Gastropod

AS AN aficionado of reggae, the Gastropod is gratified by its current vogue and intrigued by the television ad for Jordans Country Crisp. The scene is a gaily coloured courtroom where the jury clutch bowls full of cereal and sway to the sounds of an old ska tune. A fit- looking, fortyish bloke is standing in the dock.

'William Jordan,' the court official intones, 'you are charged with creating a wickedly delicious breakfast cereal . . . Furthermore, that you did knowingly cut fresh strawberries into chunks and freeze-dry them, and did sprinkle them liberally among the lightest, crispiest clusters of oats and barley.'

'It's yummy, it's scrummy,' the jury affirm.

Bill Jordan is the director of the family firm, based in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, where the Jordans have been millers for five generations. In real life, Bill is certainly guilty of introducing Granola to this country and of being the first to sell cereal bars.

In the early Seventies, he bummed around the United States, where he was duly inspired by the early, evangelical wholefood movement. Back in Biggleswade, he set about improving the fibre content of the flabby British diet with the slogan, 'Don't eat junk, eat Jordans'. Now the family firm is the fastest growing British cereal manufacturer and well on the way to making its millionth box of Country Crisp.

To misquote the words of the current Shinehead hit, 'Roughage maketh man'. So would Bill Jordan describe himself as a roughneck, rude boy or ragamuffin? Actually, he is a triathlete with a penchant for Cuban jazz, who says: 'I'm just a regular guy.'

THE Gastropod was startled by an anouncement from Safeway that, as an easter treat, it is selling Stilton & Port Chocolates (stilton balls soaked in port and dipped in Belgian chocolate). Revolting though they may sound, these truly novel chocs apparently were popular at Christmas, and are expected to sell like hot cross buns. Limited quantities arrived in Safeway stores yesterday, and retail at pounds 2.49 for 112g.

JOEL ROBUCHON, of the Jamin restaurant in Paris, who has been acclaimed as the cuisinier du siecle, may well be the most fashionable chef on earth. The first English edition of his book Cuisine Actuelle ( pounds 25) is one of nine titles in the new Masterchef collection from Macmillan. Robuchon's secret, we learn, is the fanatical attention to detail he brings to the reinvention of the most basic recipes: one of his most famous dishes is puree de pommes de terre, or mashed potato. The Masterchef collection includes Bruno Loubet's Cuisine Courante in paperback ( pounds 11.99), and French Country Cooking by the Roux Brothers ( pounds 14.99).

Macmillan has always taken its cooks seriously. The most dog-eared volume on the Gastropod's groaning shelves was written by a French chef who created Cuisine Minceur. Translated by Caroline Conran, it was first published in 1978 and remains on Macmillan's list. The Gastropod has a complete collection of the Macmillan Masterchef books - worth pounds 125 - to give to the first reader drawn from a hat on Monday, 12 April, who correctly identifies this book and its author. Entries to: The Gastropod, Independent Weekend Features, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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