Much like a local dive bar who obeys liquor laws by keeping a dusty package of Miss Vickie’s behind the counter, UK pubs are getting creative in order to reopen after the end of their most recent lockdown. According to the law, a pub must be able to serve a “substantial meal” along with the pints of cask ale that form the usual menu. The trick is, many of these establishments don’t have kitchens, instead of serving light, cold foods or bar snacks, which means they must stay closed. This is bad news for the livelihoods of the folks who run these quintessentially British establishments.
To help their publican constituents, Conservative ministers are attempting to define the classic pub nosh, the scotch egg, as an official “substantial meal.” As a result, manufacturers of the sausage-and-breadcrumb-covered soft-boiled eggs are struggling to keep up with the sudden demand. In some markets, ten times the usual number of orders are coming in as the debate rages on. From The Guardian:
“[Gourmet scotch egg company] Happy Belly normally produces about 10,000 scotch eggs a week, said [owner Brendan] Baury. This week he has made 15,000 following a huge increase in enquiries from new customers, particularly kitchenless pubs. […]
Images and repeated discussions about scotch eggs on the news have also helped to drive up sales by putting the old-fashioned delicacy front and centre of people’s minds this week, according to Peter Nutt, who runs Nutts Scotch Eggs in Weston-super-Mare. ‘I think there was subliminal advertising going on. If you hear the phrase “scotch egg” mentioned enough times, it gets into your consciousness.’”
There’s a lot of fun British food out there; I’m glad this unique local snack is rising above the rest and bringing home the bacon for the UK’s small businesses. Whether or not this nosh qualifies as a “meal” is just semantics!