Ah, Ginsters. It is an inconsequential but pleasing side-effect of having this blog that I know to the day the last time I was foolish enough to eat a Ginster's pasty. (Wednesday, February 18th, 2009. The "New York Style" Steak & Cheese Pasty. Bloody awful, 4/10.) But upon seeing this festive offering on the shelves of our local Londis, how could I resist? Cleary, my duty as a reviewer outweighed all considerations of taste, common sense or intestinal safety.
So, first impressions: cold, flavourless pastry with a texture the word "claggy" could have been coined for. And inside, that unidentifiable grey Matter so familiar to afficionados of the Ginsters range. The packaging claims this to be composed of 'Turkey, Bacon and Cranberry', so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and agree that that's what it was. I didn't see any cranberries in there, that's all I'm saying. The overwhelming flavours one is left with are of Cold Turnip and Cheese, which is slightly worrying as neither of these ingredients are actually listed.
More than simply being an unpleasant eating experience - although it was certainly that - this pasty left me genuinely depressed for humanity. Whilst eating it, a vision formed. Of a man, perhaps in his late forties, unshaven, stumbling across a frozen petrol station forecourt somewhere in Britain. He is dressed in stinking, unwashed clothes, but there is no-one left in his life to comment on the smell, and he is too far gone to notice or care himself. He has children, but he has not seen them in years, and indeed between the drinking, the substance abuse and the onset of mental health problems, he can now barely remember their faces. He is alone, forgotten, uncared for by all and certainly by himself. And he staggers home now from the petrol station, back to his frozen, empty bedsit, clutching his reward, this pasty... his Christmas Dinner.
Ginsters Christmas Pasty: The Taste of Human Misery.