The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: Refusing British beef? They must be mad

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The Independent Online
ONE DOESN'T like to betray the European ideal, and so I will have to choose my words with particular tact, but I see the square-headed Kraut is up to his old tricks again. I refer, of course, to the new Hun ban upon the import of first-class British beef, lest it comes from so-called 'infected' cattle. What utter drivel] 'Poor Littul Diddums]' we British Bulldogs should bark back at the humourless hard-hats. 'Scared stiff of a mild spot of Bovine Spongiform are we?' But then they never had our sense of British pluck when it comes to food: on holiday in Germany, I have often noticed how they stick very closely to their tried-and-tested German 'specialities', never venturing their lily-livered paws into truly tasty traditional British grub such as Porky Scratchings, The Little Chef All-Day Breakfast Special, Tinned Peaches in Heavy Sauce, Alphabetti Spaghetti (the book lover's choice) and such seasonal treats as Mr Cadbury's Creme Eggs and Traditional Turkey Roasts from that tremendous old rustic character, the rosy-cheeked Sir Bernard Matthews.

But why all the fuss about Bovine Spongiform, Hans and Kurt? Frankly, I have been eating Bovine Spongiform for absolute yonks, and it's never done me a jot of harm. In fact, the Wallace Arnold Bovine Spongiform Cookbook is due to be published by Pavilion Books in September, ready for the Christmas market. I am tremendously grateful to the publishers for granting me special permission to reproduce one or two 'tips' right here, in this very column. Happily, Mr Smith in Accounts has kindly agreed to send this edition of the Independent on Sunday to Germany in a special air-lift, so that by noon today, over 100,000 copies of these receipts will have been air-dropped over the German cities of Hanover, Bonn, Berlin and Munich, giving the peasant population of that country the ability to choose for themselves for a change.

I like to think that my approach is laced with anecdote, colour and no little humour. For instance, in this delicious receipt for Granny Arnold's Spongiform Bake, I kick off with a charming vignette of dinner chez Arnold:

'This is a dish I plan to knock up for my old friend and quaffing partner Paul Johnson when he puts his head round the door to celebrate the publication of his next book, Wake Up Britain], a rousing polemic for all the family against the perils of having anything more to do with Europe. We will be washing it down with some very quaffable British table wine, and afterwards Mr J Enoch Powell has agreed to perform a selection of Gilbert and Sullivan songs, with my young friend Mr Simon Heffer on mouth organ.

'Ingredients: 2 1/2 lbs minced Spongiform; 1 bag of good British flour; 4oz of Devon Butter; Ketchup to taste.

'Directions: mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Place in a British oven at Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish and potato croquettes. Enjoy]'

My next dish is Wallace Bovirarebit, a variation on the traditional British savoury of Welsh Rarebit. I have already introduced it with great success on to the Sunday lunch menu of The Garrick Club, and I hear tell that the Editor of the Spectator feeds it to his contributors on a regular basis, thus ensuring the high quality of writing that has become a veritable hallmark of that most convivial of journals:

'I served this with a very fair measure of success at my recent get- together to celebrate the opening of my new magazine for modern architects, Lovely Old Buildings Monthly.

'Ingredients: A 3lb carton of Bovine Spongipaste; One loaf Mother's Pride Traditional Sliced Bread; 2oz Devon butter.

'Directions: Spread the bread with the butter. Further spread generous portions of Bovine Spongipaste over the bread. Place under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with Worcestershire Sauce.'

Alas, I find that I have run out of space for further receipts from the Wallace Arnold Bovine Spongiform Cookbook, but I trust that it will have taught the whingeing Jerries just a few of the benefits to be had from a jolly good slice - or three] - of well-hung Mad Cow. As further proof that there is nothing to worry about, may I cite myself? I have been eating good British beef for years, and I have experienced no side-effects whatsomoooover.