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Sunday, 6 November 2016

The distinct smell of properly smoked bacon and faulty tools.

Although I would never wish to go back to a traditional butcher's environment due to the heavy lifting and hard physical work I have enjoyed looking at some images in an online album of mine.

This picture of two sides of smoked bacon brought forth the most memorable memory that was almost olfactory. For some reason I always enjoyed boning out the sides of smoked bacon for the aroma and also the skill in pulling out the long rib bones (which can be achieved with string!).

When I worked at Rydes in The Cornmarket (Derby City Centre) we had a large amount of staff on the shop floor and in the cutting room above the shop. A couple of times a week a retired chap called Ken used to come in to help us slice the huge amount of bacon the busy shop used to sell. The young male staff used to enjoy playing tricks on him. A good example would be the time one of the lads climbed into the chest freezer where Ken would be expecting to find sides of streaky bacon firming up and thereby to be of a stiffness to cut on the bacon slicer. A few minutes after Ken arrived he would put his white coat on and open up the lid on the chest freezer. Imagine his total surprise when he opened the lid expecting to find several slabs of streaky bacon only jump out of his skin when the lad leapt out like a frosty zombie!

Bacon slicer

We also had another tool which was worse than useless. This was the tenderising machine in which the idea was to tenderise portions of beef steak. It was a bit like a toaster to look at. The steak got dropped into the slot at the top and then the spinning blades would score the surface of the meat. Well, that was the idea. The reality was that the two intertwined sets of blades weren't very sharp and there was no method of sharpening them. Therefore, they would just chew up the meat and cleaning the gunked up blades was a real pain.

Interior blades.

Another very faulty piece of equipment was the bag sealer or tape dispenser. Here the ideal scenario was that the colourful tape would seal the plastic bag that the meat was enclosed in. Most of the time it just snapped which was a huge issue when the shop was rammed with queuing customers. Fun times.

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