Of the many different catering options we offer, the favourite amongst our own staff are our Barista coffee carts. We are all definitely coffee aficionados. In fact a funny anecdote is that the managing directors stubborn little sod daughter has overtaken the elders on the team and fast become the best barista much to the annoyance of her father. (The last paragraph was written by said stubborn little sod).
Over the years we have used a number of different coffee blends. To be truthful, the vast majority of people can’t really differentiate the subtle differences between many blends. Equally, most commercial blends are so similar in the beans they use and the roasting process that there isn’t really much of a difference anyway.
We decided to come up with a blend all of our own, obviously it needed to be commercial enough to please our clients, but equally we wanted it ’boutique’ enough to please us.
Small Boutique Roasters
After much searching we hit upon a company that was not only fairly local to us, but would work on producing a blend to suit our requirements. After taste testing a number of offerings we finally all agreed upon the ‘one’. Well, in this case it was the ‘three’, as a stubborn little sod on the firm wouldn’t agree to the majority choice, and it was felt that we should also offer a darker roast.
So can we introduce our new in house coffee blends, Steppenhengst, a Brazilian blend made with 100% Arabica beans (we have nothing against Robusta, but find that on the whole we prefer Arabica), this one has notes of Caramel, peanuts and chocolate.
Our second choice of coffee blend is the charmingly entitled HoofRot. Hey, one of the drawbacks of democracy is that we actually have to give other staff members a say in choosing names. This time its a Columbian roast (yes they grow rather good coffee, as well as other ahem stimulants), a nice blend of vanilla, butterscotch and chocolate notes, it tastes better than it sounds.
Our final concoction is one you don’t want to pronounce after over imbibing the alcohol. This one is a Robusta/Arabica blend, but a darker roast than the others. With notes of Toffee, Cocoa and spices this is a blend of Brazilian and Ethiopian beans, and a stronger tasting brew than the others. That could be the Robusta making its presence known or simply it being a darker roast.
Many people drift through life thinking Nescafe instant is the epitome of coffee evolution. Whilst other connoisseurs can tell you the origin of a bean from a single sip. An interesting theory evinced in a book from Stewart Lee Allen entitled Devil’s Cup postulates that the explosion in creativity and advancement of the human race can be attributed to the stimulant properties of the brew.
It provides an interesting take on the history and development of coffee throughout the ages. And indeed at one time coffee houses were hotbeds of intrigue, insurrection and business development. The famous Lloyds of London insurance company actually started in a coffee house. Coffee is a heck of a complex subject once you start delving beneath the surface of your usual instant/Starbucks or whatever blend. There is a vast range of blends, strengths, roasts etc. as well as some pretty way out coffees.
One of the stranger coffee blends out there. Little cat like creatures called civets eat the ripened coffee cherries. These are digested, stripping certain enzymes from the coffee bean during the process and then pooped out. These are collected and processed the usual way resulting in a coffee claimed to be almost chocolate like, with much of the usual bitterness removed. In honesty, having tasted it, I can attest to it being a fabulous tasting coffee.
What I would like to know though, is who exactly, whilst wandering the highlands of Indonesia, happened upon a pile of Civet shit, and thought I know, I will search through it to see if there is anything useful in there. And having noticed the undigested beans, promptly thought wow, I bet they are ever so tasty if I roast them and make coffee!
Monkey Spit Coffee
Another of the sounds disgusting, but supposedly tastes nice blends. Just as it sounds, the monkeys eat the cherries, then spit the beans out. Supposedly imparting a vanilla flavour to them. I am pretty dubious about this one, though never having tried it, it might well be true.
Pretty much the same idea as Kopi Luwak, only this time instead of little compact bundles of cat poop to search through, our intrepid producers need to sift through steaming mounds of elephant shit. Touted as the world’s most expensive coffee. Black Ivory is on our bucket list to taste, though at around £88 for enough beans to make 4 espresso’s, this is never going to be a regular option on our coffee carts, and might be relegated to the bucket list of strange things we fancy doing.
Thinking of all those suffering in conflict today.
Sometimes it’s hard coming up with a consistent stream of posts for blogs, Facebook, Instagram etc. Although we offer a wide range of catering services, eventually the images all begin to look the same. Sure we throw in some funny stories, anecdotes, news items etc. But it is hard to keep in front.
