Pub Life: the Irresistible Appeal of Pork Scratchings

Pork scratchings on a pub table.

The garden of a Cornish pub on a sunny afternoon in May.

Two men, probably father and son, buy pints of lager and take a table. They sit waiting for someone, checking their messages, peering up and down the street.

After 15 minutes or so their friend arrives. Everyone shakes hands and express their delight at seeing each other. The newcomer dishes out gifts one at a time — cans of Mythos lager, ouzo, olive oil, and more. He is, of course, Greek.

His hosts offer him something in return: a pork scratching from the open packet on the table. He looks disgusted and prods with his finger, peering at the text on the packaging.

‘What is this? Oh, God, no! No!’

The locals shrug and keep picking at the pile of hairy curls in the cellophane wrapper. Eventually, perhaps absentmindedly, the Greek guest does the same. A look passes over his face. His hand dips back into the bag.

After a few minutes he goes to buy a round of drinks. When he returns, performing the traditional three-pint grip, there are two fresh packets of pork scratchings snared between his teeth.

Resistance is futile.

5 thoughts on “Pub Life: the Irresistible Appeal of Pork Scratchings”

  1. Scratchings are very good, but probably only the top 20% are acceptable. I am probably more picky about scratchings than I am about beer….

  2. It’s a source of perpetual shame to me that I don’t really like pork scratchings… I always feel like I’ll be summarily barred if people find out.

  3. I once accidentally visited a pork scratchings factory. It really ought to have been enough to put me off them for life, but I still adore them.

  4. There is something disgusting about the process of making them, but also magical about how it’s so easy to forget about that and enjoy the unique flavour and total Britishness of the pork scratching. Even as a vegetarian nowadays I can still appreciate that they tasted pretty darn good, even if I’m not such a fan of the origin story.

  5. What the bloody hell is wrong with scratchings? They are delicious and nutricious, heh.

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