That staple of dessert goodness, the doughnut is round right. Everyone knows that. If a lost tribe was discovered in the Amazon jungle they would know little of modern life other than Kim Kardashian has a large posterior and doughnuts are round.
Only they aren’t as I have just discovered. Seems some adventurous blasphemers have been making them square.
Actually as it turns out, the French (It would be them) have been making something called a Beignet for quite a long time. Seems it’s made from something called Pets-de-nonne, which sounds exotic and enticing, until it is translated into the English of Nun’s Fart. Lovely, so they eat frogs, horses and nun powered flatulance.
They also spread to the new world, in some of those states with French culture such as Louisiana and New Orleans. Being French they will no doubt taste fabulous.
Actual Square Doughnuts
Like many things it is arguable who made doughnuts square. Heck, people still argue over who made them round and who added the hole. The Square Doughnut Co in Terre Haute claim that their founder Richard Comer Sr. started making them in 1967. This could be true, though no doubt their will be a plethora of other claiming to have been square first.
The one thing that was consistent at McDonalds was the food. All McDonalds served the same range of burgers, wraps etc. So where ever you go you have a familiar friendly menu right. Erm, no actually it isn’t. The fact is that McDonalds tailors many of its menus to suit the local market. There is no point for instance going heavy on the beef in India. Much of the population are Hindus who consider the cow a sacred animal. In fact in some parts of India it is illegal to sell beef. So lets look at some of the wonderful and weird McDonald burger options that you probably haven’t seen before.
This is the result of selling into a market that consider your main ingredient to be sacred. Well, not exactly the beef, but the cow that donated in. So in the Indian market, McD’s replaced the beef with chicken.
The Benedict Bagel
Take a strip of bacon, a slice of cheese, a nicely rounded egg, a lashing of Hollandaise sauce, and stick it inside a bagel. What you then have is a sort of eggs Benedict. Available in the New Zealand market.
Japanese Black Burger
If you want weird food then go to Japan. Between eating stuff that is raw, deadly, still alive, there is also stuff that is black. This Big Mac replacement is made using squid ink, to give it that look. Add some spicy sauce and cheese and you have something that looks like its crawled out of halloween. Of all the weird McDonald’s burgers, this is the wierdest.
Maine Lobster Roll
High end food like lobster isn’t something you normally associate with a low rent burger joint like McD’s. However in certain markets such as Maine, and indeed at one time in Italy, they have short term specials. One such example was the McLobster.
The McArabia, is available across the Arab world, and Pakistan. Two chicken patties, salad and tahini sauce, folded into a flat bread. To be fair it isn’t much different to a chicken sandwich, other than the choice of bread.
The McRice, available across the Philippines, pretty much starts out as a regular burger or chicken sandwich. Where it deviates, is in the bun. Or lack of a bun to be accurate. These are sandwiched between two slices of toasted rice.
Across some of its Asian markets, Maccy D’s have replaced the beef with shrimp. Not all the beef we hasten to add, they still sell burgers, but this is an additional line. Shrimp ground up and made into a pattie, sweet chilli sauce and a corn dusted bun.
Many people love burgers, and also love pizza. So our teutonic friends, with their world renowned efficiency, combined the two. A big mac inside a pizza bun.
If you fancy a trip to Thailand, you can indulge yourself in a pork samurai. As typical McDonalds fare such as beef isn’t as common in the country, they have switched to pork. Teriyaki sauce, lettuce and mayo completes the ensemble.
Another teutonic offering. Bratwurst sausages with mustard and onions. This one only had a brief run, but hey, nothing wrong with bratwurst.
Mashed Potato Burger
How do you improve on a Big Mac. Well, if you are part of the McDonald’s Chine team then the answer apparently, is topping it with a big dollop of mashed potato.
Our Dutch cousins came up with this concoction. A mixture of ground beef and cheese made into a fried patty. Then topped with mustard.
Another New Zealand special, the kiwiburger. A beef patty with an egg and beetroot slices.
Burger and Cheese
It would seem that our friends in Brazil are partial to cheese. Very partial. In fact your burger comes with a big tub of melted cheddar to dip into.
Crab Croquette Burger
Another entry from the land of the rising sun. This one is made from snow crab and mushrooms. Reports are it isn’t as nice as it sounds.
