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I ate 100 different types of ‘pigs in blankets’ and lived to tell the tale

Gav takes on the sausage world and it proved almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Image: Gav murphy

What’s the best accompaniment to Christmas dinner? Red cabbage? Get out of here. Parsnips? Come on, now. Sprouts? That’s an argument for another day. 

The obvious correct answer is: ‘pigs in blankets’. And I mean proper pigs in blankets which, in the UK, means a sausage wrapped in bacon — none of this pastry nonsense. 

Whoever thought of taking a sausage and giving it a little pork jacket deserves some kind of medal or at least a little mention in a national anthem. There are people in the world who also think like this, which is why they’ve set up the world’s first “pigs in blankets party” in Margate, a seaside town in Kent in the south of England. 

The party features 100 different variations of pigs in blankets including just about every sausage that exists, from foot-longs to cocktails to whole wheels of pork. And all these sausages were covered in bacon combinations you could never have dreamt up. 

A feast fit for a sausage king.

Image: gav murphy

Obviously, I was more than a little excited to take on the challenge of trying every single one. 

The whole thing was conceived by culinary genius and PR creative Emma Thomas and her food PR company Messhead which previously created such magnificent-sounding food shenanigans as ‘Fry Hard’ — a pop-up shop where they’d literally fry anything — and also the less appetizing sounding but equally incredible ‘Human Butchery’ which consisted of various meats arranged to look like human flesh on a body. 

You can experience this for yourself on the 29th of December but I was invited along to have the best dinner for one that has ever existed at the Cinque Ports restaurant right on Margate beach where the party is being held. 

“Shall we start with the two-metre long cumberland with streaky bacon?”

I was greeted by a ham-flavoured daiquiri on arrival by chef Jim Thomlinson who’s worked across the UK in some fancy Michelin Star restaurants but thankfully now he’s doing the Lord’s work with sausages.

“Shall we start with the two-metre long cumberland with streaky bacon?” he asked. 

“Shall we run away and get married, Jim?” I replied. 

The romance with Jim didn’t stop there as he brought out a wooden tray with two different types of pork-wrapped black pudding and an intimidatingly long-looking monster. 

Genuinely couldn’t fit the whole thing in one photo.

Image: Gav Murphy

Jim and Emma presented plate after plate of blankety delight to me —a saveloy (a bright red banger popular with cockneys) wrapped in smoked back bacon, fennel sausage with Parma ham, a venison and red wine banger with a thick bacon coat. 

You know that Kanye West song that goes “Welcome to the Good Life”? I’d bet actual money that he wrote that on a rainy Sunday in Kent whilst stuffing himself with a sausage made of white pudding coated in turkey bacon.

Just when I was thinking there was no way these mad sausage lovers could surprise me any more, up pipes Jim: “How do you feel about stuff that’s been battered?” 

“I feel like that’s something I could get on board with, Jim. I’ll be honest” 

If there’s any food that isn’t better battered, I don’t what to know about it.

Image: gav murphy

Not content with wrapping a bit of bacon around a battered sausage, however, Jim also had the bright idea of deep frying an entire pig in a blanket. We need more forward-thinking individuals like this taking control of our meals, if you ask me. 

I know you’re reading this and thinking “Wow. This man has it ALL right now. The guy is full of pork ‘n’ just loving life”. I’d be thinking the same thing but I’ll tell you what though, trying to work your way through 100 different types of pig in 100 different types of blanket really takes its toll on you around pig number 60. I was trying to take little bites of everything, which was easy when faced with two metres worth of Cumberland (a big ol’ chunky sausage from England), however as the pigs got more and more interesting, the urge not to just scoff the lot down became worryingly hard. 

I assume it is very similar to running a marathon. Sure, those first 10-15 miles are just a breezy little joy but then as you near the finishing line, things get slightly more challenging. 

Quite honestly, I had run flat up against a wall.

Image: Gav murphy

I was experiencing what runners call ‘The Wall’. Except, instead of a bit of a stitch fixed by chomping down some Haribo, I actually had a bit of a job in front of me. Somewhere around blanket number 80, I was really starting to flag. Surely there couldn’t be many more ways of blanketing a bit of sausage?! Then I heard it from the kitchen: “Do you want some lobster?” 

I’d forgotten about lobster, the pig of the sea.

Even the underwater oinks were getting involved.

Image: gav murphy

Now, I don’t make the kind of money that’ll see me turning down lobster at any point and if I can give you one piece of advice it’s that if you’re ever offered lobster, YOU TAKE IT! Particularly when that lobster is wrapped in bacon (unless you’re a  vegetarian, of course). 

The final stretch of pigs in blankets presented itself before me as a host of cheese-wrapped big boys — a Toulouse sausage wrapped in Raclette, a Frankfurter with cheese coursing through its centre, a bit of venison in blue cheese. The home stretch was a decadent bastard, to say the least. 

