My brother and his lovely wife came to stay last week - forsaking sunny half-term pleasures in the Mediterranean for life at the end of a muddy lane. What a treat to see them. We did all our usual visitor stuff, tailoring it slightly to include the family connections. We drove round the lanes and visited the sleepy little towns which given a little probing will yield up their hidden treasures. We like to show off some of the excellent the local produce too. On this occasion we had sheep and goat cheeses from a few miles away in Wales and a mighty rib of Hereford beef from a producer down the hill in Shropshire. We know its provenance and that it was raised with care and compassion.
We ate it rare with puffy Yorkshire puddings and vegetables from the garden. It was definitely a piece of meat to be shared - we ate like kings. It was the cut of meat I remember from childhood - a piece of beef like this seemed to appear on the table more frequently than it does today.
A by-product of roast beef is dripping - and this joint yielded a generous bowlful. I set it on one side to cool. It'll come in for something.
Now, don't tell the Food Police - but breakfast this morning was toast and dripping. Not only toast and dripping, but toast and dripping with pepper and a sprinkling of salt (shock horror). Surely the food of the Devil? Nope - it was fantastic; juicy, succulent and savoury. I'm ignoring the sniffs of disapproval at my blatant consumption of saturated fat and will decline the wussy carton of olive oil spread.
It's the first dripping I've eaten since about 1969, so once in 40 years can't do me much harm can it?