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Saturday, 25 April 2009

The importance of being regular...

Thinking of my favourite suppliers reminded me of the importance of being a regular customer; apart from the obvious economic benefits of providing custom to keep these guys going (and therefore ensuring the supply of food that tastes good and not supermarket standard cardboard meat), being regular means you'll get the good stuff.

The trick's quite simple, talk to the guys in the farm shop or at the market, tell them what you did with that last joint you got, how it tasted and what you're going to do with the next one. They're proud of their product (they're in this business for love because they're not making much money out of it) and they like the feedback. And then, once you're a regular, you'll find yourself being pointed to the best of the best, maybe the odd freebie to try and certainly you'll be given priority if you need to order that joint for a special occasion (especially Christmas/New Year and Easter).

There is a downside however, you can aquire a reputation beyond your ability as happened to me at Eddie's Seafood Market; some time ago I went to collect an order of Red Snapper* when my girlfriend noticed some lovely dressed crab that she fancied for lunch, I asked for a crab and Eddie promptly went over to the tank in the corner and pulled out a massive, live, brown crab. I had never dealt with a live one but I was too stupidly macho to admit I didn't know what to do; on taking the crab home I consulted Rick Stein while the Katie the Crab (as it had been christened) went to sleep in the freezer. Rick recomends placing the crab into cold water and then bringing it to the boil to prevent auto-amputation of the legs, all this did was wake Katie up, who then started banging on the sides of the pan, unnerving my girlfriend, and trying to escape. Long story short there was an ensuing fight between Katie and myself which I remember as similar to the squid scene in 20,000 leagues under the sea, by the time it was over the kitchen was soaked and I'd lost my appetite. What a waste.

* That Red Snapper almost prevented that girlfriend becoming my wife, I'll tell that story some other time.

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