21 JUNE 1963, Page 29

Consuming Interest


By LESLIE ADRIAN ALTHOUGH we are rather less

Having never been much drawn to this particular facet of the picnic game, a barbecue outfit was something which I felt I could live very well without. That was until last week when Le Creuset (the French firm well known for their magnificent cast-iron cooking ware) marketed a barbecue machine that includes a turning spit. The epicurean prospect of meat spit-roasted in the open air over (or rather in front of) glowing charcoal suddenly became a practical possibility--even for us city slickers.

Anyone with a garden, backyard, verandah or even a balcony could use it with safety. Having none of these amenities myself, I have been using mine out in the mews where we live. So far no one has prosecuted us for nuisance— though the woman next door is threatening an action for enticement. The sweet-savoury scent of spit-roasted lamb was almost more than her husband could resist?

There is nothing gimmicky or ephemeral about this machine. It is soundly built and simple to use. The least mechanical member of this family assembled it in five minutes, and took it apart in half that time. (It conies in a canvas carrying case the size of a squash bag.) Gamages, Liberty and Jackson's of Piccadilly sell it for £14 17s. 6d. So do various provincial stores including I. J. Allen of Bournemouth and Brown's of Chester.

If the Le Cieuset, or any other charcoal stove, is used with any regularity, the fuel packs sold by the big stores are likely to work out rather expensive. Both the Army and Navy Stores and Gamages sell charcoal in 7-lb. bags for 7s. 6d. But like everything else, it pays to buy charcoal in bulk.

Selfridges have 14-1b. bags (12s. 6d.) but Firminger and Lloyd (Larcon Street, SE 17; RODney 2958) go two better than that. They offer 28-lb. bags for 17s. 6d. and 56-lb. bags for 32s. 6d. Carriage within a twenty-mile radius would be about 7s. 6d. on the heavy load and 2s. 6d. less for the small one. They tell me that most people drive down and fetch it for them- selves. (They are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.) Charwood Sales Ltd. (8 Broadway, SW1; ABBey 2271) do not do the big bags, but their 7-lb. packs cost only 6s. and they deliver in the central London area (their notion of central London is rather wider than most peoples' as it includes Swiss Cottage and Holland Park).

if you find that it takes a little alcoholic encouragement to get charcoal properly lit up, try sprinkling it with meths. Or buy a packet of those solid methylated lozenges known as Meta

* OUTDOOR COOKING. By Helen Evans Brown and James Beard.

fuel sold by most hardware shops at Is. 6d. for 12. Pindisports (14 Holborn. EC1) also have 6s. economy packs.

The Post Office are a funny lot. It is doubtful if they would survive in competitive business. How many companies can you name who send you a bill without specifying the goods you have bought? Yet the telephone bills now being received all over the country list trunk calls and telegrams by calling number, which in ninety- nine cases out of a hundred \sill be the same— that of the subscriber, as ne is laughingly called.

I have just received back a list of trunk calls and telegrams amended to show exactly who was on the receiving end. One was not made, and could not have been, made from my number. Thus I am saved 3s. 6d. I wonder how many so- called subscribers pay up without questioning the details.

It still takes six weeks or more to get a new telephone instrument in London, and God and GPO knows how long to get a new number. But the Post Office are spending money with ITV to advertise their slogan—`a phone call brings, you together wherever you are.' Perhaps they are hoping to make us use the existing instruments more, now that both rental and trunk charges have been raised. It's a pity they don't use the money to fix the Holborn Exchange where, angry business subscribers tell me, they are apt to get one wrong number in two from the decrepit automatic selectors. The St. Martin's-le-Grand story is that they are waiting for STD.

My local post office has gone over to the sys- tem where every position on the counter does everything—stamps, old age pensions, car licences, savings certificates, the lot. There are few queues now, and they are admirably short. The other morning I was in the spacious new post office near Trafalgar Square. Out of eighteen positions alleged to deal with pensions, POSB and the other long-winded jobs, only two were operating, and the queues were enormous. Five other clerks were happily registering letters, selling postal orders and stamps to a rapidly moving group. There was a lot of expensive floor space unused. Does the Treasury 0 and M department know?

More the concern of the public relations offi- cers is the curious attitude of the Special Messengers operators. Calling them up the other day to have a packet collected and urgently delivered within about four or five hours, I was told that there was a delay. Oh. says I, how long? 'We don't say,' said the voice, 'All we say is that there is a delay. We don't say how long.' 'It is now 12 o'clock,' I answered. 'Do you think that the messenger can reach this office (in Victoria from Fleet Street) before 5.30 p.m.?' 'Well, you see, there's a delay,' said the voice, `And we don't say: 'Is it worth my while sending it by special messenger, or should I take it my-

self?"Well, you could 1 suppose. . No (or very brief) comment.

It was recently admitted-to me in Spain that rosado is quite commonly made there by mixing red and white wines of the same kind—result pink. Would most people notice the difference, I wonder? Pink wine is the satisfactory compro- mise between white and red for everyday drink- ing, even though the serious wincman may tilt his.nose a trifle away from it rather than into it:

But there are the aristocratic roses that are an experience as well as a drink, ochre doignon for instance, with its distinctive rusty tinge, Tavel, which is often quite high in alcohol, and

Anjou, tending to the sweet side of the spectrum, all made in the classic manner by separating the grape skins from the juice early in the fermenta- tion, before the full colour has been extracted. These, and indeed most of the rose family, are ideal summer wines, for there is little or no mystique about the way in which they are served, as long as they are not too cold, or their floweri- ness is apt to be destroyed—and on the whole they are cheap.

The latest Wine Mine (Peter Dominic, ls.) has a list on p. 19 of 'roses and wine' ranging from Bordeaux rosé at 7s. 9d. to Tavel at 11s. 9d. Chiaretto, from Garda (almost a red but light as a rose in body), costs 8s. 9d.

The Professional and Businessmen's Wine Vaults (39-43 Monument Street, EC3; MINcing Lane 4100) has just issued a charming list of summer wines, with some rare and inexpensive contents. Among them Flamme du Jura (8s. 7d.), Grand Vin Gris Passe-Caille (9s.), and Francoise de Montfort (11s. 6d.), all from the Jura and all roses. From Provence there are Rosé de Bandol (16s. 9d., estate-bottled and a treat, as far as rosés go) and the even pricier Château Simone (18s. 9d.). The P and. B W V also have a 7s. 10d. yin rosé sec de Provence that is excellent value. Oh, yes, you have to buy by the dozen.