This letter had me crying with laughter when I first read it. Not only is the letter very funny, but the reply and the follow up are equally as good. Thanks to the immensely talented writer Terry Ravenscroft for allowing me to reproduce them here.
Baker Group House
I am writing to congratulate you on a truly excellent product. I have just dined on a can of your Butcher’s Tripe Mix, which I had with a portion of oven chips, and it was quite superb. With a bottle of Beajolais to wash it down, it felt almost like I was back in the Dordogne. At long last a British manufacturer has succeeded in doing with offal what the French have been doing with it for years. God bless you!
I do however have one minor criticism. Why do refer to your tripe as an ‘animal derivative’? Tripe is offal, nothing more, nothing less, and to call it anything else is to pretend that it is something it isn’t. There is nothing wrong with offal, believe me, I’ve eaten tons of it, and I shall be eating even more tons of it if you keep up the standard of your wonderful Butcher’s Tripe Mix.
A question though. Why is there a picture of a dog on the label?
T. Ravenscroft (Mr)
Ian Cresswell, the technical manager at Butcher’s Pet care replied in kind:
Mr T Ravenscroft
Dear Mr Ravenscroft
Thank you for your letter congratulating us on our Butcher’s Tripe Mix product.
We receive many similar letters from satisfied owners on behalf of their dog. Yours is the first letter we have had from a human consumer.
The Feeding Stuffs Regulations 1995 require us by law to describe tripe on the label under the heading meat and animal derivatives. The term offal is not permitted although as you point out it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Please remember Butcher’s Tripe Mix is a complementary food and to keep your nose wet and your coat in tip-top condition you must eat it mixed with an equal quantity of reputable mixer meal.
Please find enclosed £5 worth of vouchers towards your future purchases.
If you have read Terry’s book, you will know that he never stops at just one letter. There is always a second salvo:
Baker Group House
Dear Ian Cresswell
Thank you for your letter of 24th April, and the vouchers, which I passed on to the needy.
It would appear that I have made a mistake and that Butcher’s Tripe Mix is a dog food! Perhaps it is an understandable mistake though; I mean on boxes of Kellog’s Frosties therte’s a picture of a tiger, but it would be a fool who claimed that tigers eat cornflakes, as I’m sure you’d be the first to agree.
Getting back to the point, your letter arrived too late to have an influence on a meal I recently put on chez Ravenscroft for a potential client. However, I doubt it would have made any difference to the menu I had decided on, even if it had arrived before my client. In the event, he said that the Tripes Provencal, made with your Burcher’s Tripe Mix as the basis, was quite superb and he couldn’t believe that most of it had come out of a can. In fact, when I showed him the can to prove it, he was quite speechless. If I don’t get a big order out of him I will be very surprised, although up to now, he has been out of the office every time I’ve tried to contact him.
I must say I enjoyed your little joke about keeping my nose wet and my coat in tip-top condition. Very funny!
T Ravenscroft (Mr)