Pasty with that, gents?
Fortunately, they have a get-out clause, despite the apparent elevated risk of virus transmission: alcoholic drinks may be served, providing they accompany what alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson called a “substantial meal”. Just how “substantial” would that have to be? A rough and ready definition was not long in arriving.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick was invited to appear before the inquisition of LBC’s Gammon Emeritus Nick Ferrari this morning, and the station’s political editor Theo Usherwood noted the exchange. Asked “what’s a substantial meal?” Jenrick offered “It’s a main course rather than a packet of crisps or a plate of chips?”
Ferrari had another go. “A Cornish pasty?” Jenrick approved this message: “Yes, I think it could do. You could go to the restaurant and have a Cornish pasty for lunch”. He later qualified the choice say the pasty would have to come with a side salad or chips to qualify as a “substantial meal”. But the most substantial part is the Cornish pasty.
So whose food menu will enable them to get around the lockdown? First off, we need to agree on just how substantial a Cornish pasty is. The ideal way to assess this is to gauge how many calories it contains. And the Cornish pasty size that is more or less universal is that you can buy at your local Greggs. A Greggs Cornish pasty weighs in at 500 calories.
From here, it is not too difficult to see which of Bozo’s pals is going to avoid lockdown. As Rolf used to say, can you see who it is yet? To get a clear picture, all that is needed is to head along to the J D Wetherspoon website and bring up the food menu for your local outlet. For those of us in Crewe, where there isn’t one (long story, we had one but it had to close), that means the George Inn in nearby Sandbach.
What can we get on the Spoons menu that weighs in at at least 500 calories? Actually, rather a lot. Check out the “Small Plates” section: Nachos (627 calories), Topped chips with cheese, bacon and sour cream (1281 calories), Topped chips with curry sauce (1073 calories), Southern fried chicken strips (653 calories), Chicken wings (1289 calories).
Behold the new pub lockdown-busting benchmark
There aren’t any Cornish pasties, but there are burgers: all except the Skinny Chicken Burger with salad come in at over 1,000 calories. Pizza? You got it - every one comes in at way over 500 calories. Bangers and Mash? That’s 849 calories. Steak and Kidney Pud? That’ll be another 1261 calories. Fish and Chips? Every item way over 500 calories.
So there you have it: the “substantial meal” get-out clause means that rabid Brexiteer and less than charitable boss Tim Martin can carry on business as usual, even in the Liverpool City Region. For all other pubs in the area - stock up on the Cornish pasties, and anything else that weighs in at more than 500 calories. You too can have a get-out clause.
Never mind the virus, count those takings. What you will not read in the Tory press.
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