Dear club members, This is just a note from your chairman to say that your vote to change the set lunch on Thursdays from spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce to roast beef and roast potatoes with gravy has come as something of a surprise to the committee. As you know, our recommendation was to stick with the former choice. But I would like to assure you that the change will nonetheless be made in an orderly fashion and will keep you up to date with preparatory steps via a new blog I have set up. CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ONE Dear members, the head chef has announced that he is not willing to prepare the new dish and has resigned forthwith. I am pleased to say however that the sous chef has announced she will oversee the introduction of the new menu, despite having campaigned to keep the old one. CHAIRMAN’S BLOG TWO Dear members, it has been some months now since the club referendum on Thursday lunches. Some members have apparently being claiming that “nothing has changed” and that the committee is on a go-slow when it comes to implementing the wishes of the membership. I would like to assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Under our new head chef (formerly sous chef) we are undertaking a whole host of preparatory steps to ensure a smooth changeover to roast beef takes place, as mandated by you. CHAIRMAN’S BLOG THREE Dear members, I am delighted to inform you that a supplier of roast beef for Thursdays has now been found. Chef tells me that at least for an initial period she will be serving up the beef minced and compressed into “patties” (small, disc-shaped parcels). It will still be authentically roasted and therefore completely in the spirit of the vote of last June. CHAIRMAN’S BLOG FOUR Dear members, the pace of preparation for “roast beef day” is accelerating. We have reached a preliminary agreement with a gravy supplier. The particular type of gravy that Chef has opted for will contain “base notes” of tomato but in a liquid form and colour palette that is very much in the tradition of English gravy, albeit at the redder end of the spectrum. This exciting development will, I hope, quieten the few cynical voices within the membership who have been once more casting doubt on the committee’s readiness to change the menu. Your wishes are our command! CHAIRMAN’S BLOG FIVE Dear members, when it comes to such a complex affair as changing a long-standing set lunch, there are always going to have to be compromises. We have had the most terrible difficulties attempting to reach agreement with a supplier of potatoes and therefore have instead reached a preliminary agreement with a pasta producer to deliver a brand new product that is infused with roast potato flavours. The product will come in long and thin strands as that is the form most compatible with our supplier’s equipment and will be known as “pasta patata rostini” (PPR). The committee has already attended a tasting and was very impressed. Even the members who were originally most opposed to changing the menu at all were won round. There is a “backstop” option of making PPR a permanent choice. Needless to say, I do not anticipate this is the path we will need to go down as we are still working hard to source a suitable potato supplier. CHAIRMAN’S BLOG SIX Dear members, I am glad to pass on this note from Chef: “Trust me to deliver what you asked me to deliver and please do not pay any attention to ill-informed carping from a minority of professional grumblers in the smoking room. We have been working hard in the kitchen on our new Thursday set main course. I am delighted to announce that our roast beef patties will come in a distinctive “oval” shape which has been found to best retain flavour. Our gravy will have base notes of tomato and basil and be known within the premises of the club as ‘English red gravy’. And our PPR roast potato element is now cooking to perfection. I thank you for your forbearance in these matters.” CHAIRMAN’S BLOG SEVEN Dear members, the great day is at last upon us! I very much look forward to your feedback after tomorrow’s inaugural serving of roast beef, roast potatoes and gravy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Chef and all her staff for their magnificent attention to detail and resilience during these most onerous preparations. CHAIRMAN’S BLOG EIGHT Dear members, I must confess to being profoundly disappointed at the reaction of many of you to the new menu. To those cynics claiming “it tastes no different to what we had before”, I can only say you need to get up to date with the new world of branding and other frightfully clever 21st century ideas that will keep the wolf from our collective doors. Several members told me: “I will never trust a word you say again”, one called me “Mr Meat Balls-Up” and another even picked me up by the lapels and pinned me to the coffee room wall. I can only put this behaviour down to the hot weather and hope tempers have cooled by next Thursday’s second run at it. By then, however, you will be looking for a new chairman because I have informed the committee that I no longer feel welcome in the public areas of the club and therefore must tender my resignation. I hope in future years you will come to appreciate the efforts I made to put your ideas into action and that a degree of historical revisionism produces a kinder verdict. Toodle Pip.