One summer in Scotland, my father decided to drive us to the Ayrshire countryside, where as a boy he’d spent his childhood holidays. He imagined we’d have a picnic, nestling in the bucolic greensward of remembered countryside.  Added to our embarrassment he decided to drive us there in the S3 Continental Bentley which he kept mostly under cover, unable to afford the cost of filling its capacious fuel tanks. Designed to swoop around the corners of the corniche in the company of other grand automobiles on the Riviera, not lurch through the byways of Scotland, gawped at by everyone we passed, this was a source of great embarrassment to me. Added to this, my mother, defending her own childhood memories of vast, servant-laden picnics in Kashmir, insisted on assembling picnic equipment of grand proportions. Damask, crystal, silver and china were packed into the boot and she sat in the front of the car, wrapped in a Rajput dressing gown like a dowager maharani.

The only problem was that when we arrived we couldn’t find the idyllic spot where he’d spent his languid boyhood hours. Indeed there was nowhere we could set up our picnic operation except on a rather wide verge at the side of a track, next to a tall hawthorn hedge. As I wandered off, I discovered in the field nearby was herd of cattle I had never seen before. Belted Galloways, a sight I shall never forget. These cattle with the broad white stripe around their midriff are magnificent and I was in love. I’d only ever known the rather uninteresting Freisians on our farm but these beasts were altogether more beautiful.  The picnic was a desultory affair, which wasn’t helped by a group of local boys who raced back and forward on their chopper bikes, doing wheelies and laughing at what must have indeed been a source of great amusement. Especially when they stopped eventually to ask what we were doing and if we knew that the local sewage station was behind the hedge. Rather more hastily than anticipated, picnic and accoutrements were repacked into the car, as we fled the increasing odour of emerging effluent.

I thought of this story, because last week I bought a fore rib of Belted Galloway. I’m never convinced that fat makes much difference in the short time it takes to cook this cut intensely. And I hate waste, so by removing the meat from the bone, you can season and truss the meat with a nice trim of fat on the top and then render the remaining fat with the bone for cooking potatoes and Yorkshire pudding.

The more we find out how mass-market meat is such an unsustainable industry, it’s important that we know what we are eating. Better to look an old friend in the eye before eating him.