Then it happened: I reached the final pig in blanket. I was so horribly full of pig and I honestly thought I would feel absolutely disgusting and sick, but actually I was more intrigued to see what mad delight Jim had cooked up for me to finish this party. I ran through all the variations that could possibly be left and kept coming up short. Then I saw it. 

The final boss.

Image: gav murphy

A mince pie. A mince pie wrapped in thick bacon. Although not technically a sausage, I feel like this spin on the classic might’ve been the change I was looking for, because I wolfed down the warm treat without even thinking. 

100 variations of pigs in blankets, done. I’d like to say that I learned something after taking on this challenge, but I’ll be honest I already knew that pigs in blankets were food sent from the Meat Gods and this entire adventure just confirmed it. 

Mince pie wrapped in bacon? Yes please.

Image: gav murphy 

If you’d like to experience the same level of greatness as I experienced that day, then the Cinque Ports in Margate is hosting the second installment of their Sausage Parties on the 29th of December where you can get all the pigs in blankets you can eat for £20 — just in case for some reason you don’t get enough pigs in blankets on Christmas Day. 

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11 times J.K. Rowling tweeted awesome advice to budding writers

J.K. Rowling has got your back.
Image: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Without wanting to sound like too much of a pathetic millennial, writing can be hard work.

It can be, OK?

Particularly if you’re working on something long, like a novel, it’s good to have some support and encouragement every now and again.

J.K. Rowling knows this better than most people. If you head over to the Harry Potter author’s Twitter feed, nestled among all those sweet shutdowns you’ll find plenty of helpful writing tips, as well as stories from Rowling about what it was like for her before she became a household name.

From editing advice to firsthand experiences, here are some of the tips she’s tweeted over the years.

1. The time she gave these awesome words of encouragement to a demotivated writer.

2. The time she made it clear you don’t necessarily need the best equipment.

3. This heartfelt message of encouragement.

4. This advice to a budding writer who lacked parental support.

5. This crucial rereading tip.

6. The time she proved that rejection is just another rung on the ladder.

7. And then shared two of her own rejection letters as inspiration.

8. The time she made it clear just how far she was prepared to go to get her book published.

9. And then explained what was driving her.

10. The time she replied to this tweet about the importance of completing a writing project.

11. And then rounded off a fairly epic series of tweets with this message of hope.

Now go and finish that novel.

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Youre Benedict Arnold! Do You Have What It Takes To Betray The Colonies?

You’re this guy.

Do you have anything to say for yourself?

That’s right! You’re this guy and you’re also Benedict Arnold. You shoot a gun and ride a horse for America during the First Annual Revolutionary War. Your peers respect you, all of the Founding Fathers say things like “Now that’s one good adult” when your name gets mentioned, and you’ve never committed the crime of treason. You’ve got it all.

But that’s about to change.

You see, yesterday was a very big day for you. You saw this advertisement for treason and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. You even had a dream where you wrote “TREASON = GOOD, CLEAN TREASON” in some beach sand, and upon waking up, a taste that can only be described as smooth, sandy treason was in your mouth.

Yep. You’ve got a full-blown desire to commit treason up in your brain, and it’s not going away. The wheels of history have begun to turn, and they’re making the noise that means history is going to happen soon.

Over the course of your life, there have been four major events that planted the seeds of treason in your brain. Imagine that the advertisement for treason you saw yesterday was water, and the four seeds of treason are four treason seeds. When you dump water on four seeds, a flower blooms—and in this case, it’s a Treason Flower.

Simply put, there’s a Treason Flower in your body right now, and it’s impossible to rip out no matter how strong or powerful your hands are.

Would you like a refresher as to the four treason seeds of your life?

The first treason seed arrived in your skull when you got chased home from school by this patriotic husband and wife duo every day for eight years.

Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?

Seventeen seventy-three. The Boston Tea Party. Your second treason seed came in 1773 during the Boston Tea Party.

You were there dressed as an Indian and were so into it that you asked people to call you “The Indian Version Of Benedict Arnold.” Unfortunately, someone thought you said “I’m tea, from England” and threw you into Boston Harbor by mistake.

The harbor was cold and full of bugs, many of which you had to swallow to survive. If the Boston Tea Party had never happened, this almost certainly would have been avoided.

The third treason seed occurred during the Battle of Saratoga, when you saw the American soldiers spending most of their time making a cannon do this. They still won the battle, but it marked the first time that you thought maybe the Continental Army deserves to get beaten very badly.

The fourth and final seed of treason was lodged in your body two fortnights ago—the equivalent of four American weeks. You were in your tent having a nightmare about how great 21st-century medicine will be, when all of a sudden you were awoken by a shadow. It was a rogue bugle boy’s shadow, and after a few minutes of standing still, he lifted his bugle and blasted a song. When he finally finished 45 minutes later, he croaked, “That was ‘Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy),’ and oh, it is now your favorite song, Benedict Arnold.”