When we began the new rebrand of the business, we had a logo designed professionally. This turned out to be an anthropomorphic zebra, which we promptly christened ‘Ziggy’. Mainly because whilst we were arguing for a name, we happened to be watching a documentary on David Bowie, during his Ziggy Stardust period. We liked the name, so our hero was born.
We have just taken a new team member on, who is a professional artists. He will be adding stories to our blog posts, and undertaking some design work for us, and he will also be creating a comic strip starring our aforementioned hero Ziggy. This will probably be monthly, but if it is well received it could be more regular.
It will consist of short 4 panel strips. Many will be humorous stories, hey we like making people laugh. But it might well also contain news, commentary on current affairs, thoughts from us, basically a hodge podge of ideas, that hopefully will add a touch of fun to our blog service.
So visit us regularly and keep an eye out for “The Book Of Ziggy.”
Our new burger menu
Born from an egg on a mountain top, monkiest, mon…… erm no wait, thats the wrong legendary hero.
Monkey was a popular 1980’s Japanese TV show based on a 16th century Chinese novel. Noted for its dubbing, bad acting and crap prosthetic effects, it was so bad it was a cult hit.
Our here though, Ziggy, had a different birth. We liken it to the super soldier serum used on Steve Rogers to create Captain America. We took the best in anthropomorphic beings and supercharged him to create the Boda Zapha, the new look to our long standing catering company, the leader as we venture into our new incarnation of CRAZY & Co.
Ziggy Is Our Leader
As we move into a post pandemic phase, which has seen a massive increase in the work we are winning, Ziggy will be our main branding on our catering units, photo booths etc. With staff uniforms, vehicle branding, even a bi weekly comic strip starring our hero to spice up our social media.
We are able to trace our business activities back to a job entertaining Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Not any of the the current staff members you understand, but a few generations back.
Our long term catering business Candy Floss Crazy, has stood us in good stead for a number of years. However, time waits on no man. With a new generation of family taking more of an active role in the business, we were ‘informed’ that in the modern world, it isn’t sufficient to be good. To produce and serve first class food. Provide funky photo booths, or first rate funfair rides. It seems that nowadays we have to be more quirky, and edgy, even a little crazy. The sort of thing that is deemed ‘Instagrammable’.
So we are currently undergoing a major re-brand of the entire business. From our logo, to the food we serve, everything will be massively upgraded over the coming summer.
We had an idea for what we wanted as a logo. Something quirky, and a bit of fun. After a few brainstorming sessions we hit upon an anthropomorphic Zebra (a zebra’s head on a human body). We worked with a number of designers to draft some possibilities before hitting upon our final choice. Some of our favourite offerings are pictured below.
After much debate, we settled on the image below, which we have names Ziggy! One of the main reasons was the more minimalistic design of the head. We felt it was a little cleaner looking than many of the others we had been offered. It was also much easier to use in our vinyl cutters, or to create stencils for burning the design into wood etc. It’s intended to portray a funner, more ‘crazy’ take on our business activities. And why ‘Ziggy’. Well, when looking for a name for it, we just happened to be watching a documentary on David Bowie, and his Ziggy Stardust period. Just the right amount of crazy, coupled with ground breaking music to suit what we want to portray.
Ziggy will be making an appearance on many of our vehicles, carts, branded cups and consumables etc. And will play a major role in our upcoming events.
One of our most popular lines this summer has been the humble hamburger. Though perhaps humble is the wrong description given just how pervasive this simple dish is throughout much of the world. A staple of fast food establishments, and synonymous with American culture.
However have you ever given any thought to how we came to eat the dish and why it was called a hamburger.
Hamburg Germany Or USA
Like many things the origins are hotly disputed. The two main schools of thought are that the dish either came from the German city of Hamburg, or the good ole US of A.
The contender for the American side is that it was alternatively invented by Charlie Nagreen, Frank and Charles Menches, Oscar Weber Bilby, Fletcher Davis, or Louis Lassen, and with it being advertised in newspapers from New york to Hawaii since at least the 1890’s puts up a good claim.
The alternative argument postulates the invention of the Hamburgh Sausage in the Art Of Cookery Made Plain And Easy. A cookbook by Hannah Glasse published around 1747.
