Supplement A

Well, it might not have been purchased from a shop dedicated to the art of fried poultry (and the occasional lipsmacking rib), but it was certainly very independent. Some greasy kebab shop on the Lower Clapton Road (of which there are many) provided me with a couple of pieces of fried beast (species indeterminate) the other Sunday evening, when filthy food was sorely needed after a lengthy walk down the Lea Valley and a couple of pints. The ‘chicken’ was dried out and crusty (and not in a good fresh bread type way) from sitting like Miss Havisham in the hot cabinet while most customers to the shop ordered chunks of sweaty lamb, watched hungrily as they were grilled and popped in pittas, then left to devour them at the bus stop, but nevertheless I requested some, not being in the mood for hot kebab action. The experience was adequate if leathery, but becomes a pearl of memory when compared to the horrific 2-hour multi-bus journey home after a road traffic accident blocked off the only passable route through Stoke Newington.

Anyway, my question is this: How wrong (or indeed wilfully perverse) is it to eat something from a shop or restaurant that is not the establishment’s stated speciality, even if you don’t particularly like the speciality or have been dragged there when you’re not feeling it? Now, I’d generally sneer at ordering chips in a Chinese takeaway, for example, or refusing smacking-fresh fish at the seaside, as it seems indicative of small-mindedness and fear of the unknown. However, I don’t feel there’s that much in it when you’re talking lardy fast food, although ardent connoisseurs of Middle Eastern grilling may disagree.