The other day I happened upon a list of the top 10 ‘most feared’ foods and was mildly amazed to find that I really like all of them.
This list isn’t measuring food we don’t really fancy, but food which is feared.
Oysters top the list. No real surprise there. And fish generally give us the heebie jeebies in the shape of anchovies, shellfish, fish on the bone... and the darkly sinister ‘fish with eyes.’
Offal is in there at third, and liver at seven.
But how could meat ‘cooked rare’ and blue cheese appear at four and six respectively? Those two alone are a great night out.
And I’m baffled why a gherkin should worry anyone. It comes in at 10.
Anyway, it was pondering all this fishiness which brought to mind my favourite starter of the last few years, a kedgeree curry at The Original Farmer’s Arms.
Seated there recently with two of those placed before us we discover my favourite has had an upgrade.
Previously the round of kedgeree had been placed into the mild curry sauce.
Now the round is bigger and the sauce, a more distinct spicier version, has been integrated into the other ingredients which include smoked haddock, salmon and prawns.
It’s so good it should be a main course option.For those we choose rack of lamb and Oriental salmon.
Three separate lamb cutlets and a rack of three arrive. They are cooked a less frightening medium, packed with flavour and yield to my serrated knife with ease: mash as requested; a pot of dark gravy; a dish of crisp cauliflower, carrots and thinly cut cabbage.
The salmon is succulent, and hints of the Orient are brought out in a fragrantly spiced sauce which comprises noodles, onions and peppers.
We equipped ourselves with hand-pumped beer in the shape of Wainwright and Prospect to aid digestion, although in truth little help was needed.
The range of food at the Farmer’s Arms is impressive. You need have no fear of fear at being limited to any variants of that top 10.
So it is with desserts. Still under strict instructions not to choose sticky toffee pudding again, the assistant grudgingly accepts that it really is not on to try three different puddings and so goes for tiramisu.
It comes in a tall glass, is sumptuous, loaded with thick cream and lacks only a sundae-style thin spoon which would have better enabled the earlier tasting of the liqueur-soaked sponge at the bottom.
Anticipating a light-as-air cheesecake, my warm zesty lemon pudding turns out to be a sticky pudding of more solid appearance.
That, however, is a clever deception because it’s light and fluffy, and I manage to maximise ooziness by allowing the willing sponge to soak up my chosen cool pouring cream.
Some of these skills just come naturally. Or, as a result of a happy childhood.
The researchers who put together the top 10 report suggest that many fears result from linking certain foods with stress or anxiety experienced as a child.
Mine must have been happy days indeed.
The bill: £53.
Name: The Original Farmer’s Arms
Address: Towngate, Eccleston
Contact: 01257 451594
Details: Restaurant open seven days a week, noon to 9.30pm.
Wheelchair access: Yes, with step up to dining area