Allergic reaction? Some Twitterers are … to bunnies!

These days you have to warn people about things like nuts and or mushrooms in their food. Or whether the chicken was slaughtered in a particular way. The reason for this is that there seem to be a lot more people suffering from allergies or else they’re sensitive to the way their meat is killed and prepared. Or they’re sensitive as to whether their food even contains meat, or protein or dairy.

It must be a restaurateur’s nightmare trying to prepare a menu. But what if the chef also has a problem? Not with the food – but with the kitchen! In Scotland, Cameron Robertson has had to give up his career as a chef because he’s allergic – to the pots, pans and utensils. And now he’s had to give up his culinary dreams. Perhaps with the development of more implements made from silicon instead of metal and with the reintroduction of granite counter tops he’ll find his way back into the kitchen?

Image: Photonut

Image: Photonut

Some of award winning author Jeanette Winterson’s followers were aggrieved when she didn’t give too much warning before posting images of a recently-deceased parsley thief that she had dispatched in anger. Some of her 32 000 Twitter followers didn’t like seeing what she had done to ‘bunnikins’ who had been conducting an ongoing assault on Winterson’s garden. Eventually it was too much for her so she trapped, killed, prepared and ate the culprit. Some of the followers were more outraged by her comments about using the head as a glove puppet than they were about the slaying!

There was a furious Twitter-war raging between Winterson and some of her various followers. With two camps having a go at each other about the origin of food and its preparation. One angry follower wrote that she “… would never read a word you write. Rest in peace, little rabbit.” To which Winterson retorted, “Do you only read vegetarians? …”

Some establishments might consider asking their stocktakers to source a copy of the REAL health and safety regulations in case one of their customers wants to check up on things their staff (or themselves even) might have thought was in or out of the rules. A customer was told in no uncertain terms that her child couldn’t use a staff toilet in a Specsavers as it was “contrary to ‘elf-and-safety regulations” – but this was debunked by the Health & Safety Executive as nonsense. There are a whole lot of other misconceptions too, but it has been very convenient for establishments to use it as an excuse to say “no” to something. Like having to produce ID to buy Christmas crackers. Or being prevented from taking photographs of your child at a sports event under the Child Protection Act. Also rubbish.

Just as well, then someone was “breaking the rules” at a rugby game in the Herts Shield junior cup final when an unsporting parent was snapped deliberately tripping a player to prevent him scoring.

Jon Rutter and his team of professionals will tell you exactly what is and what is not permitted in the establishments that they look after – and contrary to the opinions of some, you CAN take photos of the food you’re about to eat and post it to Twitter – even if it’s rabbit!


Rules are made to be broken, said Bernard!

D Day CollageAccountants and stocktakers like Jon Rutter will tell you that there are rules for a reason and that they should not be broken. Like making sure that for every credit there is a corresponding entry in the debit column, or something like that. He will tell you that without the rules in place the wheels of a business can quickly fall off.

Sometimes ordinary folk will look at rules as something some “jobsworth” has invented to spoil our fun and restrict our freedom. One of those occasions is the ruling that has put a stop to what has been going on for 900 years – yes, Morris dancing cannot continue from Nottingham to Southwell. The Nottinghamshire County Council traffic manager has said, among other things that“…a need to recognise the complexity of managing old events safely on today’s roads which carry high volumes of fast-moving traffic.” Why they don’t just close the road like they do in Monaco, or on the Isle of Man or in half of France when sporting events happen. But then I don’t suppose Morris dancing brings in as much cash as racing does.

Sometimes the rule breakers just take the view that they’re going to do it anyway and the consequences be damned! Like Bernard Jordan who told the staff at his care home, “I’m going out for a while …” after they told him that he couldn’t go to Normandy for the D-Day memorial events. But he went anyway and those who told him “no” welcomed him back with applause! Bernard’s day out saw him negotiating a bus and ferry trip to pay his respects to those who fell in the events and after D-Day. No regulations and rules were going to stop him – that’s the spirit that won the war! If some of the present day ‘elf-and-safety’ crowd were around in 1944 they’d have had the whole fleet wearing high-vis jackets and “Mae Wests” in case they fell overboard en route to the Continent.

