at local butchery R. Chubb & Son, flat out refuses this morning. He's no dummy, and knows that we will stand in line for at least an hour with the other Men Of The Community freezing our asses off. I offer the tradition to Madeleine, and sweeten the deal with a treat from the nearby newsagent. She demures, on a razor's edge: to leave the warmth of our house and her pajama's or brave the winter outside for a candy? Finally she asks: "even chocolate?" and I know that I have her.


Madeleine, at the butcher's, points to the hanging carcasses: "Those are decorations, dad. They are just visiting."