Cordon Bleu Burger
An entry from Poland. This one is ideal for those who can’t make their mind up. Beef, chicken and bacon.
From South Korea, comes the Bulgogi burger. A pork patty covered in sticky Bulgogi sauce a sweet, smoky, and slightly tangy concoction.
An Italian concoction, this must be the most appetizing looking piece of food ever. Did they use special software to remove all the colour from the picture? We love weird McDonalds, but not this one.
Dosa Masala Burger
A thin fermented rice and lentil pancake mixed with spicy potato. And drizzled with chutney mayo. It doesn’t really look appetizing, but the Indians must like it.
Three pieces of falafel garnished with tomatoes, lettuce, onion, pickles and topped with Tehina sauce served in a tortilla wrap.
Turkish kebabs in a flat bread. Where else, but Turkey. Another local delicacy that should be shared with the wider McDonalds family.
When you look there are some really weird McDonald’s offering out there.
A short case study about our support for the 100% Club scheme.
About 4 or 5 years ago we supplied a single ride, a Carousel to a school in Leeds. This carried on for about three years, until they suddenly expanded the booking and starting reserving multiple rides and catering.
It turns out that they were running a 100% club. Any kid that had a 100% attendance record for that term would be entitled to spend a period of time at the mini funfair they had booked.
Suddenly we started receiving requests from other schools for the exact same thing. Turns out they were all part of an academy group of schools. We now provide attractions regularly to something like 9 different schools. This ranges from the latest thrill rides to things like burger and chips.
Talking to some of the teachers, it seems that they had posted an increase in average attendance at the schools running the scheme.
The Health and Safety team at the schools were pretty fierce at the first events, and had us jumping through hoops. Gradually they seemed to relax a little and adopt an attitude of suggesting slight improvements where necessary, rather than making a big issue of it. I think the fact that we put so much effort into doing things right, coupled with us making changes as soon as they request them, helped a lot.
When worked the funfair circuit we needed a generator for powering our equipment. Well, we used four of them in fact. When we moved totally into corporate entertainment we made it a condition of the contract that the client provided power.
This work well for a number of years, as usually we were powering perhaps a candy floss and a popcorn machine, so at most a couple of 13 amp sockets were fine.
During covid we suddenly found our clients asking us to provide larger catering services, such as serving four thousand burgers for Amazon in four hours, though that is another tale lol.
We suddenly found ourselves needing sixty and seventy amp supplies. So to translate this into a format that made sense to the client we would specify that we needed like four 13 amp supplies. What would happen is that we would arrive at the venue, be handed a four way socket and told here are your four supplies. Trouble is, the four sockets joined into a single 13amp plug. And ‘Oh’ they would say, ‘your sharing with the DJ, pizza truck and rodeo bull!’
Great, we were gonna be pulling 100 amp from a single 13amp plug. So no power problems expected then.
To circumvent this, we ended up adding some generators to our line up.
This gave us the flexibility to power ourselves and some spare capacity to boot.
Initially we would fill them up from a local garage that sold red diesel. But even though it was only about 4 miles away, it was still a hassle to couple up and run down there for fuel. Additionally at the time it was about £1.40 a litre from them. The local diesel supplier quoted £0.82 a litre, which was a massive saving, but would only deliver a 1000 litres a time.
So we added a fuel bunker to take advantage of this. Other people we know had similar but owning for lift trucks, would simply lift them in the air to allow gravity to dispense the fuel. Not owning a fork lift, we added a battery powered system and a metered pump.
We installed the system in the yard and had it filled. Then had a think about security. Some people feel entitled to help themselves to whatever without legal niceties such as ownership being considered relevant.
So we set about fortifying our diesel. A wifi camera provided not only monitoring of the set up, but would automatically light up the area, sound an alarm and alert me at my phone that someone was at the bunker. We also added locks to the on/off valve, filling hole. and pump switch.
My daughter pointed out that the battery just being sat there was screaming take me take me. So we fitted a secured steel lock box with the battery inside. A jokey conversation with a friend who looked at the system ended with him saying I am surprised you haven’t electrified it.
Ha, cant do that someone might touch it accidentally. Ha, they might, ha ha that could be fun. Yeah lets do it.
The end result is that the system is now fitted with a similar energiser to what farmers use to keep cows in their field. To be fair, it is remotely controlled, and not left live all the time. But I can turn it on from anywhere in the world using my phone. We also added a solar charger to keep the whole shebang topped up.
