There are few foods, and especially few British foods, which I have balked at trying - and that goes double for cheap ones. I like - in moderation - puddings black and white. I have cheerfully braved the axle-grease vileness of bread and dripping, the physical and moral turniptude of the atavist ‘throw it down the mine-shaft, luv!’ Cornish pasty, and the succession of ever-hotter and more-acidic curries invented between Brighton and Banff for the condign punishment of lager louts. Suspicious mussel sandwiches have I eaten, and parts of pigs normally surreptitiously sneaked into sausages, and nameless things on pizzas and in kebabs that would make a byakhee blench. Two local delicacies only have long remained resolutely beyond the pale.
One is tripe - and despite growing up on The Fosdyke Saga, I don’t propose to revisit this decision anywhere in the foreseeable. The other has been pickled eggs.
Everybody in Albion’s isle has seen pickled eggs. They leer from their jars, like the orbs of dead dragonets in their piss-pale embalming fluid, through the windows of every proper fish-and-chip shop on every high street. Nobody has ever seen anybody buy them. As far as I could ever tell, their sole function in life was to induce sudden spasms of nausea and hasty doubled-up departure amongst passers-by who were feeling a bit delicate. They are one of our minor national mysteries, and I thought it was about time for me to gird up my loins and investigate.
You see, I like eggs. I like almost everything that can be done with eggs, except for a span of about six months in every twelve years when I randomly and arbitrarily abhor them. My only objection even to poached or cold hard-boiled eggs is that they are are such an abominable waste of tastier potential. I also like salt, and also vinegar, and also a lot. What was to fear?
Reader, I bought one.
Reader, do not do this.
The immediate impression is of stone-cold - say ten degrees below ambient - preternaturally congealed, and faintly undead rubber. As the taste-buds slouch reluctantly into play, the mouth is permeated by a dissavour faintly reminiscent of that bottle of Château Pis de Chat which no-one ever admitted bringing to the office party, and which was inadvertently disinterred six months later, with results of such evil memory. It can, however, be distinguished from said vintage by its distinct notes of hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde - the former dominating the assault, the latter the aftertaste.
Just as the buds of more sensitive consitutition are commencing to do the funky lemming off the edge of the tongue, the yolk delivers its gustatory payload. The gourmet is almost relieved to discover that it tastes no worse than the perished elastic core of a long-lost and partially digested golf ball. Unfortunately, the hedonic trend is still perceptibly downwards.
At this point the remainder is thrown into the nearest waste receptacle. It immediately hops out, and dogs its hapless victim all the way home, bouncing along at their heels with a hateful dead flubber that will long haunt their subsequent nightmares. Oh, wait, that last bit was from the subsequent nightmares, wasn’t it? I’m sorry, it’s so difficult to tell.
Thanks for nothing, Mr Dagon!
Nature's Bounty - (This poem is brought to you courtesy of one too many forage enthusiasts being Wrong on the Internet about the merits of nomming on random bits of black ni...
1 year ago