This week, Tesco made the Hall of Foodstuff Infamy by launching a limited edition sandwich which has the fat content of two McDonalds cheeseburgers. Somehow I thought that The Butterfield Diet’s ‘Treat Day’ dish of ’20 Cheese Omelette’ was going to hit the shelves.

What a way of celebrating the Coalition Government’s abdication of responsibilities in terms of healthy eating! So much so that Feast of the M60 has been inspired to do a Crimes Against Food blog post. We are not using this to make pot shots at their lasagne butty (which I may review at a later date), so count yourselves highly disappointed if you expect me to.

1. The Pie Butty

Pastry on pastry? Is that supposed to work? It depends on the type of pie, and whether it is hot or cold. The best pies for this delicacy have to be those with shortcrust pastry. The Hollands Meat and Potato pie is probably the best. As for bread, a barmcake, bap or oven-bottom muffin should do the trick, as they are more likely to fit the pie comfortably. Puff pastry pies are best avoided due to their consistency (try a Pukka Pie by all means, if you are willing to burn your fingers in the process).

2. School issue beef burgers/hamburgers

Before Labour reintroduced nutritional standards (which were gleefully reneged by the ConDems, after being scrapped by Thatcher in 1980), the typical ’80s child saw patchier school meal provision. They either had a full service with a limited menu and few vegetables, or they scrapped school meals altogether. A common icon of that period for me was the School Issue Hamburger.

For some reason, they tasted nothing like the Birds Eye ones, or the cheapo ones from your local Fine Fare store. They had a texture akin to Spam or luncheon meat. They were often served with gravy. Whom in the age of McDonalds had hamburgers with gravy? Even my Wimpy on Staveleigh Way didn’t make these concessions. For some reason they were quite tasty. In later years, I realised how grateful I was for this compared with fellow pupils my age whom were educated under Tory councils where school dinners were abolished.

3. The Deep Fried Haggis

True confession: this nutritionally incorrect delicacy was a favourite of mine whilst I stayed in Blackpool on holiday in 1993. Countless words have been written on the Deep Fried Mars Bars and the deep-frying of other sweetmeats. The Deep Fried Haggis raises the bar that much further!

Haggis itself is made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs combined with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, lined in the sheep’s stomach. The suet and salt is enough to get the nutrition experts cock-a-hoop, before one decides to deep-fry the thing. My deep-fried haggis was devoured with chips from a rather good chippy on Dickson Road near Gynn Square in the resort.

4. The Meatball Marinara (and its imitators)

Popular among Subway aficionados (£1.99 for a 6″ one at the time of compiling this article), this sandwich and its imitators is highly addictive whilst placed in the wrong hands. A toxic mixture of salicylate heavy tomato sauce (possibly with MSG), even with lashings of salad and South West sauce makes for a most addictive sandwich. It’s place in the Crimes Against Food category are justified by means of its salt content, salicylate heavy Italian style sauce, and (ABH type sentence jobby) Mystery Meat (unless it does state if real lamb or pork is used). Indulge only in moderation.

5. The Pot Noodle:

Introduced in 1979, this plastic potted snack is seen by many epicureans as the very nadir of all foodstuffs (as if the 19p Hot Dogs weren’t bad enough). Little or no cooking skills are required for this other than finding a suitable kettle and a fork.

I prefer Nissin’s Cup Noodles by a long way off. Golden Wonder’s version to me have had that artificial taste (Beef and Tomato – we’re looking at you!). I’m amazed as to how many flavours and spin-offs it spawned, such as Pot Spaghetti, the short lived Pot Mash, and Pot Rice. It’s packeted cousin, the Batchelors’ Super Noodles are infinitely better, as are Nissin’s Cup Noodles.

What are your (food-related) crimes?

I could have listed another five examples, but I am counting on you to come up with some other valid suggestions. It could be the Cheese and Tomato sandwich with mayonnaise, food filed under ‘nutritionally incorrect’ yet tasty (KFC and its imitators for example), and of course culinary dumbing down.

Bon appetit! Mine’s a deep fried Malteser with chips and cheese (not advisable if you want to live beyond retirement).


S.V., 13 July 2010.

11 thoughts on “Crimes Against Food: Feast of the M60

  1. Deep fried Mars Bars!!!…the craze has drawn in other bars…including curly wurlys eugh!

    A note on transport you may be interested in Stuart. I understand one of your interests is former route 398 (Oldham to Ashton) by Stott’s. It may interest you that in September will see a brand new route, the S49 (409 gimmick by you know who) but from Oldham to Ashton only, I think.

    All I know with Speedwell is that a 3rd Enviro300 is on the cards, and a replacement of the remainder Varios will come in the form of more dart MPD’s…so there are benefits for the 343 too…I don’t know whats being dealt for the S49, but more will surface soon.



    1. Hi William,

      I can imagine the Deep Fried Curly Wurly being a most gross proposition. If you thought these were bad enough, I suggest you take a look at this excellent blog I’ve found: ‘This is Why You’re Fat‘.

      In the near future I shall construct a new article on the S49 route. It is great to see the 409 being given some competition, just to wake up First Manchester. If I remember rightly, there has been no competition on the 409 route since Stotts withdrawn the 398 in 1997.

      I hope you don’t put on a few pounds just looking at the ‘This is Why You’re Fat’ website. 🙂

      Bye for now,



  2. Hello Stuart.

    I thought the Meatzza was a bit weird, but then I observed ‘The Pake’ (Pie in a Cake)…I’m probably going to avoid dinner now lol I noticed for some reason, that all of there processed cheese looks like custard eurgh! Sod watching diet shows, flick through that blog 🙂

    The S49 sounds like a top idea, but I’ll be long gone at university before I can get a look in, but it should be a fun ride.



    1. Hello again William,

      I thought my examples were gross till I had a look on that website. Give me a nice Twenty Cheese Omelette any day! Viewing ‘This is Why You’re Fat’ is a cheaper (and equally effective) alternative to Weight Watchers or Slimming World.

      There’s no way I could eat a piece of Pake at home, let alone on the 409 or new S49 come September.

      Bye for now,



  3. Hello Stuart,

    Todays featuring is the maple bacon doughnut, yum…eurgh 😦 I also discovered that this is a better way than purchasing a work out dvd by craig charles, H from steps or some other tv pundit.

    I’m unsure if the S49 will, at all, go to Rochdale or if there is any plan to increase the usual frequency because of the fiercer competition.



    1. Hi William,

      Yes, the Maple Bacon Doughnut is a better substitute for celebrity-endorsed fitness DVDs. Admission: I do have a fitness DVD in my collection, but it is ‘Max and Paddy: The Power of Two’ – Peter Kay and Patrick McGuinness’ take on that genre using the bouncer characters from Phoenix Nights.

      I am looking forward to see ‘Bus Wars II: The Speedwell Strikes Back’ on the Ashton – Oldham route. The latest I’ve heard is that they are going to charge a £1.00 for the full route! That is only 10p dearer than the 1996 Stotts fare [398, Ashton – Oldham – Grotton] and cheaper than a journey from Ashton bus station to the Dog and Partridge on the 409!

      Bye for now,



  4. Hello Stuart,

    I would have thought Speedwell would have to charge a £1 flat fare on the S49 as the whole point of ‘Speedwellvalue’ was it was a no frills, cheaper alternative.
    I wouldn’t have thought they would win over many passenegers charging £1 on the S48/S50 and a completley different fare on the S49.

    I have a friend who is a real Speedwell cynic, dont ask me why but he just dosen’t like them and he’s been saying for a while now that there S50 is established they will put up the fare, but to be fare to them they haven’t, but a £1 flat fare to Oldham is a real bargain.

    Testing your memory again Stuart, im just wondering in the 90’s what was the average single fare on GM Buses 409 compared with Stott’s 398, lets say from Ashton to Oldham.



    1. Hi Felixfind,

      I would assume that the average fare on the 409 under GM Buses may well have been 90p in 1992. At that time, Pennine Blue and Bee Line were competing with GM Buses on that route.

      The 90p Stotts fare from Ashton to Oldham was Summer 1995. I was coming back from Oldham, and that was before I had a 16-19 Bus Pass. At that time, the GM Buses North fare was £1.20. It is now double that amount.

      Anyway, away from the buses: what is your contribution for the Epicurean Room 101?

      Bye for now,



  5. Well Stuart, there are lots of choices,

    Maybe a little obscure but Micro chips……..
    As a child of the 90’s everyone loved Microchips. They came in a little cardboard box, you popped them in the microwave for 4 mins and bobs your uncle. I wouldn’t dream of eating them now but i still see them in the freezer at the supermarket.

    When i was high school one of the big delights of the day was being able to leave school at lunch time and ‘fend for yourself’. This normally meant visiting the local chippy or butty shop, my favorite was always a Hollands meat and potato pie on a muffin with gravey from the chippy, ahhh the memory’s.


    1. Hi Felixfind,

      Glad to see you’ve have added one suggestion to the Crimes Against Food category. I do remember ‘Micro Chips’, and of course the imitators in the wake of McCain’s innovation.

      They used to have that ‘crisp-wrap’ type film at the bottom of the box to make the chips crispier. 3 minutes after cooking, they were either hard or limp. Some of the imitators were better than McCain’s ‘Micro Chips’; I used to get some crinkle cut ones from Snow City (now Heron opposite The Arcades) which were better yet half the price.

      Pie butties are a sometime necessary evil, and yes, there’s no whacking a Hollands Meat and Potato pie from the local chippy (oven baked or microwaved ones at home are a poor substitute). No doubt if you went to All Saints, you would have nipped to George’s chippy on Concord Way, or Mossops on Yew Tree Lane if you went to Duki High.

      I can murder a pie butty just now!

      Bye for now,



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