Season 2010-2011F.COOKE; 9 Broadway Market, London Fields
(4 pts)
(4 pts)
(3 pts)
(2 pts)
(1 pts)
NICK EVANS4131012076
DAVID ARKELL2440043662
LEN WILCOCK1054023434
RON COX2021011228
TERRY CECIL1131032222
SCOTT CECIL1032022020
JASON SHARP1021111414
BEN HAYES1021011212
PAUL GRICE1021011212
ALAN SMITH11000044

On 26th November, pies were had at F. Cooke of the Broadway Market. It's a little over three years ago since the club last visited the area and it remains a lively mix of the down-to-earth, the quaint and the upwardly mobile. Or just mobile.

We had been contacted by a TV crew doing a piece for the 'Great British Menu' on BBC2. One of the intrepid combatants, plucky Phil Thompson of Dagenham origin, is proposing a menu based on the traditional London dish.

Seen here composing a close encounter of the pastry kind is the director, also known as Nick and as follically challenged as yours truly. Just like the movies, my entrance into the shop was repeated several times, and everyone's hand was well shaken by the time I was 'wired for sound'.

It was a starry turnout featuring the cream of pie and mash society, all of whom were only too pleased to offer opinion and advice to the programme makers.

Dave Arkell was in monster form with his low-carb accumulator, a 'double double' or four eels, four pies, four liquor. Sparring partner Len Wilcock was also 'at large' with a five pie and four mash combo which catapulted him into joint third place. Was it any coincidence that he sat next a picture of 'A. Danahar - the Gamest Light Weight in England'? Will Len ever live down the small pies scandal of last season?

Incidentally, Arthur Danahar's classic bout against Eric Boon in 1939 was the first fight to be shown at a cinema . . . and the first British boxing title to be televised. So it was apt that the club's premier pie-gilists should have their three minutes of fame. Of note, but not illustrated, is Jason Sharp, the only one who plumped for pudding on the day. He described it as 'a pie filled with fruit'.

Young historian Ben X. Hayes, had cycled up from his office in Farringdon to join us for a slice of living history. The lad might have a large plate of stodge in front of him, but his carbon footprint is positively diaphonous.

By stark contrast, the jovial Ron Cox arrived in a taxi. The pin striped one knows a thing or two about risk, so there was no way he was going to put his lunch hour at the mercy of London Transport.

Some sartorial moments with the Cecils. Scott opted for tasteful tones, with the merest hint of school uniform offset by button down collar and a bright grey necktie. Terry's electric blue cravat was an optrex eye bath for sore eyes, but on the telly it would probably be invisible.

Brian Catchpole was seen to look serious for a moment or two. It didn't last. Here he is, resting between courses.

Gricey enjoyed his grub, honest.

After lunch came the business of the day, which was getting 3 minutes of film in the can, so we all had to sign on the dotted line.

Nikki Baker, spirited researcher for the Great British Menu, digs into some jellies. But I never did get to the bottom of whether she got to the bottom of that bowl.

The crew, with chef Phil Thompson far right. They really do look like they belong on telly don't they?

Phil fulfilled his role as interviewer manfully, considering that he was surrounded by the some of the stoutest intellects that the Pie and Mash Club can dish up. Needless to say Len Wilcock was in full pomp, and searching questions were asked of the courageous cook's quest to put a new spin on Pie and Mash. Can it be done? We'll just have to wait and see. If he wishes to impress in this league, he's going to have to do better than a one, one and one, but we wish him well for the sake of a noble cause.

These are the heroes of the day. Bobby Cooke catered to the every foible of the film crew with saintly forbearance, whilst flour-dusted Eddy kept up a steady flow of pies.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Big Al Smith and Jill Cropper, loyal associates of the League, were tucking into smoked eel . . . somewhere in Japan. Al had given me advance warning that they couldn't be with us on the day, but wished to dine 'with us remotely' and here is the pictorial evidence. As a former eel-handler, Al certainly knows how to handle a slippery customer, and I am going to award him and Jill 4 points each for enterprise and endeavour.

The next arrival at London Fields Station is Winter.