Beef's best when chewing the cud with chums

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

Related Topics
IF EVER there was a valuable piece of advice given to me by Great- grandfather Arnold all those years ago as I sat by his knees while he sucked on his Old Scrag, it was most surely this: "Never, Ever Trust a Boffin." And the truth of this richly Arnoldian aphorism was never made more plain to me than this week, as I perused with astonishment the assorted eggheads holding forth in the newspapers on the subject of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (dread gibberish).

I have been an enthusiastic beef eater all my life. Morning, noon and night, house guests in Chateau Arnold find that assorted cuts of beef, beef and more beef are freely available: roast rib on the television in the drawing room, chump in the servants' quarters, a chilled consomme with parsley and cream in the toothmugs in all the bathrooms, perfect little pats of steak tartare on the pillows in the guest bedrooms and, for our American cousins, big rissoles next to the floral soaps in the shower rack.

Never has a day gone by without a tasty bit of beef slipping its merry way down the Arnold throat. I start the day with a goodly wedge of Beef Dripping poured daintily - but with all due generosity! - over my Scott's Porage Oats. When I am feeling really naughty(!) I then treat myself to another spoonful (or three) in my breakfast cup of Earl Grey, and jolly good it is too. And so to elevenses, where a simple Penguin chocolate biscuit can be greatly enhanced by the addition of a few slices of lightly roasted beef plus oodles of horseradish and a pinch of nutmeg.

Come luncheon, I tend to fall back on that Great British Standby: a decent joint of beef. This must, perforce, be served rare, or ''still kicking'' as my grandmother would call it. It has been said that a gentleman who manages to conclude his luncheon without a sizeable splash of blood on his necktie is no gentleman at all. Personally, I end my own luncheons looking rather as if Mr Jackson Pollock had just paid a lightning visit, and my friends are well used to the spectacle of my good self parading along the streets of London come the afternoon with little flecks of blood and gristle attached to my jacket, to be devoured a few minutes later as an essential part of a light afternoon tea.

For dinner, I tend to favour a little more beef. As a first course, I acquaint my stomach with a couple of dainty beef vol-au-vents on a bed of lightly curried beef, to be followed by a delicious beef goulash, Olde English Beef stew or beef curry, depending upon mood, with a goodly slab of Mr Wall's Ice Cream plus a couple of spoonfuls of Beef Jelly as a pud. For my savoury, I tend to favour something a little lighter: a minute steak, perhaps, or a decent piece of tongue, or a lightly-poached oxtail with a cheese sauce. And last of all, in deference to the Health Lobby, I try to manage a lettuce leaf with my mug of steaming hot Bovril.

Marvellous! But now the politically motivated scaremongers seem utterly determined to spread their home-grown variety of rumour, gossip and innuendo. Yet the fact remains that though this may afford them some amoosement, it is highly destructive to our national dish. They claim that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (dread moothful) may well transfer to human beings. But this is, at best, a mooot point. Personally, I have found no sign whatsoever, either in myself or in my close friends, that the consumption of beef products results in any form of human Mootation.

To celebrate our continued allegiance to beef, a grooop of us gathered at the Beefsteak Club on Thursday last to hear Mr Douglas Hogg propose a generous toast to the bull and cow. I have to say, it was mooosic to my ears, and when he sat down he acknowledged our applause with a snort and wave of the hoof. The delightful performance of our second guest, Mr John Selwyn Gummer, was equally memooorable. Gummer brought along his dear daughter, Miranda, whom he was only too happy to force-feed on beefburger a full five years when this ridiculous ''Mad Cow'' scare first began. Miranda, I need hardly say, has never looked more healthy or happy, wagging her tail from left to right throughout the speeches.

The big guns of the BSE lobby are, as you see, somewhat short of amooonition. My body and brain will continue to be oiled by beef for many mooonths yet, regardless of the scaremooongers, who I don't believe for one moooment. Mad Cow disease, forsooth! The very mention of such an absurdity makes me want to lie on my back and wiggle my legs, front and back, in the air. In short, something mooost be done.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose  

So, the people who always support the Tories... are supporting the Tories? Has the world gone mad?

Mark Steel
Crofter's cottages on Lewis. The island's low population density makes it a good candidate for a spaceport (Alamy)  

My Scottish awakening, helped by horizontal sleet

Simon Kelner
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat