Scampi in a basketcase

People rarely serve food in baskets these days.  Is there a world shortage of baskets?  Is eating from a basket one of the ways to catch consumption?  Were there outcries from the World Scampi & Chicken Protection Society?

Every Friday night, during the ‘70s, after choir practice (this isn’t a joke), we would go to a pub on Wandsworth Common, where I would pad out half a pint of lager and lime for several hours and eat chicken or scampi and chips out of a basket.

During the evening the Salvation Army would enter and flog the customers War Cry; the more drunk were enrolled and would find themselves playing a tambourine the following Sunday.

Friday night was complete: meal in a basket; lukewarm beer and a crossword puzzle to do where most of the answers were Biblical characters.  Having sung about most of them earlier in the evening, I had a distinct advantage.

But the basket gave it its own magical flavour – like hot chocolate after you’ve gone swimming or been rescued after several weeks down a pothole.  

I would often wonder, during Sunday dinner, why the most chipped plates in the world were brought out and the food not served in a basket?  I guess gravy could have proved messy had the weaving not been as tight as it should be.

One day, they stopped serving food in baskets.  I went up to the bar and said, “Basket?”.  I was banned for a month.

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