Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dance upon your sarnie

While out for a wintry walk recently, the talk turned to our expectations of the large afternoon tea we were planning to conclude with. Well, I say ‘the talk turned,’ but actually it was all we talked about.
‘Chocolate cake, obvs,’ said Honesty Girl.
‘A freshly-baked scone,’ said Sweary Mary, ‘and no-one better blimmin’ tell me I’m putting on the cream and jam in the wrong order’ (this with a hard stare at me. It’s jam first, people. Jam first).
‘Some kind of sponge cake,’ Sherpa Sal said. ‘Followed by half a scone, with butter, then jam, then cream.’
‘Cake first?!’ we all yelled. And ‘Butter?!’
Sweary Mary spoke for us all: ‘You don’t need butter if you’re having blinkin’ cream.’
‘I do,’ said Sal calmly. She takes enough exercise to counteract the chlorestoral, I suppose. And in her defence, at least she puts on the jam and cream in the right order.
As for me, all I could think about were the finger sandwiches. I adore them. I find sandwiches which aren’t finger-shaped disappointing, and as most sandwiches can’t be bothered to be anything but triangles or oblongs I am disappointed a lot.
It was quite cold and muddy on the walk, so by the time we stumbled into Badgers Tea Room in Alfriston, my mind was just one big finger sandwich. Badgers fancies itself as dainty, so it requests that you remove muddy footwear, or put blue plastic bags (supplied) over your boots. It also has a sign saying that it welcomes ‘well-behaved children’ so naturally there weren’t any children in the place; no parent knows what a ‘well-behaved child’ actually looks like in the eyes of a tearoom proprietor, but we all suspect that only a gagged and immobile one will be acceptable.
I plastic-ed my boots, reasoning that this slightly tedious chore was just bringing me closer to a plate of f.s. Don’t worry, I did get them: while dramatic tension is all very well when writing about trivial matters such as love, betrayal and death, it is not suitable for something as important as the finger sandwich.
We sat next to a roaring fire, and ordered with the abandonment of people who have walked a long way while discussing food. The finger sandwiches were magnificent: egg mayo –gotta have egg mayo – smoked salmon, tuna, and cucumber. Badgers was so good, there wasn’t even the inevitable rogue sandwich: sometimes it’s an indefinable paste, sometimes a boring one, like cheddar. I can’t remember when I was happier, scoffing the sandwiches and Sherpa Sal’s spare half-scone, and criticising Sweary Mary for her layering technique. Finger sandwiches are truly the foodstuffs of heaven. I went home determined to start making them all the time, all with different fillings, but at lunch next day I just chucked a tin of tuna onto a piece of bread as usual, and lived with the residual disillusionment.

Published in Picture by Katie Moorman