The burger gained national recognition throughout the States when they were offered at the 1904 St Louis World Fair, so it is an argument that will rumble on without conclusive proof for either claim.
One of the earliest nationwide (USA) vendors was White Castle chain based in Wichita Kansas. They launched a square beef patty called a slider, which had 5 holes in each patty to relieve the necessity for flipping the burger over to cook both sides.
Big Boy Burger
In 1937 Bob Wian created a double decker burger at his stand in California. It was called the Big Boy and would go on to become the name of his restaurant chain. They expanded nationally before gradually contracting, but a few do remain with the signature double deck hamburger.
Perhaps the most famous exponent of the burger world wide is the ubiquitous McDonalds. Originally established by the McDonalds brothers in 1940. The chain was eventually acquired by Ray Kroc who undertook a massive expansion which built the behemoth we know today.
Along with Burger King, McDonalds dominate the market in the UK and USA. A number of local chains put a brave showing on, they are all only bit players in the market.
Crazy & Co.
Of course if you are planning an event and need burgers you can always have the burgers come to you. We offer a nice line in 100% beef patties, with cheese, salad and a range of gourmet toppings, basted in our special orange and cognac sauce and served in a brioche bun. Great for small events such as weddings or parties. But equally scalable to serve upto 2000 guests at major corporate events.
Our crazy golf has been a big hit this season. We have however been inundated with requests for a more ‘wedding’ themed layout. We finally got around to putting together our initial wedding course for a client. Pictured here are our initial wedding crazy golf 9 holes. Like most things we will modify and adapt this at it evolves and we come up with better ideas.
Slalom the love letters, around the rotating wedding shoes, miss the stacked hearts and then into the birdcage. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The iconic symbol of love is the heart. And we have lots of them, in various shades. Throw in a bouquet or two and you have our second hole.
Hole 3…Ducks Of Love
Our classic rubber duck hole. Through the ducks of love, avoid the funfair shooting gallery ducks, then up the ramp and into the bath.
Hole 4…Let Them Eat Cake
An important part of the day. The wedding cake. A selection of cakes, with fun toppers.
Hole 5….Make A Wish
Through the wishing well, dodge the windmill, and into the hole. On a role now.
Hole 6…Diamond Geezer
Dodge the diamond solitaire. Loop the loop of the engagement ring, up the bridge and into the hole.
Hole 7…Lucky Horseshoes
Lots of luck here, horseshoes galore.
Hole 8…Can The Can
The classic wedding cans attached to the back of cars as the happy couple flee the scene.
Hole 9…Mr & Mrs
The final hurdle, through the wedding party of skittles, slalom the happy couple (Which can be Mr & Mr or Mrs & Mrs) and up the ramp to the finish. Bobs your Uncle.
Of course you don’t have to have our wedding crazy golf for your event. You can just as easily have one of our multi themed golf courses.
Another of our looks at some of the major funfair events throughout the UK. One of three fairs to carry the name ‘Goose Fair’. nottingham is the largest. The others being in Tavistock and Colyford East Devon.
History dates the event back to a royal charter in 1284 granted by King Edward I. Though fairs in Nottingham were thought to predate this. Originally taking place in September, it was moved to an October date in 1752 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.
It has taken place every year since then, save for 1646 when an outbreak of the bubonic plague stopped it, the two World wars, and obviously 2020 when the covid pandemic struck.
The creation of fairs by royal charter was a common occurrence in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. King Henry II had granted a charter for an annual Martinmas fair in Lenton Priory in November. This gave prominence to that event and prevented other fairs from competing with it. The 1284 charter giving Nottingham it’s own fair saw the event grow in size and prestige.
Records first mention the Goose Fair name in 1541, where it is referred to in borough records as ‘goosey fair day.’ The name comes from the thousands of geese driven from Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to be sold in Nottingham. Like many fairs it started as a trade fair, for the sale of livestock, geese and most famously its high quality cheese. At this time it was based in the Old Market Square.
In common with other events of the nature, side shows and other entertainment was added to the event, gradually diminishing the trade element. As shops evolved and transport links increased, annual events like this were no longer a necessity to stock up the larder. The dawn of steam and mechanisation saw rides being added to the event. The traditional carousels, switchbacks, gondola rides and animal manageries gradually increasing in mumber.
