Posted by: nestaquin | August 13, 2010

None of that Rabbit Food – We Want Ham and Fish Paste!

Toots after being offered Ham & Fish Paste Sandwiches

One evening during a rain delay many, many moons ago, a meandering conversation with Toots inevitably turned to tucker. After penning his reminiscence of a long lost lunch the covers were removed thereby proving Douglas Adams’ witty assertion about time being an illusion and lunchtime doubly so. May it serve as an entrée to the main course which will be published over the weekend. Bon Appétit.

By the early nineties, the days of wives and girlfriends spending Saturday afternoons happily smearing margarine on bread before shoving a sliver of cucumber between slices, then washing up the whole shebang while the male half charged about on the field dropping skyers and missing run outs, had long since passed. “Better halves” were at work, or at home revising a marketing plan or just doing what they wanted on a precious summer Saturday. Who could blame them?

At Putney Cricket Club, team members volunteered (or were volunteered) to make teas to a strict, unvarying formula that would not have been out of place in a ascetic monastery. The Trumpet had a bit of a reputation as a patron of the finer restaurants along the Thames, as someone unlikely to follow orders for the sake of it and, wait for it, as a VEGETARIAN! So, as the world was put to right in the bar the previous weekend, there were a few uneasy questions about next week’s sustenance. “None of that rabbit food – we want ham and fish paste all right?” “Yeah, yeah – just get the beers in.”

Come the evening before the tea to follow, The Trumpet was sourcing provisions in London’s finest food halls and wondering just how much was needed to feed 22 players and two umpires. Once home, the first bottle (probably a Sauvignon Blanc from the Margaret River area) was uncorked, and the tortilla de patatas began to be constructed. 18 eggs went into that one. While the potatoes for that monster were being parboiled, fresh pasta was bubbling away, which, once al dente, was doused in cream, sliced portobello mushrooms, a little white truffle paste and just enough nutmeg to notice. Sandwiches were either foccacia or ciabatta smeared lightly with mayonnaise and filled with buffala mozzarella, beef tomatoes marinated in extra virgin olive oil and topped with fresh basil. Pudding was tiramisu or summer pudding.

The Trumpet had by this time travelled eastwards and was polishing off the a soft Merlot from Coonawarra and had just to wrap the sandwiches in foil and clingfilm the trays, fill the fridge and the evening was done and Hypnos ready for embrace.

The lads decided that the rabbit food wasn’t so bad after all and wanted The Trumpet’s teas every week – The Trumpet declined… happily.


  1. Wow! Where did this one come from? I kind of half-remember the writing, but I fully remember the tea!

    Such fun to read this – thanks Nesta!

  2. I discovered it in a dusty cranny while cleaning my previous hard drive and thought it far too good to waste.

    Do people really eat Fish Paste with Ham? It sounds like something from a Supersizers episode exploring Victorian cuisine.

    • We’re talking England Nesta. Don’t ever be surprised by what people will eat!

      God knows what else is on that hard drive if this turned up!!

  3. Nesta,

    Great fun reading this post !

    To respond to your comment on the previous post, about split innings in ODIs – I think it is a good idea to trial it in domestic cricket.If it doesn’t work (which I suspect will be the case), it could be junked for international cricket.

    Sachin’s suggestion about two sets of 25-over innings for each team, reads better on paper but there are many questions that need to be answered as well. The toss could become even more crucial than it is now !

    I think the issue of boring cricket will not be solved by these split innings type of innovations.That the boards seem to think so shows how disconnected they are with what the spectators want.

  4. I normally have to forage for the scraps as I’m the only person who can be relied upon to score for our innings if we’re batting first (It beats the heck out of umpiring)

    The best cricket teas are always as a result of bowling first and subsequently bowling the opposition out cheaply.

  5. Hey Toots, Apologies for going off message but …
    Rain, mud, land slides and smashed infrastructure are stopping relief getting through to victims of the floods in Pakistan, but Big Cricket grinds on seemingly unperturbed with the start of a Test Match at the Oval today.
    When over 10% of the population are homeless or threatened with homelessness, when the infrastructure of an area of their country the size of England has been smashed, when aid from the rest of the world is 50% down on that expected, when the aid that is being offered is not getting through because of the infrastructure difficulties and when the shadow of cholera stalks across the life of 20,000,000 of their fellow countrymen, surely, the only remaining justifiable function that this cricket series can have is that of fund and issue-raising for the disaster.
    If you agree there’s a Cricket Action for Pakistan Flood Victims facebook group here:!/group.php?gid=140319736005386&ref=ts

  6. Hi

    I work with the Barmy Army and follow your blog. That has really made me smile on this Wednesday morning, a great piece of writing!

    However, there are only 12 DAYS LEFT to win an amazing Barmy Army Experience of a lifetime at the Ashes in Australia this winter!!! Click here to enter NOW!!!!

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