Years gone by, animal menageries were a regular site on fairgrounds. Most people hadn’t seen exotic animals, so the chance to visit a sideshow with some of the more weird and wonderful inhabitants of our planet was a big draw.
By the time I was growing up on the funfair circuit, they had disappeared. The only one with anything exotic was Uncle Gilbert Chadwicks show that had mostly things like six legged sheep (dead and stuffed) and other weird things. It also had a monkey. An actual real live monkey called Joey.
Now some of the older kids would collect dead goldfish from the hook a duck stalls, and feed them to Joey. I was invited along one day to take part in this ritual. Unfortunately not being trained in the art of feeding monkeys, I held onto the fish a little too long, and Joey decided that the quickest way to his meal, was to bite me first to get me to let go.
I remember Colin, one of the bigger kids, giving me a drink of his shandy, as a sort of bribe to not tell my dad what had happened. Unfortunately walking in with blood streaming down my hand elicited a demand as to what had happened.
Cue a trip to the hospital. Which wouldn’t have been too bad, unfortunately we happened to be at Hartlepool at the time.
Now, if you don’t hail from the North East, then you might not be aware of the legend of the monkey hangers. That’s how locals are referred to by other denizens of the North East. The legend is, that during the Napoleonic wars. A French ship floundered off the coast of Hartlepool. Eventually being shipwrecked, the only survivor being the ships mascot which happened to be a monkey.
The monkey luckily survived and managed to make it to shore. Where unluckily it found itself in Hartlepool. The locals, never having met a Frenchman, arrested the unfortunate primate as an enemy combatant. They tried to question the monkey, which steadfastly refused to reply. Presumably being a French monkey it didn’t understand English.
After a short trial, where Monsieur Monkey refused to offer anything in his defence. They found him guilty of invading Hartlepool and sentenced him to immediate death by hanging. Perhaps if the poor sod had been fortunate enough to be shipwrecked somewhere civilised it might have had a longer lifespan. This one was more monkey killed than monkey killer.
Anyway, having been informed by dad that I had been bitten, the doctor understandably asked by what.
The answer of a monkey didn’t really go down to well, with the doctor being a local lad. After a second request for the breed of animal met with the same answer he became quite irate. Dad calmed him down and explained the situation. Seeing the funny side, I am sure the doctor repeated that story regularly on his coffee breaks. Anyway, a call to a specialist wid animal resource in London brought the reply that it should be treated the same way as a dog bite. A bloody big needle of anti tetanus, and a through clean and bandaging of the wound. So after all I survived the attack of the killer monkey.
We have pretty much always ran PSA group vans. Primarily Citroen Dispatches, and last year we added a Vauxhall Vivaro, same van, different badge. The Vauxhall was the LWB version which came in handy when transporting our gourmet burger units.
To be fair, they have been pretty reliable. Normally we swapped the oldest one in each year. Covid, mucked the system up, and we found ourselves needing three new vans.
Originally in 2021 we ordered a new Dispatch. It was going to be delivered for September. Then October, November December, January, and finally some time after March. At that point we cancelled it.
That turned out to be a mistake, since between ordering and cancelling it, the price had gone up some four grand, and the spec had been cut in half.
Everywhere we looked, they were quoting, pretty much indeterminate delivery times. Eventually I happened on a garage with a Vauxhall Vivaro, still at a reasonable spec, but a lot more expensive then we had been paying for vans. We added that to the fleet last March.
Roll around 2023 and the decision was made that we needed another two vans. Queue a look around our usual suppliers. What we found was that they had gone up another four grand since last year, while simultaneously the spec was cut again. So in effect, we would be paying more per van than the top of the range versions had been a couple of years ago. And for our money we would be getting something not much above the minimum spec.
Enter Nissan Primastar
To be honest, the cut in spec pissed me off as much as the jump in price, so I decided that maybe it was time to look around. Now that isn’t as easy as it sounds. Citroen, Peugeot, Fiat, Toyota and Vauxhall are all the same van. We hired a couple of Ford Custom’s one Christmas, and everyone refused to drive them, the handling was that poor. My experience with Mercedes vans, is that if you drive through a puddle of water they start to fall apart with rust within the week. VW transporters were liked, but just too bloody expensive for what you got.