Whoa, for sure.

So that’s how it happened. You got chased by two people in love, and then you got thrown into the Boston Harbor, and then some troops convinced a cannon to scream “21,” and then a rogue bugle boy told you that your favorite song was “Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy).” When you saw the advertisement yesterday, you were totally powerless, and now you want nothing more than to become the most hated person in American history.

Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?

Great! It’s the 18th century, so one of the only forms of communication is the Communication Bell. By ringing the Bell in such a way that it tells the country of Great Britain you’re a tiny American male who wants to commit the crime of treason, you have let Great Britain know that you are a tiny American male interested in committing the crime of treason.

All you’ve got to do now is receive an acceptance letter and you’ll be on your way!

Ouch. That’s rough. How do you want to go about getting an acceptance letter?

Great! You are now one step closer to betraying your country, and that’s something you want to do.

You tell the army that you’re taking the day off from shooting your gun and riding your horse, and swim out to King George III’s royal houseboat. It’s located 15 miles off the New Jersey coast, and you have to take constant breaks and swallow hundreds of bugs to stay alive, but eventually, you finally make it, and it feels fine.

The only thing under King George III’s houseboat is his previous houseboat, which sunk after he bought a bowling ball.

There he is, the man and king himself. It’s none other than King George III, a guy who makes George Washington and his friends shoot their guns, sitting on a throne.

“Aha! Hello, and welcome to my oceanic castle!” King George III says into his microphone. “I hate that the colonies are mad at me, and I am worried that they would not care if today was my birthday! If today was my birthday, the colonies would probably say something like ‘Who gives a shit?’ or ‘The hell with that nonsense!’ How terrible! B16!”

Oh wow. The king seems pretty upset. Say something to cheer him up.

“That’s incredible news! When I look at you right now, I realize that you MUST be Benedict Arnold, and Benedict Arnold is the man who’s going to be committing the crime of treason against America for Great Britain. Currently, Great Britain is known as the country that is going to have the Beatles, but we also want to be known as the country that wins the First Annual Revolutionary War. Oh, this makes me feel good. So, do you have any ideas for committing treason against your home country of America?”

Looks like that cheered him up! Anyway, what sort of treasonous plan is currently making itself known to you in your brain?

“That soda can thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

“That battle thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

“That hole thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

“That Ben Franklin thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”

“That animal thing sounds like a pretty poor idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that a pretty poor idea for treason?”

“Hello!” screams the queen. “Honestly, that idea for treason seems fine! B16!”

Incredible. The royal marital duo loves your idea for treason, and now it’s time to go through with it.

There’s nothing America currently loves more than the Declaration of Independence. It’s the document that really gets people going, and the most popular hobby nationwide is reading the Declaration to a crowd of thousands and receiving a standing ovation.

Were the Declaration to be stolen and crushed on your Benedict Arnold’s head like a soda can, surely it would be an act of treason unlike any seen in America’s little, small, and tiny history.

The Declaration of Independence currently lives in Philadelphia at The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together is, simply put, the place where all the guys are. Even people like Alexander Hamilton are there.

So, what mode of transportation would you like to use to get to Philadelphia and commit a truly incredible amount of treason?

Here you are. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together.

It’s late, so they should all be sleeping soundly in the same big bed. Looks like the only way to enter without making a ruckus is to sneak in through the pool, so yeah—you’re going to have to get a little wet.

“Benedict Arnold!” you shout as you dive in.

The pool is cold. Now, you famously don’t mind the cold (Thomason, Paul. “Benedict Arnold And His Feelings On The Cold.” Tungsten Publishing, 1982.), so that’s not too big a deal. But equally famously, you don’t know how to swim very well (Thomason, Bertram. “Benedict Arnold And How He Swam.” Tungsten Publishing, 1984). That means it’s going to take you a little while before you reach the door on the other side of the pool—that is, if you make it at all.

Oh, wow. You really have no idea how to swim. You’re flailing and splashing and screaming, and you have to hope that if anyone was awake, they would’ve come out to save you by now.

This is terrible to watch. You’ve tucked your legs into your stomach like you’re doing a cannonball, except for some reason you think that this is how you’re supposed to swim. It’s a miracle you haven’t drowned yet, now or at any other point in your life.

You are forced to eat some bugs just to stay alive.

These two have every right to laugh at you.

You made it! To the pool door! It took 45 minutes for you to get here, and you spent pretty much all of those minutes on the verge of drowning, but all that is in the past! You’ve got a Declaration of Independence to steal and crush on your head like a soda can.

Oh, goddamn it.

“A mighty hello to our very close friend Benedict Arnold!” shout all the Founding Fathers at once. “You are soaking wet with pool water, and what an incredible treat it is to see you in our home we all share together!”

