As should be manifestly obvious by now, I am a good, loyal and above all SELFLESS wife, wholly committed to making Mr Liz's life as pleasant as possible in every conceivable way*.
*if his wants, needs etc coincide with what I was planning to do anyway.
Take, for example, the way in which I have nobly adapted my own food tastes to accommodate his own, Northern-man preferences - I now don't mind a bit of a dabble with a tasty black pudding, and just last week I was to be found bravely forcing down large measures of whisky JUST so we could have something in common *swiftly deletes Liquorists' Whisky Trail post, in which I am to be found dancing aloft a table proclaiming the joys of Jack Daniels*.
This pretty much just leaves one last bastion to scale - the mighty fortress of the pork scratching. Now, I've never really understood the allure of this particular snack, although on the rare occasions Mr Liz spots a bag of scratchings behind a pub counter, his reaction is something akin to that of the small boy on the Disneyland advert who can't sleep because he's TOO EXCITED - imagine wide eyes, lots of sleeve tugging, plaintive cries of "look! look!" Even Scampi-flavoured Fries don't mesmerise him to quite the same extent.
The more cynical amongst you may suspect an ulterior motive in my sudden urge to tackle the world of the scratching; "why now?", you may be asking, or even perhaps "what's in it for you?" Well, nothing; it is a completely unrelated coincidence that on Friday May 18th Harvey Nichols Second Floor Restaurant (by some amazing fluke, one of my favourite places to eat) is hosting a three course "Pork Crackling Dinner" to celebrate the fact that the Food Shop now stocks Mr Trotter's Great British Pork Crackling - a joyous-looking bag of salty porcine goodness, on the front of which poses an imperious looking pig who clearly knows what a fine figure he cuts in his Union Jack waistcoat. This, presumably, is Mr Trotter himself, although whether he oversees the whole operation or is actually the one offering up bits of his own body for us to eat is not entirely clear.
The brains behind the brand, food writers Tom Parker Bowles and Matthew Fort, will be on hand to tell us more about the joys of scratching throughout the evening - I wish them luck, as I can envisage them battling against a tide of hungry boys who do not wish to learn ANYTHING about pork scratchings other than: where are my scratchings? can I have more scratchings? can I eat my wife's scratchings when she goes to the loo? haven't I seen you off the telly? why has that man got more scratchings than me? ad infinitum.
Head Chef Sam Everett has put together a lovely-sounding menu designed to showcase Mr Trotter's in all its glory - here's what's planned:
Black pudding, Mr Trotter’s Pork Scratching, herb salad (I already know which bit of this Mr Liz will be trying to make me swap in exchange for my scratching)
Confit pork belly, pig's cheek hash brown, Mr Trotter’s Pork Scratching
Mr Trotter’s Pork Scratching baked custard (I know it's wrong, but this one excites me greatly, not least for the hope that Manchester gets a taste for it and Greggs etc are forced to add bacon to their custard tarts)
Chocolate mousse, Maple granite.
Places cost £30 per head - see the website for more details of how to book. Frankly, if anything is going to convert me, it's this - a gorgeously refined dinner, flawlessly served by sleek, professional staff in the luxurious environment of the Second Floor Restaurant. If only I didn't know, in my heart of hearts, that I'm bound to end up leaving with a man whose pockets are stuffed to bursting with bags of Mr Trotter's to eat noisily on the night bus...