The worst pies in London...or what's left of them
February 10, 2018 8:50 AM   Subscribe

 
Please, not before breakfast.
posted by lagomorph at 8:56 AM on February 10


I have told this story a couple of times before, but, when this was first announced, I asked a coworker "Did you hear about the Fatberg?" She replied with her best deadpan "Is that the new Hardee's sandwich?" I have rarely seen a conversation so well-played.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:59 AM on February 10 [41 favorites]


Speaking as a former plumbing apprentice: For the love of god do not flush condoms, tampons, "flushable" wet wipes, pads, or diapers down the toilet. Don't drain cooking fat down the kitchen sink. Don't use a garbage disposal for anything other than small amounts of food while washing dishes (Actually, don't use the garbage disposal at all, but I know when I'm being unreasonable).

- Anything that isn't toilet paper belongs in a trash can.
- Use old glass jars for grease then toss them when they're full.
- Scrape your dishes into the trash or compost.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:01 AM on February 10 [26 favorites]


good luck topping this, Damien Hirst
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:10 AM on February 10 [21 favorites]


Further evidence for my claim that the Museum of London is the best museum IN London!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:12 AM on February 10 [7 favorites]


There's a fatberg in the sewers outside my flat (St George's Circus, Southwark) rumoured to be even bigger. There are Thames Water trucks and operatives out there most nights doing something. I can't say what - whether it's attacking the fatberg or just reconaissance - but they're doing the same thing half way between here and Southwark tube station on Blackfriars Road, so it must be enormous.
posted by Grangousier at 9:14 AM on February 10 [10 favorites]


From the guardian article
>While visitors will not be able to smell it they might get to see a drain fly, given that there is larvae still in the sample.
>“They seem quite happy,” said Robinson-Calver. “They’ve got a good food source. They pop out and fly around from time to time, which will be fascinating for visitors. It is part of the mystery of the fatberg, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

>Curators and conservators have had to learn new skills to put the sample on display, choosing drying rather than pickling or freezing. “There are no guidelines for museums to work with sewage,” admitted Sparkes. “Nobody has conserved one of these before. We don’t really know how it is going to behave over the long term.”

I know they've taken precautions but I would be afraid to bring this into the museum collections.
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:33 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


We still don’t know what will happen to the samples when we put them on display- if more sewer flies might emerge for example.

aaaaaaaa
AAAAAAAAAAA
posted by Countess Elena at 9:36 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I know they've taken precautions but I would be afraid to bring this into the museum collections.

The Elgin Larvals
The Rosetta Sludge

(wrong London museum.)
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:47 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


Brexit metaphor
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:01 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Do you know where your waste goes? Where is the sewage treatment plant? Where does your garbage go? Most people don't know, don't want to know, don't care. You flush and it goes away. You throw it in the trash and it goes away. Until it becomes a monster. Brilliant exhibit.
posted by theora55 at 10:05 AM on February 10 [22 favorites]


theora55, now that I'm a 40 year old man, I'm signed up for the annual tour of my town's wastewater treatment facility this summer. Exciting stuff!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:08 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Cut -Me-Own-Throat Dibbler probably would be proud to visit that exhibition.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:10 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Do you know where your waste goes? Where is the sewage treatment plant? Where does your garbage go? Most people don't know, don't want to know, don't care. You flush and it goes away. You throw it in the trash and it goes away. Until it becomes a monster. Brilliant exhibit.

This is why I encourage people to visit the Sewer Museum when they are in Paris. It forces you to think about that shit. Literally.

Plus, it's fascinating social/environmental/city planning and infrastructure history.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:17 AM on February 10 [10 favorites]


There are Thames Water trucks and operatives out there most nights doing something.

Now they know of their existence they want to study one that's alive.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:18 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Needs deep frying.
posted by Wordshore at 10:24 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


This is why I encourage people to visit the Sewer Museum when they are in Paris. It forces you to think about that shit. Literally.

Doesn't Les Miserables have, like, a giant section devoted to the development of the Paris sewers which is written in preparation for when Valjean flees from Javert through the sewers? Or something? I seem to remember this.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on February 10 [7 favorites]


It does, yes! Your memory is right. They mention it in the displays of the Sewer Museum.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:30 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


'fatberg lettuce' is your intrusive thought for the day.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:01 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]


- Use old glass jars for grease then toss them when they're full.

Why glass? Is me using tin cans a problem?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:07 AM on February 10


Use old glass jars for grease then toss them when they're full.

Grease has been a real problem in trying to reduce what we put into the trash. We have a compost heap which is great for non-meat stuff, we recycle paper and plastic and glass and metal, we take old electronics to the right place, along with batteries. But grease? There's nowhere to put it that isn't bad. In your yard, you get maggots and other critters and terrible stink. But it's organic, so it feels wrong to put it in the trash.

I would say, for the safety of your waste collectors, don't use glass jars. Buy some of those reusable/disposable plastic food containers, pour in your grease, and keep sealed in the fridge until it's full. Then you can either empty the now-solidified grease into the trash or toss the whole container in.

I believe there are some private services now that will take grease (though they mostly serve restaurants) but I did see one that does curb pickup (!) featured on a TV show...not around here, though.

I should probably check to see if options around me have improved at all.
posted by emjaybee at 11:08 AM on February 10


Buy some of those reusable/disposable plastic food containers, pour in your grease

Just take care when doing this and make sure it's cooled down somewhat.

Remind me to tell you about the time I was working at McDonald's and I watched a coworker change the oil on a fryer.

The standard procedure involved draining the old oil into a stainless steel bucket and then carrying it (carefully!) out to the waste oil dumpster in a liquid state. My ambitious coworker thought it would be more efficient to use an empty 5-gallon plastic pail, like the ones you use for paint or buy at home depot. The pickle slices came in these buckets and we had tons of empties.