Eventually we turned up at Nissan. The vans were a nice drive, slightly larger inside both the load area and the cabin than our previous vans which was a plus. Similar on fuel economy. Came with a shorter service interval than Citroen which is a bit crap, but were twenty per cent cheaper and came with a top of the range spec. they didn’t come with twin side loading doors as standard, but it was an option for only £280. So overall we decided to give them a chance and ordered two.
Have you heard the old wives rhyme, There was an old woman who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly, but no one knows where it came from or if its true… well a new one I heard this week was There was an old tree surgeon who swallowed a goldfish, I don’t know why he swallowed a goldfish.
The tree surgeon decided at a fun fair that he would
swallow his girlfirends prize fish that she had just won and wash it down with
half a pint. His girlfriend filmed the incident and then posted the video onto
social media primarily her snapchat story with the caption “He ate my fish”.
The snapchat video was a 14 second clip that showed the tree
surgeon holding the very real and live fish in his palm before he then put it
in his mouth and swallowed the fish and then taking a large swig of his beer.
At the end of the video you can then see him opening his
mouth to show the viewers that the fish has gone and he sticks his tongue out
to prove that he has swallowed the innocent live animal whole.
The video was filmed
in Bridgewater Carnival in Somerset in September. Once the video had been
shared it spread very fast and was then reported to the RSPCA by all the
The Tree Surgeon was named as Josh Coles from Devon. He was ordered to appear at Exeter Magistrates court where he then admitted to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a project animal, he initially denied the charge, but changed his plea to guilty to avoid the trial. The magistrate stated that the goldfish would have experienced stress and unnecessary suffering as it was eaten alive with no other outcome than dead.
He was fined £300 with an £85 victim surcharge. Considering the victim is now a deceased goldfish, it does beggar the question of who does the surcharge go to?
There was an old tree surgeon who swallowed a goldfish and then entered denial
Coles tried to deny
that any animal had been harmed and stated that it was just a stunt for social
media and he hadn’t swallowed it. He then claimed that the fish which had been
won at the fair was already half dead.
Fish are a traditional prize that can be won at the fair on many of the different game stalls. The fish usually come with a small plastic fish tank, stones and fish food. All fish that are won at the fairground have been properly looked after in the weeks leading up to the fair coming to town. The favoured prize by many of the kids who visit the fair love winning a pet. It is a horror that a grown adult would then find fun in this by swallowing it.
The outcome is that goldfish are now banned from being given out as prizes at Bridgewater fair. As just handing them out in plastic bags without any checks isn’t an acceptable way to do things. Strangely, having bought fish a number of times for our office aquarium, they have always been handed over in plastic bags without any checks in whether I have a suitable tank or know how to care for them.
Next up in our series of burger joints, is another American offering. The aptly names Fatburger, motto “The Last Great Hamburger Stand” .
Originally called Mr Fatburger, it was started by Lovie Yancey and her husband. When the couple split up, Yancey dropped the Mr from the name.
It remained pretty much a California based business, until the late 90’s when an expansion project was embarked upon across five Western States in the US, along with Canada, China, Pakistan, UAE and over a dozen other countries.
The chain was built up to 182 stores across the world. With some celebrity owners such as Kanye West, Pharrell and Montel Williams all owning franchises.
XXXL Triple Kingburger
The chain offers the usual burger chain fare of fries, burgers, onion rings and so on. Its top of the range offering is the XXXL Triple Kingburger. A 2050 calorie behemoth that is a heartattack in a bun with a full 1.5 pounds of beef.
We love burgers as much as the next guy, but really a full pound and a half. The equivalent to six quarterpounders, no wonder the USA has an obesity problem. This burger alone is almost a full days calorie intake no wonder they call them fatburger.
Only sadly it isn’t. Like many other industries at the minute, the funfair industry has ceased to exist. Everything on our planners through to the end of June are completely gone. With many events right up to December also cancelled. So it is going to be a long hard summer for the funfair hire industry.
To add insult to injury, the weather is some of the nicest anyone came remember in years for Easter.
Of course everyone is aware of the tradition of giving eggs for Easter. But have you ever thought why?
Easter is a Christian festival, and for Christians giving eggs symbolises new life. It is claimed this practice started with the early Christians of Mesopotamia who stained birds eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ.
