19 JULY 1957, Page 12

Consuming Interest

By LESLIE ADRIAN HAPPENED to be down Battersea way recently; and my attention was attracted by an exhibition which British Railways were holding in the goods depot there. Whether because it was a hot after- noon, or because the exhibition was free, or— as I suspect—simply because it was inadequately publicised, the place was almost deserted. As I walked through the prototype carriages I came across a few individuals sitting pooped out, in their shirtsleeves; and in the restaurant there were a few families putting away fruit squashes; but interest in the rolling stock, as such, was not marked.

For this problem, it seems to me, is important. With all due respects to Mr. John Betjeman, I suspect that for every one person who is affected by the fate of Battersea Bridge, a hundred thousand are going to be affected by BR's choice: which of the carriages on exhibition there to put into service. The trouble is that few of us who will have to use them get a chance to air our views until too late—until they are in service. This exhibition, or parts of it, should be sent on tour to railway stations all round the country. And it should be shown not merely to people who hap- pen to be passing; invitations should be issued to local authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Women's Institutes and so on, in order that every- body interested can come and air his views.

I would be interested to know if my own views on the subject are at all widely shared. I simply cannot understand why the habit of having separate carriages, with three or four passengers sitting glazedly opposite to each other has con- tinued. It is a relic of coaching days; and it has many disadvantages for railways. To begin with— from the railway's point of view—fewer pas- sengers can be carried. From the passengers' point of view, ,discomfort, or at least inconvenience, is inevitable; feet are bound to tangle. And who wants to sit looking at some total stranger, except on the very rare occasions when the total stranger is worth looking at?

My own opinion is that seating in railway car- riages should be on the same principle as air- liners. There was one example of this at the BR exhibition : ironically it was the first coach in the circuit, which led me to think that BR had at last woken up to the system's advantages. Not merely could the seat backs be set at four different positions, according to the passenger's taste : all seats except those at the ends of the compartment were reversible, so that the majority of passengers could face forward, while yet allowing the re- calcitrant back-to-the-engine minority (if they arrived in time) to face back.

-Disappointingly, this was the only coach of its type on view (apart from uncomfortable omnibus- type diesels). The rest were all variations on old BR themes. Why? Is it thought that there is a prejudice against the 'open plan' coach? 1 think this is simply because people have yet to realise its advantages. I have only once done a journey in this type of coach—from Dunkirk to Paris— and very comfortable it was. If there are snags, I do not know them : and I suggest that any of you who are interested in more comfortable rail travel

should try to visit this exhibition, if it is put on elsewhere; see for yourself, and, if you agree, add your pleas to mine.

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For hygienic reasons, apart from any others, I welcome the new sliced bacon in vacuum packs straight from the factory which T. Wall and Sons, the pie and sausage firm, is introducing. It is not yet on sale all over the country, but will be in the near future.

I sampled some the other day and found it excellent. The rind, which normally accounts for 10 per cent. of the rasher weight, had been re- moved, so, at 5s. 6d. a pound for best back and 3s. 6d. for streaky, prices are reasonable.

Vacuum-packed bacon keeps longer and re- tains its colour better, than the unwrapped variety, the firm tells me. Each pack is marked with a date and the bacon should be eaten before that time. The time can be extended if you have a refrigerator.

I was interested to hear of the plans the firm has to ensure regular supplies of bacon of a guaranteed standard for vacuum packing. Mr. Collan Brett, a director of Walls and a member of the National Farmers' Union Council, has inaugurated a pig advisory service to tell farmers how they can breed heavier 'all-purpose' pigs for these factory products.

Vacuum packing is an idea largely developed in the United States. But, with memories of mammoth mushrooms, king-size lobsters and jumbo-size steaks, 1 hope we will not follow the Americans too closely in the drive for heavier pigs. There, bigger and better livestock has often meant you end up with less and less flavour.

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And now for the last of Barbara Worsley- Gough's dual-purpose recipes : two dishes from one.


Three calves' tongues are enough for the two dishes. While a pound of potatoes boils, 1 turn the tongues in hot dripping with a chopped onion and clove of garlic. The cooked potatoes are drained and enough of the liquid poured into the casserole to cover the tongues,, with salt, black pepper, a bayleaf and a sprig of fresh chervil. The casserole is put to simmer very gently in the oven for three hours. Then it is cooled and the top fat removed, and I use this to cook two sliced tomatoes and two sliced courgettes in a small pan. I take out the tongues and put one, sliced, in a shallow dish with sliced hard-boiled eggs and raw tomato and pour over it enough of the liquid to cover the slices. When the jelly sets I garnish it with parsley and bits of tomato.

I slice the other two tongues and put them back in the casserole with the rest of the liquid, the cooked tomatoes and courgettes and the potatoes. I extract the bayleaf and the bit of chervil and reheat the casserole, well covered, in a very low oven.

I prefer to have the cold dish first, if possible, because if there are any remains they can be added to the casserole.