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Bath Chaps no longer exist

Sure and it’s trivial.

Bath Chaps were a form of ham made from the cheek of the pig.

I know where to get cheek of pig made into kebabs, stews and so on – they’re an Algarvian specialty (much of that Jabugo dried ham is made from pigs raised in Portugal, the P get to eat all the interesting non-leg bits).

I know of a couple of places where I can get ham – English-style ham – made from pig cheeks. But Bath Chaps included a slice of the tongue as part of the sandwich of the ham. They are now no longer made.

The meat counter in the Guildhall market was the last place I knew of that sold them retail. Asked today – nope, the butcher (in Bristol) who used to make them has retired. They’ve hunted high and low to find someone – anyone – who still makes them. Nope.

Yes, sure, Bath Chaps were clearly not to all tastes as if they were then 50 people would be selling them in Sainsbury’s.

And yet, even while accepting the death, possible to still mourn it. One of those different little ways of turning scrag end of pig into a local specialty has bitten the dust, never to return.

Vale, etc, etc.

One – odd, I admit, and yet useful all the same – mapping of where market towns were has been done by tracking sausage recipes. An area that used largely the same recipe was assumed to be the hinterland of the same market town. Because sausages are the scrag ends of the local protein. Of course, that’s not a perfect method, but it did turn out, to the mappers’ surprise, to be a good predictor of what was the hinterland of where. Could be knowledge, could be supplies, could be just tastes locally bolstered, but a good predictor all the same.

Lord alone knows what made Bathonians, uniquely as far as anyone knows, put a slice of tongue into a cheek ham but they did. And now no one does.

Yes, shrug, and yet, umm, pity.

13 thoughts on “Bath Chaps no longer exist”

  1. That is is a shame – they used to be on the menu at the Garrick’s Head with a salsa verde and jolly nice they were too

  2. Of course in Spuds planned economy the butchers would be compelled to make them even if that meant the good people of Bath would also be required to consume them. As it is the markets have decided that their value was minimal, and so, for now they have gone.

  3. “sausages are the scrag ends of the local protein”

    I was astonished to find recently that my wife grew up in an area where beef sausages were unknown. So astonished that I am indulging myself by repeating the story here.

  4. Cow’s udders used to be a delicacy. Nowhere to be found these days, unless in a hamburger.
    We’ve really made a pig’s ear of the food chain.

  5. I remember a tripe shop in Bacup in the 60s, and a little Googling brought up UCP which I had forgotten. It was a chain of shops & restaurants in & around Lancashire selling the unfashionable bits of cow. Not to my taste at all but apparently popular then.

  6. Another sign of getting richer. Fewer people want to eat the non-prime meats.
    Indeed. I’ve been finding it getting increasingly harder to find things like lambs hearts & liver. Even here in a recently poor country where you’d expect the taste for these sort of things to have survived. Although I do wonder if they’re being soaked up by the demand to feed the production of all these processed meat products people seem to go for.
    Although I was surprised when I eventually worked out a translation for beef suet & tried it on the butcher, to find out they chuck the stuff in the bin. He gave me 3 kilos gratis.

  7. Our butcher in Texas had wagyu suet and sold it at a couple of dollars a pound. He didn’t know what it was for. To make a steak and kidney pudding for our mystified neighbours we had to go to a Hispanic carniceria, the American butcher did no offal of any kind.

  8. That’s odd, BiS, as I’ve always seen the Spanish as nose to tail eaters – in the case of sucking pig (and lamb and kid), quite literally so.

    Liver is readily available in the UK and £1 of lambs liver from M&S will feed two to excess and four at a stretch. And it’s haggis season so the lungs don’t go to waste, either 🙂

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