As the event spread out it overwhelmed the market square and began to cause problems with congestion, not helped by the increase in traffic through the town centre. The decision as taken to move the event in 1928 to the Forest Recreation ground. A move resisted by the showmen, but in the event proving ideal, being twice the size of the market square.
Held annually on the recreation ground for five days, it boasts over five hundred attractions. Everything from traditional carousels to the latest white knuckle thrill attractions.
The roundabout on the approach to the fair is notable for its giant fibreglass goose called ‘Goosey’ which appears in the run up to the fair taking place. The Lord Mayor opens the event with the ringing of a pair of silver bells. Still a massively popular event attracting over 500,000 visitors annually the fair has an excellent record as regards safety and trouble happening.
Over the years fairgrounds have been the showcase for many new technologies. Moving pictures and electric light to name just two.
There has also been a darker side with many weird exhibits around the world. From two headed sheep, to woman who were allegedly half human half snake. Some of these ‘freaks’ as they were commonly termed were the result of medical conditions (not the half snake woman obviously). But tragic cases such as wolf girls, who in reality were suffering from hypertrichosis, a disease that causes excessive hair growth all over the body. Or young midgets that were dressed to look much older, then billed as living dolls.
Of course there were others such as the infamous ‘Hairy Mary’, from Borneo, rather than finding an unlucky individual with a medical condition, the sideshow proprietor took the liberty of dressing a monkey in clothes instead.
Like most showmen of the modern era, I am too young to remember any of these, with ‘freak’ shows being something that society of today wouldn’t accept. I just about remember a show that did the rounds when I was a kid, but their freaks owed more to plasticine, than medical conditions or divine intervention. However I was aware of their existence. Like many things ranging from gladiatorial arena’s to some of the more gruesome forms of punishment, as society became more civilised they gradually fell out of favour.
There was however an exhibit, or indeed series of exhibits, that I was until recently unaware of. These were Infantoriums, actual rooms full of premature babies, in incubators, that people were charged to come in and view.
Now on the surface, this is something that will produce a reaction ranging from disgust to downright outrage. BUT, it needs looking at from the perspective of society and medicine in those days. In actuality, these ‘sideshows’ were responsible for saving a number of babies. Quite a number in fact, estimated to be in the thousands.
At one time premature babies were viewed as weaklings that wouldn’t survive, and therefore were not worth expending medical services on.
Incubators had been used previously, in zoo’s for baby chicks. A French obstetrician, called Stéphane Tarnier took the basic technology and adapted it for medical use. Sadly they were not widely used, due to the medical professions aforementioned apathy towards the survival of prematurely born children.
Pierre Budin, a French physician began to conduct research around the technology, but ran into continue roadblocks from his colleagues. In 1896 he took an example of his work to the Berlin World’s Fair. At that time the expositions, and World’s Fairs, were not just centres of entertainment and amazing fairground rides, but also showcases for the latest technological innovations.
As serendipity would have it, a German man, Martin Couney, happened upon an exhibit of 6 premature babies that had been borrowed from a Berlin hospital and placed in the incubator. He realised that not only would people pay to see babies exhibited this way, but it could also save lives.
It turns out that the hero of our tale had actually had a daughter born prematurely, so he had an especial interest in helping such children.
In it’s heyday, the amusement parks and beach at Coney Island hosted thousands of visitors. In 1903 a new exhibit was added. Well, two of them in fact, at the Luna Park and Dreamland amusement parks. These were the Infantoriums. Premature babies were looked after by medical nurses, whilst the public flocked to see the show. Outside carnival barkers would drum up trade, and lure punters in to see the tiny babies dressed as dolls.
Like I mentioned, it sounds rather distasteful at first glance, but the money earnt was reinvested to help premature kids and no charge was made for taking in the babies for treatment. The exhibits actually ran for decades, with the Coney island shows closing down in the mid 1940’s, not because they were no longer popular, but because by that time hospitals had actually caught up with Dr Couney and started to install incubators of their own. It was claimed that the success rate for saving babies in the show was around 85%.
So, weird as it was, an lot of people alive today can trace their survival back to an ancestor in a fairground sideshow and the amazing Dr Couney.