There is also an association in Western Christians not being allowed to eat eggs during Lent, but allowed them at Easter.
A common practice in medieval England was for children to go door to door begging for eggs on the Saturday before Lent. These were handed out as special treats.
I remember during my youth going door to door. Many of the elder generation would give us hard boiled eggs that had been painted. The better of neighbours actually gave us chocolate. Many would also press a few coppers on us, when you were five or six years old, the few pounds you accrued made you think you were rich.
It wasn’t an exclusively Christian thing though. London’s British Museum contains some large ostrich eggs that have been carved and painted. These have been found in tombs. After investigation it is believed that eggs like this can date back upto 5000 years, well before the Christian religion. And decorated eggs upto 60,000 years old have been discovered in Africa.
J.S. Fry and sons of England introduced their first chocolate egg in 1873, closely followed by Cadbury’s in 1875. Cadbury’s created the modern egg with the introduction of pure cocoa butter that could be moulded into hollow egg shapes. Now upto 80 million chocolate eggs are consumed in the UK alone. It’s nice to see the steady move away from plastic packaging to more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Personally my favourite eggs are those produced by the Russian craftsman at Faberge for the last two Russian Tsars. Masterpieces of decorative art, many contain hidden surprises such as clockwork birds or miniature toys.
Hopefully at some point we will see the funfair industry start up again without too much of it disappearing,We are itching to get back on the road so you can hire dodgems and other rides from us.
Gourmet burgers are one of our main lines nowadays. Despite the campaigns for healthier heating, veganism etc, burgers are still massively popular.
Like most people I have made many a visit to the famous American chains over here, namely McDonalds and Burger King. In fact I am old enough to remember when Wimpy was a massive chain, and truth be told, what I remember of them, their burger was better than either of the USA behemoths.
However there are many other chains or ‘burger joints’ in the US of A. Non at the size of the main two, but some pretty big and expanding. Some of the smaller ones are nowhere near in size, but have massive public followings. We are gonna look at a few of these, their history and menu’s.
Our first contender is the quaintly named In-N-Out Burgers. First launched in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park California by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948. The original store was tiny, only some 10ft square. Harry would visit the local wholesalers each morning to pick out the freshest ingredients whilst his wife Esther would take care of the administration and bookkeeping.
The beef patties were made by hand fresh every morning, and quality was a watchword for them from the off.
Harry would work in his garage on a night, after long days of cooking burgers. Later in 1948 he put together a two way voice box allowing his customers to order food without even leaving their cars. This focus on drive through was a mainstay of the companies business model. In fact it wasn’t until restaurant No.21 in 1979 that they even had a sit down section to allow guests to consume their food on the premises.
By 1963 they had grown to the extant that they opened their own processing plant for the burgers, up till then Esther had prepared each patty using a hand press.
By the time Harry Snyder died in 1976, at the age of 63, the chain had grown to 18 restaurants.
Harry’s son 24-year-old Rich Snyder took the reins after his fathers death and expanded the chain rapidly, building the chain to 90 stores over the next 20 years.
Sadly in 1993 whilst returning from opening store No. 93 in Fresno, California, Rich died along with four other passengers when the light aircraft he was in crashed due to being caught in the wake turbulence of a larger aircraft that landed in front of them.
His brother Guy took over and aggressively expanded the company to over 140 locations in six years before dying from an overdose of painkillers.
Esther Snyder died in 2006 at the age of 86 whereupon the presidency passed to Mark Taylor, former VP of operations.
They launched their ‘Animal’ burger in 1961, where the beef pattie was fried in a thin layer of mustard, add extra pickles and grilled onions were added.
Their protein burger, dispenses with the bun and wraps the whole lot in lettuce, for a healthier option.
A real unusual one this, think of taking the burger out of the bun and , well and nothing. That’s what you get, two patties, two slices of cheese (well that yellow stuff the Americans claim is cheese), pickles salad and wrap it in a slice of paper. In N Out have many items on their secret menu. Not on display in the restaurants, but viewable on the website.
In n Out Burgers Crossed Palm Trees
The company tend to have a pair of crossed palm trees at the front of each location. This is allegedly in allusion to Harry Snyder’s favourite movie, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World.
In keeping with his Christian beliefs, many In n Out Burgers items such as the drinks cups have bible references printed on them.