Last month we ran a ridiculously tasty pub snack making workshop with our very favourite local chef - handsome Sam Buckley. Sam is a very busy man at the moment as he is in the middle of building his first restaurant. Follow his progress here on Instagram. His passion for food combined with his have-a-go, DIY ethos makes him a perfect collaborator for The Pilcrow. Sam has taken some time out from demolishing walls and refining recipes to bring us this guest blog post.
The Pilcrow is an all-inclusive community venture. By its very nature it brings together groups of people that, through discussion and creation, ascertain the values and functions of a traditional public house.
This has been achieved through a series of workshops ran by craftspeople from the community, each choreographed around the question “How does the traditional pub serve its immediate community, and what does this look like?”
These workshops represent a perfect interpretation of their final outcome. For me the pub brings together a community of people to share the passing of time. Under this covenant the people involved will enjoy the intoxication of both alcohol and conversation.
But when the mouth is not full of words or ale, surely it should be full of tang and crunch.
The benevolent pint falls short of cultural icon without the allied bar snack by its side. The statutory blast of salt gallantly ready to balance the taste buds after each frothy slurp. And in turn, like a pair of naughty kids egging each other on, the salty hit encourages the re-balancing of the palate with another mealy glug.
The importance of the bar snack doesn’t just lie in its complimentary pairing with alcohol but also acts as a kind of bond in the centre of the table of inebriated debate.
Be it the peanut, potato crisp or popcorn, jerky or crisped hide of a hog, the table just doesn’t look right without the presence of a ripped foil bag at the centre displaying a trove of shimmering golden goodies.
The drink in the vessel may differ from patron to patron. Likewise (and often due to that choice) the opinion will also change from drinker to drinker, but that ripped foil bag in the middle of the table is shared by all.
It is the unification; the much needed social common ground.
We ran a workshop at the Trove bakery headquarters and for a sunny Saturday morning involved ourselves with the development of this ‘tang and crunch’, its role in a good pub session and the endless possibilities it possesses in regards to flavour and texture.
We gathered round a table overflowing with a multitude of dehydrated flavours and created our own compounds to sprinkle over potato crisps and aerated pork rinds.
Some of the flavours were radical - such as the ‘Nepalese timur and zesty orange’ – whilst others harnessed old pub favourites such as the ‘Chicken Pie’ and others ushered in refreshing ideas from other cultures like the ‘Sticky Pork Belly with anise’.
For a lovely few hours we were unified through experimenting with an intrinsic aspect of pub life. We were, of course, obliged to sample our creations with ale from Cloudwater and our other favourite Manchester breweries.
So I hope soon our creations will join you round a table at The Pilcrow to be the common bond in an otherwise suitably chaotic session of good time drinking.
- SAM BUCKLEY