Friday, 31 October 2008

Sping Spong


My Neighbour Who Knows What I Like ran past my kitchen window in the rain the other day with this box clutched in her hand. I rushed out, delving in my pocket for a fiver. "You can keep your hands off" she said, "This is the Communal Mincer". Apparently it's shared between my neighbours for the odd sheep's head they need to render down, but kept safe in a central location. Memories of course came flooding back of my mother attaching one to the kitchen table, where I would watch in awe as bright pink worms sprouted out the end. If you look under any similar table of this particular vintage the chances are you will see a succession of circular indentations made by the screwing-up of the clamp. One mystery remains. The body of the mincer is blind-embossed with the word 'National'. I have a Price's Household Candles box of similar age, with 'National Wax' on the front. Rationing and short supply during the Second World War gave us National Starch, Milk and Margerine; so I can only suppose that this is a left-over, like a cold Sunday joint, from the same era. An economy issue, or simply a post war buzz word, like 'National Service'. I think I'll get a big bit of cow or similar tomorrow, just so that I can join the Monday morning queue in order to start mincing about.

24 comments:

Ron Combo said...

In most Italian butchers' shops you can buy three types of mince, just graded by fat content. Not that I'll be buying any for the foreseeable.

Vinogirl said...

Yea, here, I buy the 93/7%...I would like to mince my own steak though. It's raining in Ca. so it's chili and Zinfandel weather :)

Peter Ashley said...

Good to see from your new portrait that you've joined the navy. Best thing for you, by the sound of it. Just ships' biscuits and brackish water for you Cap'n.

Peter Ashley said...

That's Ron, by the way, not the lovely Vinogirl, whose liver I'm sure is more or less intact.

Vinogirl said...

It's not all doom and gloom Cap'n Ron...after a whirl through a 'National Mincer' your liver will regenerate itself, and Bob's your uncle, you'll be back to your regular diet in no time.

Fred Fibonacci said...

Extraordinary. I've been thinking about one of these mincers a lot lately, and blow me down if Peter doesn't run a feature. Am I alone in this, or was everyone else thinking about mincers at the same time? Something to do with New Thrift perhaps?

Peter Ashley said...

I think you're right Fred. Right said Fred, in fact. We're feeling the crunch so hard in Unmitigated England we've started to knit our own curries.

Jon Dudley said...

It's rissoles for Monday lunch, then. In our house, what was left after Sunday roast was, with the aid of the trusty Spong and its attendant pierced discs, rendered into all manner of other products. My mother's 'skinless' sausages failed to convince my sister and I that they were anything of the sort and we gazed longingly at the the proprietary Walls' product at the grocers which she rubbished sourly.

By the way Ron, my dear old dad-in-law, a
man not unfamiliar with the consumption of alcohol, was absolutely convinced that it was an excellent idea to eat liver in order to nourish one's own. Speaking from personal experience, and possibly this may have some bearing on your own bijou problem-ette, three months is the maximum period for alcohol abstension...after that the liver will have performed all the healing it's likely to do. Well that's what I read in 'The Boys Book of Liver Facts and Feats'. Anyway, three months with ne'er a drop seems like three years.

Peter Ashley said...

Do you know Jon, we'd never heard of rissoles in our home. When I did hear the word I thought I'd misheard something rude. Anyway, isn't it amazing how Ron's liver is still in good enough running order to migrate from his blog to mine.

Diplomat said...

Fred - amazing - only last week I dusted of the old National and ran a load of fallow offal through as part of the haggis making process. Weird, isn't it how these things sort themselves out. The New Thrift season is well and truly upon us - we've slashed our monthly foie gras order to nearly half and now have whole livers flown in (vacuum packed)from the Gers so we can cure our own - how tight's that.

Peter Ashley said...

Welcome back Diplo, I knew you'd show us the way through these hard times. My cleaning lady is only coming every two nights now.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Golly, 11 comments already, and I've only just seen the post. I must be working too hard. What an elegant machine and very like one used for many years by my mother. The design must have survived for decades, I should think - it works wonderfully so why modify it? I've only ever associated Spong (wonderful name) with mincers. Did they ever make anything else?

(Grown men - saving Vinogirl's presence - talking about mincers. Julian and Sandy would have had something to say about that....)

A F-A said...

The great thing about being allowed to use the Spong as a child was that inevitable moment when, despite being warned, small fingers pressing down the meat into its maw became entrapped in the archimedian screw, threatening to add something extra to the mince. Adult hands were required to 'unwind' the situation, and ginger beer to stem the tears.

Peter Ashley said...

Ah, Combe Gibbet. Apparently it's still in the tenancy agreement of a neighbouring farm that they are responsible for the maintenance of the gibbet.

But oh those elephants. Must get down here again, and apart from anything else re-visit one of my old haunts- The Hatchet Inn near Chute Causeway.

Peter Ashley said...

Actually I was supposed to put this comment on Wilko's blog. Long weekend, sorry.

Lemon Kelly said...

Evening all, I've been enjoying this splendid blog for some months now and finally feel comfortable enough to show my face... as it were. I have a couple of these mincer things from Czechoslovakia or maybe Hungary, they're branded Porkolt, or something!

Peter Ashley said...

Welcome Lemon Kelly and your Czech / Hungarian Mincers.

Jon Dudley said...

Apologies for (being a) blog-creep!

Peter Ashley said...

As a film maker Jon, can you confirm for me that 'creep' is when sound and vision start to part company? Anyway, not sure what you're apologising for, you don't seem to have committed any indiscretions to my knowledge.

Jon Dudley said...

I should have spoken to Ron's blog directly about his organ. Wouldn't have a clue about 'creep', squire, as I would hardly grace myself with the term film maker...more flim maker as that is what we advertising types purvey! Funny you shouldn't have used the term 'rissoles' we had similar sniggers in our soft Southern homes about North country faggots. I expect if you buy one of today's Spongs (or its modern incarnations) there are manifold warnings to prevent a repeat of a-f-a's experiences.

A F-A said...

My old Dad's French girl-friend once brought across to England a multi-function kitchen weapon called 'Le Diplodocus', on account of its alleged resemblance to said animal. He - and, indeed, I - were quite keen on her, and so for some little time, everything we had was sliced, diced, minced and generally reduced to small pieces. Helas, she departed, and the Diplodocus was consigned to a bin. I expect it is extinct now, like its namesake.

Ron Combo said...

Jon, you are dead right about liver being good for the regeneration of the liver, along with industrial quantities of Milk Thistle and Vitamins B & C. Can barely wait.

Peter Ashley said...

Three Timothy Taylor's Landlords last night Ron.

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