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For several reasons, we didn't have anything out of the freezer for tonight's dinner. As the Maypole now does food - and we used to eat there a lot, enjoying plain and good food - we decided to try it.

Inamac ordered fish pie, which she tells me was good. I ordered gammon, pineapple and chips because, hell, you can't mess that up.

Oh yes you can.

For a start, they asked me how I wanted my Gammon steak. Did I want it "well done" (apparently, this means 'burnt'.) Gammon is either cooked or not cooked, not rare, not medium, not 'well done.' I wanted mine cooked.

It arrived. Leave the gammon aside - we'll get back to that later - plus a grilled pineapple circle, plainly cut from a fresh pineapple - fine - but without the inedible centre removed. Plus a tomato and pineapple salsa (superfluous), two (undressed) lettuce leaves, half a beef tomato - grilled - and a courgette cut to resemble something vaguely octopoid, where the arms were cooked and the body wasn't. Plus some excellent chips.

But the gammon... For a start, the chef had seen fit to coat it with what appeared to be bits of dried rosemary, which did not complement it at all. Then I tasted it. After a while I came to the conclusion that the chef had cooked it on the same grill as he had cooked the triangle of fish skin which decorated, shark-fashion, Ina's fish pie. This theory is confirmed by the fact I have felt like throwing up since (fish makes me throw up.)

I have informed Ina that if they can destroy something as simple as gammon and chips it is highly unlikely she will get me in there for anything but a quick drink and a bag of crisps.

Incidentally, there are no eggs on the menu because the chef 'can't cook them' (or, for that matter, make coffee) and he said that he hates eggs so doesn't cook them. In the Brewers, up the road, I can get superb ham, beautifully cooked eggs, and chips that are just as good. Admittedly, they cost more, but, believe me, I'm willing to pay...
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Sounds like sticking with the place up the road is the plan to be preferred! Boy, what a mess up.

And "can't cook eggs"? Lazy bugger.

You've been to the 'place up the road' - we wouldn't have taken you to the Maypole in any event!

Yes, I remember it well (though its name escapes me). I also remember your telling me that the Maypole was supposed to be back in business as an eatery soon. Disappointing!

It's really, really hard to ruin gammon (I don't particularly like gammon, and they do get bonus points for fresh pineapple, but lose them for basically, being crap).


I've cooked fresh pineapple with gammon (I love any form of bacon, normally) but I have to say that tinned pineapple, particularly if you can get it in water rather than syrup, actually works better. For some reason the taste seems stronger.

I had to look gammon up, having encountered the term only in the sense of "nonsense" (in an Agatha Christie novel). We just call it ham over here.

'Gammon ham' - but we tend to use 'gammon' when fried or grilled and served hot, and 'ham' when we mean pre-cooked, sliced and served cold (as 'ham and eggs', for instance.)

I've ordered ham and eggs in the USA, expecting a nice gammon steak, and been served with slices of cold boiled ham and fried eggs. Not my idea of ham and eggs. Terminology of food between the US and the UK is a minefield. I've served USians gammon joints here and they've asked 'What's that?'. 'It's salty pig,' I explain, 'Like bacon but from the thick end of the back leg.' That's about as close as I can get, or, 'Like a Virginia Ham but served hot.' They still look at me and shake their head a little - until they taste it!

I think this is a North/South thing in the UK. I had the same experience, but in the South of England. I am now used to 'Ham and Eggs and Chips' meaning sliced cold ham, two poached eggs and chips. Our local pub does an excellent version.

Yes, thinking back, I did once get the boiled ham version in a London pub as well.

Sounds like someone's just begging for a food-allergy lawsuit somewhere down the road. Enough people have fish allergies that cooking anything on the same grill with fish without cleaning it first is a Really Bad Idea.

Yep. Not allergic but like lil_shepherd can make me feel very unwell.

I had a dreadful time with school dinners as a child, because they (teachers, dinner ladies) would not believe how much I hated fish. (As they would also not believe that I was allergic to sticking plaster.) What's more, at my junior school, you weren't allowed water with your meal.

I have learned to like a lot of things that I didn't like as a child, and was hoping the fish thing had worn off too. Unfortunately, my 'try it once every ten years or so' policy and mental brainwashing ("You will like this. You will like this.") has never worked. A whole mass of culinary experience denied to me. Oddly, I can keep down salmon and trout, though I don't enjoy them, and I love shellfish!


And, personally, if a place can't do a proper soft poached egg I don't want to know them.

I was lucky in that I had a fearsome mother, but it was only in my final year at Junior school that the new Rabbi noticed I wasn't eating on Thursdays (Pilchards. Yuck) and insisted they make me a hardboiled egg each week. Like you I love shellfish (which is a problem for a Jewish girl).

Re "learning to like": I learned to like smoked salmon in my twenties, and discovered I actually like raw fish (ie sushi). I also only really like beef if near raw.

Then a few years ago we got two years notice that I'd be a guest at a Swedish convention and realised I was likely to starve if I didn't eat fish so we started figuring out what I could cope with. Salmon was top, and I've learned to quite like it over the years. Tuna next, and that's when we realised that the real culprit was white fish.

If you want to see if you can stretch a bit I recommend Tuna, Mackerel, and Herring (preferably pickled) all of which are meaty rather than fishy.

Ditto swordfish. (Yum!) It's more moist than tuna with slightly more delicate flavour, but still quite meaty and pink.

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I know pubs that have superb food, and I have also eaten badly in France.

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