It had been a long time since I’d had a sandwich. Too long, in fact. Lady Frippington-Tenses had taken to serving squid-ink foam filo bundles at teatime and though the flavor melded with the lapsang souchong in a marvelous fashion, it did not leave a body too well sated. I instructed my driver, Boris, to stop at the next pub. He growled something unintelligible while clearing his throat. It sounded a bit like my pet pig Priscilla with that squeaky water sucking down the drain noise. He then finished his sentence with a loud angry sneeze at me, in his usual menacing way.
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Branston, P.I.
Being a private eye can have its privileges, and Boris was one of mine. My qualifications for this job did not come easily. My full title is Branston, P.I. (C.K.L.E.) My degree is as Certified Kitchen-Lounge-about Eater. The degree of course merely assists me in proving my qualifications. I am exceedingly good at what I do. I eat my way through my cases, solving them all as a mere aside to the dining. But you can call me Kitty.
Boris came along with the car when I bought it. He’d been trying to sell it for dog’s ages, asking far beyond its worth. Nobody could even find the parts for 1956 T-Birds anymore. My deep interest in the car, as well as the fact that I was toting along a pan of fresh-baked lasagna as I inspected it with a bag of chocolate chip cookies dangling ever-so-discreetly from my arm, seemed to open this large morose fellow up a bit. He offered to sell it to me for half of his asking price, if I would let him be my driver. I didn’t need a driver, but he was ornamental and free. How could I say no to that? So Boris and I had traveled together through all my cases from that moment on.
There was the pub! It was The Famous Bull, right there at the Famous Cock Hotel. It looked more like a Burger King but that’s progress for you. Boris and I both leaned forward in our seats as we puttered up to the entrance, so eager were we to discover what clues it held for us inside. An intense aroma came out and almost swatted both our faces as we opened the door to the pub. It reminded me of what Aunty Peregrine (who was born and raised in Louisiana) used to drawl out whenever we ate Hot Eel Pies together those lucky times she was sober enough to form words and I was sober enough to hear her: “Tastes so good it makes your tongue wanna jump up and slap your face!” I knew that aroma, and knew what it meant.
Burgers. It meant burgers. And there’s nothing better that that when one wants a sandwich badly.
Some may not call a burger a sandwich but I do. Just a little sandwich for lunch! I trill out merrily whenever the opportunity presents itself then head wherever I can to get one of those big chunks of meaty goodness set before me. Now comes the mysterious part.
The mystery is why nobody in the US of A knows that burgers are better with Branston. Pickle. I like my burgers with Branston on top.
Let’s go to Wiki and see what they say.
Branston Pickle is sweet and spicy with a chutney-like consistency, containing small chunks of vegetables in a thick brown sticky sauce. It is commonly served as part of a ploughman’s lunch, a once common menu item in British pubs. It is also frequently combined with cheddar cheese in sandwiches, and most sandwich shops in the UK offer “cheese and pickle” as an option. It is available in the standard ‘chunky’ version, though there is also a ‘sandwich’ variety, where the vegetable chunks are smaller and easier to spread.
Cheese and pickle is good, yes. And all fictional detectives traveling through England must eat cheese and pickle as a matter of honor. But if you can, get thee to the grocers and pick up some pickle (Branston). And try it on a burger.
As a P.I., and as a C.K.L.E. also I can tell you: When eating Branston-on-Burger you will not have to close your eyes and think of England.