It is also fitting that Mr Jordan hails from Brighton and Hove – the town where Rutters Stocktakers is head-quartered. Mr Jordan was also mayor there once and moves are afoot to have the Freedom of the City bestowed on him. I suppose it was easy for Mr Jordan to sit at the care home and ponder his moves seeing as you can virtually see Normandy from Brighton. Sometimes breaking the dictats of others is a no-brainer.

One wonders what the safety officers will make of the chef in Grantham in Lincolnshire who has invented a curry that is three times hotter than pepper spray. Apparently the customers who want it are made to sign a disclaimer warning of the consequences of eating it. For those hot food aficionados, this brew is 12 million on the Scoville heat measurement scale. What other stocktaker has to include goggles and gloves for the chef and gloves for the customers in his customer’s inventory?

It would be curious to know why people put themselves through that type of heat-experience … but hats off to the chef whose seen ‘an opening‘ in the market for this type of nuclear curry dish, boldly going where no gastronome has been before.

George has his thunder stolen, and flapjacks are DANGEROUS!

All round the UK accountant-type folk were hovering over about-to-be-amended-spreadsheets, waiting for George Osborne to deliver his budget speech. They didn’t have to wait long because the Evening Standard leaked the highlights before the Chancellor had even risen to speak at the despatch box. But Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers had to wait for the full published report before they could start adjusting the formulae they use in the tools of their trade that help customers with careful and sustained planning in the very competitive and demanding industry.

Once the news was out the Campaign to remove the beer duty escalator were over the moon. But those whose choice of tipple is wine or spirits were a bit bleak. The major pubcos and breweries were quick to announce that they would be passing the beer duty cut on to consumers and others like JW Lees would also not be going ahead with previously announced increases.

The wine and spirits trade made noises about the Chancellor’s “unfair and incomprehensible” move and hinted that it could be illegal. They are not happy. And the news that Chancellor George had now “gone Twitter” gave the platform for many to give him the benefit of their views on the budget. Some of the Tweets he received were not terribly complimentary.

Some Tweeters (or are they Twits?) seemed to cast doubt on whether the pubs would really pass on the price drop or use the line “production costs have risen” and keep the price the same. Readers comments in some newspapers also indicated that there was a wave of doubt growing. Perhaps the cynicism they displayed was because they had “heard it all before.” One reader, and he was supported by others, commented “when was the last time any of us bought a drink in a bar and the price didn’t end in a 0 or 5? This 1p will be swallowed up on to the pubco bottom line, not passed on to the consumer.” Only time will tell.

But while the debate on the budget was raging some chefs were contemplating the disturbing case of how they should possibly reconsider making their flapjacks. It seems that triangles are dangerous – well they have sharp corners, don’t they? That’s what the Castle View School in Essex ruled when a child was hit in the eye by a flying flapjack. “Make them square, in future,” the staff were ordered (as if squares DON’T have corners). It would probably be much safer just to scrap it from the menu altogether. Or issue warning notices on menus about the lurking dangers various dishes might harbour. Some dishes might even have to be renamed. But the danger then, is that the customers might not recognize what it is.

Like Tim Coffey in Bath who has been ordered to re-label his product because there’s not enough fat in it (0.2% fat difference, actually). It’s too healthy. It’s not ice-cream, it’s gelato, says the Council. Either rename the shop or advertise gelato – even though it looks and tastes like ice-cream. Passing a shop in Bath called “The-Real-Italian-Gelato-Company” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.gelato_all_39_italiana_a_01

Do children really say, “may I have a gelato, please Daddy?”

One wonders whether the cones the non-ice-cream is served in will also be ruled dangerous. Cones have a point at the bottom! Non-lethal. Unless they’re thrown at someone – like at a Council clip-board carrier.