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Well now that we’ve got Roly and Ray’s relationship sorted out and hopefully Ray’s titling with a little help from MP we can get back to saying how we all had sod all in our youth - that’s for us oldsters of course. Not young ’uns like Mike - even though he does have a beard.
My mother, who is long departed, used to tell me tales about what she had to do as a child. What is regarded as offal and often fed to cattle these days was the source of many a meal long ago.
She said that every Sunday morning she was sent to a butcher’s on the main road to Ashton-under-Lyne for a cow’s heart. If you’ve never had it you have missed out on the leanest beef you could ever taste. Don’t forget that a heart is constantly exercised and therefore there is virtually no fat content.
One Sunday morning she went, as usual, clutching a sixpence and asked for a heart. The butcher told her that he had none at the moment but would soon have one if she wanted to wait. After a fair while of kicking her heels she asked when it would arrive so the man took her outside the shop.
He pointed towards Ashton along the road where she saw a man leading a cow towards them. The conversation as I recall at this remove in time and hoping my memory is still accurate was to the effect. ’There you are lass. Your heart’s coming now. I’ll soon ’ave it fer thee.’
She said that when she realised where cow’s hearts actually came from she was devastated and watched in horror as the cow was led round to the slaughterhouse at the rear of the shop. She heard a couple of moo’s and then a thud which shook the shop.
A little while later the butcher came into the shop with something parcelled up in paper. ’Right lass.’ he said., ’’Ere’s tha ’eart. That’ll be a tanner.’ The heart was still so warm that she felt that it was still beating. She paid and ran down the steeply sloping street clutching the parcel while crying her eyes out the whole time. That day she didn’t want any beef and it took her a while to get used to eating cow’s heart again.
By the time she was raising her own family she had forgotten her scruples and we often enjoyed the thing which had once been a cheap source of food but is now a delicacy - if you can find one. In our early days of marriage it was still fairly easy to find them but I seldom spot one anywhere now and Patricia doesn’t really like cooking them. Scruples I suppose.
Aut cursu, aut cominus armis