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.