Kat Romero rants for her right to eat on the Underground.
Tube etiquette is taken very seriously in London. The looks of shock and disgust for anyone who dares stand on the left of the escalator. The rage you suppress when people refuse to move down the carriage. The overwhelming urge to scream ‘Look at your life, look at your choices!’ to any numpty who takes up an entire seat with their bag.
But this week, Margaret Thatcher’s former aide, Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury, added something else to the list of unacceptable activities on the Underground. Hot food. He wants to ban it. And as a late-night fried food fanatic who has yelled ‘Supersize me!’ at the staff of Chicken Cottage more times than I care to admit, I’d like to climb on top of my tub of KFC and fight for my fellow passengers’ right to eat reeking junk on the tube.
London is the greatest city in the world and I’ll fight any sass mouth who dares challenge me. But sometimes for us locals it can all get a bit on top of us. At the end of a long working day, you want to blow off some steam and let your hair down. Especially during the festive season. And after a questionable (okay, a huge) amount of Jägerbombs, all I want is a nice warm comfy tube train, and something that’s recently seen the interior of a deep-fat fryer. As I make my way home, let me be cradled in the bosom of a bargain bucket. Let hot wings clasp me to them. Let me curl up in the cosiness of a kebab.
Is Lord Sherbourne proposing that we buy this hot rubbish and then carry it all the way home before we devour it? Clearly this man has never flung himself face first into a box of Morley’s, because any connoisseur knows that a wing or fried thigh has to be eaten when piping hot, unleashing a fragrant cloud of steam as you tear into it. Every second counts before it become a grotesquely congealed inedible cold mess.
Or are we supposed to travel – empty and ravenous – all the way to where we live, and only then get something to eat? What if there just aren’t any decent late-night food establishments in your ends? I know it may sound like I’m blindly beguiled by any neon sign boasting the words ‘fried’ or ‘battered’, but even I have my limits. Limits like not frequenting anywhere that takes health and safety regulations as just a ‘gentle suggestion’.
Or spare a thought for those poor souls who have to make do with a 24-hour Tesco. Have you tried to sort out your booze-fuelled night with Bernard Matthew’s Turkey Chunks and a packet of Quavers? Don’t bother: it’s pointless.
Lord S of D argues that many passengers find the smell of hot food ‘offensive’ whilst on the tube. Offensive? There’s so many other offensive things people do on the tube that we’re expected to put up with. Blasting out their rubbish music, allowing their horrible kids to run amok during rush hour, smacking you in the face with their look-how-important-I-am briefcases. A cheeky burger or tiny box of wings is waaay down that list.
So, sorry, your lordship, I shall continue to exercise my democratic right to eat crap while commuting. You’re just jealous, anyway. There’s no chicken or kebab shops in chichi Didsbury (you have to go up the road to Burnage or Withington). Oh yes, and NO TUBE. Because it’s a tiny provincial irrelevance. Stick that in your hotbox.
Tube chicken is debatable – but here are seven things you must never do on the tube.