TRIPE & OTHER DELICACIES
This building is the Fisherman’s Hospital and dates from the earliest years of the 18th century. They were originally almshouses for aged fishermen. They make a picturesque view from the Market Place, which is my main subject matter in today’s post. (Note the white car is a Triumph GT6 and the red one a Simca 1000; the short skirt and long coat place this photograph firmly in the early 1970s.)
A visit to Yarmouth Market was a popular outing for my father and me in the early 1970s. The favourite time of year was autumn, because then you could buy Russet apples. They have remained my favourite apples, perhaps my favourite fruit. The trouble is that they are a seasonal fruit, being gone by soon after Christmas; perhaps even sooner. I don’t think that the strawberries (for example) that you can buy virtually the whole year round nowadays taste as good as the seasonal ones you used to buy in June.
Yarmouth market was good for other comestibles too. Chips and peas (mushy peas) were good of course, but you could get those in other places too. The tripe stall however sold things for which Yarmouth was namely if not exactly unique. Tripe itself is not my favourite piece of offal; it tastes too much like a cow’s stomach, which is what it is. Jot I cannot find any reference to on the internet, so I am unable to tell you what it was, but it was quite tasty. Udder is self explanatory. It was a bit fatty, but had a meaty flavour as well which made it quite appetising.
I think the tripe stall disappeared about 20 years ago. I don’t think I could eat its wares anymore being rather fond of less exotic fare, even vegetarian foods. But back in the 1970s I would try anything at least once. Brains, before we had heard of CJD, was a acceptable dish, although not exactly a common one. Brains are rather lacking in flavour as well as texture. I never ate any testicles, but I had pig’s head complete with tongue and ears. With the skull removed you could carve it perfectly easily. There is however rather a lot of work involved in preparing it, and moreover it is impossible to ignore the fact that you are eating a dead animal.
I am sorry if this post has made you feel a bit queasy, but heaven knows what you are eating when you tuck into your sausages at breakfast time. At least you know what you are eating when you buy offal (except jot of course). With the modern mechanically recovered meat you have no idea what enters your mouth.
There is much more to write about Great Yarmouth. The main direction this post has taken is gustatory, but I can also cover Yarmouth’s football pitch and the venerable grandstand that was built to the design of Boulton and Paul; the playing of the double bass at the Wellington Pier, or the column to Nelson that pre-dates the more famous column in Trafalgar Square. These things must await further posts. There are also the tales of the Golden Mile; I have walked along among the holiday makers and their hot dogs and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But I what I can add about the Golden Sands of Yarmouth beach must await a later blog.