One of my favourite TV programmes is Countryfile.
But occasionally it wastes valuable time explaining things that surely everyone already knows. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, it considered old-time country crafts and we were told how surnames reflected occupations – Archer, Miller, Fletcher, Drover etc.
At one point it mentioned ploughmans’ lunches and I hoped that it would consider butties although in truth I have never met a Mr, Mrs or Miz Butty.
It barely touched on the subject, though, which was just as well because an old-fashioned Lancastrian like moi knows more about the subject than the Earl of Sandwich who invented them.
You can forget southern sandwiches which are a pale imitation of the real thing. cucumber and salmon mousse in brown bread with the crusts off drizzled lightly with extra virgin balsamic vinegar may go down well in the Thames valley but up north they can stick ‘em, ‘specially the cucumber.
I could devote an entire programme instructing southeners how to construct proper butties as eaten north of a line between Liverpool and Skegness. Something along these lines:
Take a small crusty loaf – a large one if you’re hungry – and slice in two across the middle. Pull out a couple of handfuls of the doughy bits and you will be left with a pair of thingies rather like dug-out canoes.
Now for the filling. Lay the foundation with half-a-yard of honeycomb tripe and a large sliced onion. Add a considerable length of Cumberland sausage and three eggs fried in proper beef dripping. You can have choice of sauces – either HP or tomato ketchup.
Finish off triumphantly with two chunks of Lancashire cheese and any long-forgotten leftover hot pot from the back of the fridge. If it has a green fuzz and glows in the dark give it to the dog.
Put on the lid and hammer it down to a size you can get your teeth round. Hope you hard-fried the eggs otherwise the yolks will jet out and landscape the walls.
The northern butty is the reason for our regional physical superiority. As in rugby League, Cumberland wrestling, Liverpool kiss (employing the head as a weapon) the mighty Hyde hambone (fist) and the Gorton groiner (boot).
All they have down south, the poor saps, is the Dagenham Girl Pipers.