Wednesday, 1st April 2020

This Month's Magazine
Feeling peckish?

Feeling peckish?

With mad cow, foot and mouth and now bird flu, just what is left to eat? This month the Prickly Pair look at cuisine and investigate whatÂ’s still available to safely put in your mouth.

Every time you pick up a newspaper or switch on the television lately, the first thing you hear is that another pigeon, swan, duck or other poor unfortunate bird is feeling a bit under the weather.

There is nothing the worlds press like more then a really big scare story and talk of a pandemic sends them into raptures. So in search of the truth, I decided to consult the internet and as is the internet’s want, it was full of rubbish. One piece of information I did manage to glean from the world wide w**k however, is, and I quote that "Avian influenza viruses usually do not infect humans and that only 100 cases have been confirmed since 1997; these cases are thought to have resulted from direct contact with infected poultry and that no known cases have resulted from sustained direct human – human transmission." You have to ask yourself therefore, just what were those people doing to those birds? Now I like a bit of chicken as much as the next man, but you can go too far.

It was not so many years ago that human kind was going to be wiped out by “mad cow disease” and mass hysteria put a stop to me being able to have a gnaw on a decent bone for a couple of years. The only bright spot in all this recent bird flu nonsense is that a poorly swan was found in France, and now the French are running around like headless chickens (no pun intended) trying to convince the rest of the world that pate de Foie Gras is no more poisonous than usual.

Call me a heartless gloater if you like, but during the aforementioned “mad cow disease” scare back in Britain, didn’t the French call for a world wide ban on the sale of British beef? Which ultimately lead to the compromise being reached, that all beef on the bone and indeed the sale of bones themselves being stopped for an indefinite period; thus depriving us of a good bone for a while.

The French government has declared that nearly 1 million free range ducks and geese in France are to be inoculated against bird flu and a poultry farm in the Ain district of France is the first reported site of bird flu in commercial poultry in the European Union; but French cuisine being what it is I am sure the French will try to cure the problem by covering the poor birds in some kind of creamy white sauce. Unfortunately that seems to be the French way, and no Frenchman is entirely happy unless he is covering a bird in white stuff.


Casting my mind even further back, there was a massive scare about eggs a few years ago and we were all going to die from Salmonella poisoning; when the then health minister Edwina Curry put it about that most eggs were contaminated with the bacteria. The British government is about to implement a huge program to vaccinate somewhere in the region of 20 million chickens against Salmonella and although this looks like trying to calm those bird flu scares a bit; it can only be good news, after all,  there can be no greater pleasure then dipping your little soldier.

It does seem that almost all meat has come in for some kind of health scare at some time or another and if you were to listen to all the horror stories, you might think about becoming a vegetarian; on the plus side of this radical thinking is the fact that very nearly all vegetarians are built like a racing snake, but that is only because they are too weak to make it to the butchers. If that is not enough to convince you that way lies madness, then just look at the patron saint of vegetarians, Linda McCartney. Now being married to Paul McCartney, you would have thought that she would have needed extra red meat to stop any uncontrollable urges to tear his throat out with her own teeth. And as that lady is no longer with us, it would appear that living on a diet of apples and Tofu is not all its cracked up to be; I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but at the very least, her untimely demise spared a whole new generation the “Linda McCartney meat substitute sausage”.

So I will leave you with a couple of words of consolation; if you fancy a nibble on a nice plump bird, donÂ’t let anybody talk you out of it, no one ever came to any harm by gnawing on a bone, and there can be no substitute for a real meat sausage.

Bon Appetit!!

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