Now residing in the South West, there are certain foods from my Northern upbringing that I miss. Chips and gravy go without saying, as does a decent hotpot. But there is something about a good pie that you just can’t beat, which is why on my recent Northern pilgrimage, it was one of the first things I devoured.
Heading out one day to see the sights with my Mum and Sister, I insisted on calling into a local bakery to buy a proper meat ‘n’ tater pie. It was a whopper and tasted just as I remembered: well seasoned with moist pastry and just the right balance of…well, meat and potato. We couldn’t even wait to reach our destination and scoffed our baked goods in the car. We ate all the pies!
This was a strong start to my Northern ‘bulking up’ mission and in the days to follow, I didn’t slacken the pace. My Mum pulled out all the stops and made a delicious roast chicken, accompanied by homemade chips cooked in a real chip pan, delicious! This of course meant late night chicken and stuffing sarnies for at least the next two evenings. Excellent work.
The following day saw me enjoying lunch with my Dad in a cosy pub at the foot of Pendle Hill. The scenery in this part of the world is impressive, but it couldn’t quite be described as pretty or beautiful like some other parts of the UK. The Lancashire landscape is more atmospheric and brooding. This is witch country and as we approach the 400th anniversary of the trial of the Lancashire Witches, it is easy to see how these dark, imposing hills formed the backdrop for such legends.
Despite this haunting history, on a fine day Pendle Hill makes a fabulous walk with views from the summit to take your breath away. Sadly, the weather during my visit was most definitely not fine. The locals have a saying that if you can see Pendle Hill, it is about to rain and if you can’t, it’s raining already. The latter was true in this case so we skipped the walk and took refuge in The Pendle Inn, our venue for a slap up lunch. With log fires and real ales, what more could you ask for?
Sausage and mash is what I asked for and it didn’t disappoint. A mountain of creamy, smooth potato formed a bed for well cooked chunky sausages. They looked like four fat fingers but thankfully more appetising. Drowned in thick tasty gravy, this was the perfect winter warmer to prepare me for the dismal weather outside. It also helped with my waistline expansion quest, as did all the other meals I enjoyed over the reminder of my visit.
So did my Northern feasting have the desired piling-on-the-pounds effect? On my return to the South West, I approached the scales with some trepidation. Had I managed to beat my previous pathetic 3 pound increase? Sadly, not quite. But all is not lost, I have put on….wait for it….2 pounds! Not an entirely wasted Northern feast, then.
So although my pie and chips binge wasn’t enough to fight my fierce metabolism to a large extent, this is still a minor victory in my bulking up mission. Besides, I figure my body needs time to adjust to this increase in food intake and that it will realise my intentions and catch up eventually. Hmm, we’ll see!