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.