Food & Drink: The Trufflers

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The Independent Culture
THE TRUFFLER has a soft heart and a forgiving nature, and feels keenly for the plight of British pig farmers. Since January this year legislation enforcing higher standards of animal welfare - in advance of what's required in Europe, Canada and the USA - have caused our farmers' costs to rise, so they're losing out to cheaper, less humanely reared imports. Some branded products such as bacon, sausages and ham contain imported pork, and misleading labelling allows bacon processed in this country from imported meat to be sold as British. At the risk of sounding jingoistic I urge everyone to insist on British pork.

IT DOESN'T help that you can't pick up a Penguin on the subject. The publisher of Jane Grigson's Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery has allowed it go out of print. Second-hand copies are scarce. Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail Eating might provide some consolation but it's not dedicated solely to porcine cooking. As a reminder of how rural communities appreciate the pig as provider of sausages, hams, lard and feet to eat, the Truffler's somewhat perverse holiday reading has been Paul Richardson's Our Lady of the Sewers (Abacus), a travel book in which he describes a matanza, the traditional Spanish pig-killing. We say the only part of a pig you can't eat is the squeal; the Spanish say all of the pig, even the hairs have a use.

STILL IN bookish mode I'm reminded of my much-thumbed cookbook, The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley (least useful chapter Love Me Slender: The Elvis Diets). There's just time to catch The Live Theatre Company's Cooking With Elvis at the Assembly Rooms during the Edinburgh Fringe (ends Monday). This play is said to be part farce, part cookery course and part philosophical investigation.Those who leave it too late can turn to the printed word: the recipe for 7-Up Salad for a Bible Belt Brunch is, as they say, to die for.

DOWN TO Bath for the BREAD (Bath Restaurants Eating And Drinking) Festival which culminates tomorrow in a final party from noon to 9pm at Green Park Station. Eight restaurants will have stalls selling, among other things, crepes (Green Park Brasserie), fajitas (Manuela Restaurante), BBQ fodder (Woods) for around pounds 2.50 each, and there will be a

cocktail bar and a promotion of a dozen wines from the Loire by the glass. No need to worry whether it rains, as the event is under cover.

Parsimonious Trufflers are not known for their sealegs and I'm reluctant to fork out pounds 14 for the family for a boat show and delicious seafood at this weekend's London on Water event in Docklands. There will be jellied eels and suchlike, but the emphasis is more nautical than gastronomic. The Truffler tribe is saving itself for next weekend's Hay's Galleria Oyster & Seafood Fair near London Bridge. This starts on Friday afternoon with the Tabasco British Oyster Opening Championship, compered by fish fanatic William Black and his wife Sophie Grigson. Until it ends at 6pm on Sunday stalls will sell oyster and champagne and other seafood to eat there and take home, but entry is free. Last year 50,000 oysters were eaten at the fair. For information call 0171-403 5939.

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