“We heard you scream your own name as you jumped in the pool!” they all shout at once. “In the big bed we all share together, we looked at each other in excitement, and then we all jumped out of the big bed we all share together and ran to the window and pressed our historic faces up against the glass at the same time to see if it really was you, our friend, and it was you, our friend! You are such a good patriot, and an even better friend.”

It’s going to be tough to steal the Declaration of Independence with these guys awake, but you have to do it. They’re currently nodding at each other in agreement over what they just said, so use this time to slink away and poke around.

On this October night, there’s no sign of the Declaration of Independence in the Founders’ living room.

Doesn’t look like there’s a Declaration of Independence to steal here in the kitchen.

Looks like the Declaration of Independence had to be taken out of the Declaration of Independence room so the janitor could practice mopping up one cup of coffee.

It’s gotta be around here somewhere.

There it is! Looks like one of the dopier Founding Fathers left it behind. What an exciting blunder that will potentially change the course of American history for good!


“Yes! Benedict Arnold, one of my closest and dearest friends from America! I’m so glad I caught you!” says George Washington, the man who is your boss when you shoot your gun and ride your horse. “I was at my other house with my wife named Martha, but as soon as I heard that you were here, I just had to come by! Say, is that the Declaration of Independence you’re holding and taking with you?”

“Oh, of course it’s the Declaration of Independence that you’re holding and taking from the house I share with the other Founding Fathers!” shouts George. “Nothing says ‘I love the new country of America’ quite like holding the document that made the country come into existence. What an incredible show of patriotism from one incredible patriot! Benedict Arnold, you are a good friend, and also, hey, keep up the great work being my employee in the army.”

Get the hell out of there.

When it’s finally morning, you walk to the center of Philadelphia, clutching the Declaration tightly against your tiny stomach. People naturally begin to crowd around you because of who you are and what you’re clutching, and eventually there is a crowd of thousands, ready to watch what they assume is another classic patriotic act from an American hero.

“Benedict Arnold is definitely one of my closest friends!” shouts Thomas Jefferson. “He is holding the Declaration of Independence the way anyone who loves America would!”

“When I think about Benedict Arnold, a smile where I reveal a few dozen of my teeth shows up on my face!” yells Samuel Adams.

“Benedict Arnold is the mailman, and his mail is never being deceitful!” screams Paul Revere.

“I am going to crush this on my forehead,” you say. “I am going to crush the Declaration of Independence on my forehead like a soda can.”

You stare at the ground for a couple of minutes, and then roll the Declaration up into a tight scroll, holding it parallel to your forehead.

You crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead like a soda can, and the crowd goes absolutely insane.

“He’s making the Declaration of Independence get really close to his brain, and that’s patriotic!” shouts a man who had an apple for breakfast.

“This inspires me and someone else to make the Constitution in, like, 10 years or so!” shout James Madison and Alexander Hamilton at the sam

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Man makes 32-point Twitter thread about what it’s like to live with girls, goes viral

You’d think observations about what it’s like to live with the opposite sex would be pretty much old hat by now.

Surely, now that we’re in 2017, it’s all been said before at some point?

Well, maybe — but Roberto Carlos’ 32-point Twitter list about what it’s like to live with all girls for a week certainly seems to have struck some chord.

Here’s the thread in full:

That thread now has well over 100,000 retweets, and was recently made into a Twitter Moment.

Many of the responses are along these lines:

Surely it’s only a matter of time before the “living with just boys for a week” counter-thread goes live?

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James Corden and Gordon Ramsay judge toddlers’ culinary skills in this hilarious sketch

Gordon Ramsay and James Corden lowered the age bracket and raised the stakes in this hilarious cooking competition sketch, Master Chef Junior Junior.

In the video above, toddlers competed for the title of Master Chef Junior Junior. They were given free range in the kitchen. And things went south very quickly. Some of their key ingredients included a toy car, play dough, raw meat, and sprinkles.

The kids deserve credit for creativity. But they definitely lose points in the edibility category.

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Angry Scottish person goes on 18-tweet rant about the way Americans eat eggs

This is an egg cup. It holds your boiled egg so you can eat it with a spoon.
Image: Mito Images/REX/Shutterstock

The USA and the UK have a fair bit in common we both speak essentially the same language; we both like dogs and cats; we both enjoy eating pizza and watching TV.

When it comes to certain topics, though, there’s a cultural gulf between our two fair nations twice the size of the ocean that separates us.

Today’s topic of contention? Eggs.

Or, more specifically, egg cups.

On Sunday night, a Scottish video games programmer embarked on an impressively sweary rant about the fact people in America don’t use egg cups (those little containers that you can use to hold a boiled egg while you eat it with a spoon).

Here’s the full 18-tweet rant, in all its glory…

Your move, America.

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