Hung for a Sheep as a Lamb

On two different occasions this week people have come to my blog after searching for “Baafada Supply”. This is not a phrase that I’ve ever used, and indeed Google doesn’t even acknowledge that the phrase exists. Still, if a post about Baafada Supply is what the people want, then it is my duty to give it to them….

My great-grandad, Jeremiah Tin, was a versatile man. He was both a sheep-farmer and an inventor, a great believer in versatility, and it is because of versatility that Baafada Supply has been our family business for over one hundred years now.

People often ask about the name of our company. When my great-grandad was a toddler he used to be brought for walks across our fields, which now form much of Greystones. When his mother would say “look at the baa-lambs” he would point to the older sheep and say “baa-fadder”, meaning lamb’s father. His elder brothers, showing the rapier-sharp wit which has been a feature of the Tinfamily down the generations, took to calling him “Baafada” and the name stuck. So did his interest in sheep (which is rumoured to be common here in County Wicklow) so when he started his own business in his early twenties he took to selling mutton. The name of the company practically picked itself.

Back in those days the cheapness of mutton made it a very common dish among the poor, but the poor do not have much money (you heard it here first) so sales were slow and the business would have gone under were it not for Great-grandad’s first invention. He noticed how the stringy bits of mutton got caught in your teeth, and this is how he invented dental floss, which started the company flourishing.

Then came a great stroke of luck, when the Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze” was published. In it a man was drugged with powdered opium in a dish of curried mutton, the strong taste of which concealed the drug. This plan was quickly copied by wives of all social strata anxious to get a good nights sleep and not anxious to have a fourteenth child. Never one to miss a business opportunity Jeremiah started selling the Powdered Opium as well (with his picture on the bottle, like Paul Newman’s sauces), but was surprised to find that this was illegal, and had to flee to the US. Once again luck was on his side, with the arrival of prohibition. To avoid the law Jeremiah had changed his name to Jack Daniels, and it was under this name that he started marketing a drink consisting of 11% alcohol and 89% sheep liniment, which still sells to this very day to the kind of drinkers who don’t mind if they occasionally go blind for a couple of hours.

And what of Baafada Trading? Well, Grandad Tin (Jeremiah Junior) took it over and ran it very successfully for years, until the later years of the twentieth century. Then as people grew more prosperous they decided that mutton wasn’t good enough for them, they wanted lamb instead. Lamb chops were in and mutton-chops were, well, a type of facial hair. We might have faced ruination, but JJ was as brilliant as his father. There had always been a limited market for mutton wool, to make hairshirts for penitents and unconvincing wigs for idiots, but JJ had a better idea. He compacted the wool, added pink detergent goo and the Brillo Pad was born (indeed, during the making of one batch he forgot to put the goo in, and accidentally invented Shredded Wheat).

Which brings us up to today, when I now run Baafada Trading. The dishwasher has replaced the Brillo Pad, Hair Restoration Clinics have replaced the wig and commonsense has replaced Shredded Wheat, yet still we are successful, thanks to a master stroke of which any of my forebears would have been proud.

I invented the kebab.

Since the kebab is eaten only by people who are very, very drunk I simply substitute mutton for lamb, and no-one can tell the difference. These, remember, are people who believe that the thing in the picture on the right is some part of a lamb, so I’m guessing they aren’t culinary experts.

I have opened a subsidiary of Baafada Trading, which now runs a chain of stores selling my products. I call these stores Abrakebabra.

It’s an Arabic word, meaning “mutton dressed as lamb”.


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