Standing in the press room at Goodwood one day, I remember the late Christopher Poole, racing correspondent for the London Evening Standard, explaining that he’d been on holiday to Maine in order to determine whether it was possible to eat too much lobster. The conclusion he came to was ‘no’.
That’s reassuring because, in the absence of a last minute breakthrough in Brexit trade deal negotiations, there could be an awful lot of shellfish available in Berwick from January onwards. In fact, we may have a glut of all types of fish, so I’ve dug out the recipe books and started menu planning for the post-Brexit period.
I’m proposing that the day begins with porridge oats milled by John Hogarth Ltd on the banks of the Tweed in Kelso. Lunch will be lobster (landed nearby on the Berwickshire coast) and for supper I’ve gone for battered cod & chips, all of it washed down with a wee dram of single malt whisky – except of course at breakfast time. Obviously! Well, not on Mondays through to Thursday in any case…
Economists are forecasting an increase in food prices of about 3% – 5% due to additional import costs, a factor which may well impact on the availability of Hellman’s mayonnaise to accompany the lobster. But while Hellman’s is made with foreign eggs, we’re fortunate at the racecourse to be able to make our own mayonnaise using free range eggs supplied by one of our Directors. Except of course that all outdoor hens are about to enter their own form Lockdown this weekend as they shelter from bird flu (and the search for that vaccine hasn’t even started yet – so they could be indoors for some time).
We may have trouble getting lemons from Italy too; I like a little lemon with my lobster, so it’s quite important that we get a trade deal sorted with China, India or Mexico, all of whom have more lemons than they know what to do with – just a bit further away than the continent.
Racegoers who aren’t so keen on their fish shouldn’t be concerned about post-Brexit raceday catering. We have three racecourse caterers here at Kelso and all of them have excellent sources of local produce. The Juicy Meat Co, who usually feed the racehorse owners, trainers and customers in the Younger Stand, actually rear their own Tamworth pigs and Black-face lambs for a genuine field-to-fork experience. Beef is procured from the farm next-door where they rear native breeds in a beautiful setting. On racedays The Juicy Meat Co serve their own handmade, award winning, pies containing a succulent Wagyu Beef filling sourced all the way from Duns – about 20 minutes from the racecourse.
Ironically there are no overseas runners in Saturday’s International Hurdle at Cheltenham (in which our selection is Song For Someone) and we may well be short of Irish runners in January too, but at least we don’t expect anyone to go hungry.