The oil was around 350F. The bucket lasted about 30 seconds before the bottom gave way and 50 pounds of Interstate Formula 47 Shortening* went all over the cold tile floor and instantly congealed.

The coolest part was watching the bucket shrink in height as it slowly got hotter and melted downward.


* this was the original shortening that had beef fat in it, and the main reason why McD fries suck these days compared to the Days of Yore(tm). Old people are not just making it up when they say this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:34 AM on February 10 [14 favorites]


You can make soap from your collected grease.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:35 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


You can make soap from your collected grease.

Maybe you can! I will not be ever doing that.

And yes, I skipped a step; let the grease cool down before you put it in plastic containers, thanks JoeZydeco.
posted by emjaybee at 11:36 AM on February 10 [7 favorites]


i can distill my pee and drink that too but i have no interest in going full fremen
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on February 10 [29 favorites]


You can absolutely put grease in tin cans rather than glass if that's your preference. I just use glass for my own weird snowflake reasons.

As to eco-friendly ways of disposing of grease, my dad would freeze it long term and then mix it with bird seed and feed it to the birds in winter. Evidently this is a great way to support insect-eating birds if you live somewhere with cold winters (and lots of birds).
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:48 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]


Put hot grease/oil into a bowl and let it cool and solidify then put into an container you were going to throw out anyway (like a plastic milk bottle with the top cut off) or scrape it straight into a bin bag
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:58 AM on February 10


MetaFilter: It is part of the mystery of the fatberg
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:58 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]




Whitechapel fatberg/sits in a box in a museum that carries its name/Londoners to blame
posted by The Whelk at 12:04 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


So no one else read that, briefly, as "the worst piles in London..."?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:04 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


So no one else read that, briefly, as "the worst piles in London..."?

How's yer Chalfonts, mate?

(Cockney Rhyming Slag: Chalfont St Giles = Piles)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:07 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


i can distill my pee and drink that too but i have no interest in going full fremen

"La Poffin Boffin's Finest Artisanal Herbal Aperitif. $49.95 per litre bottle from your nearest Trader Joe's."
posted by Wordshore at 12:09 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


The Whitechapel Monster, a giant block of grease from the sewers, has arrived at the Museum of London.

This is sounds like either the very beginning or the very end of a Doctor Who episode.
posted by PlusDistance at 12:18 PM on February 10 [22 favorites]


Beware what's being touted as "Whitechapel ambergris" in the gift shop.

This is sounds like either the very beginning or the very end of a Doctor Who episode.

A remake of The Stones of Blood with chunks of fatberg?

The Museum of London seemed to be going that way with the short video trailers for the exhibit they've put up on their Twitter feed:
Are you brave enough to face the #fatberg?

Tomorrow. #fatbergiscoming
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:07 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Please someone let us know what items they have in the gift shop relating to this exhibit.
posted by DanSachs at 1:35 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


#fatbergiscoming is literally the most terrifying thing I've read since the end of the Cold War.
posted by hippybear at 1:38 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Too bad Mark E. Smith isn’t around to write a song about this.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:40 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]


There are fatberg t-shirts, I kind of want one. The museum shop catalogue is on their website.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:27 PM on February 10


The part that broke me was the exhibition-related merchandise, specifically the "fatberg fudge – quite crumbly, with a piquant rum and raisin flavour."
posted by Athanassiel at 2:27 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the links. I'm going to see this next week and I'm excited. Already wondering if I can buy a friend "Don't feed the fatberg" t-shirt or whether it might be considered insulting.
posted by paduasoy at 2:39 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I made a poop that big once.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:40 PM on February 10


I'm going to see this next week and I'm excited.

Oh, please report back!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:50 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


#fatbergiscoming

Until then, here’s Boris Johnson!
posted by octobersurprise at 3:07 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


My trash goes to an incinerator (trash-to-energy), so grease goes in a tin can until it gets wrapped in lots of newspaper and into the garbage. I have a septic system and am pretty serious about keeping it out of the drain because it can cause problems. Greasy paper towels are used to start fires in the wood stove. Wouldn't really bother me to make soap; I hadn't thought of that.
posted by theora55 at 4:00 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Yes, I used to use all the beef fat, bacon grease, and just a drop of chicken fat mixed together and heated then mixed with peanut butter and bird seed. The birds love it. Now I just don't eat much meat, especially fatty stuff.

Poor burdies.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:37 PM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see a fatberg-themed short story anthology, I'm sure there's some serious urban horror and or fantasy that could be, ah, mined, from the fatberg.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:59 PM on February 10


> Water trucks and operatives out there most nights doing something. I can't say what

Negotiating.

Don't you just uh, eat leftover grease? I mean, used to fry stuff again or on toast if it's solid and tasty.
posted by lucidium at 6:31 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I made a poop that big once

There is a serious medical condition called Megacolon where, yes, your colon gets massively backed up like a Victorian sewer under London. The Wikipedia entry is okay, but you don't want to go a'looking for pictures of this online because heck just don't.

The birds love it

I'm still a bit traumatised to discover, and have this confirmed by the comments in an AskMeFi question, that in some places birds are often given ... suet! ... to eat. Lovely, fantastic, essential, suet.
posted by Wordshore at 6:34 PM on February 10


I'd love to see a fatberg-themed short story anthology, I'm sure there's some serious urban horror and or fantasy that could be, ah, mined, from the fatberg.

pretty sure that Clive Barker has covered that ground already
posted by kokaku at 6:51 PM on February 10


We can live off the fat of the land!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:36 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Little old lady got stuck in it late last week
Fatbergs of London again
posted by taterpie at 8:39 PM on February 10 [11 favorites]


Mr.Encyclopedia: "- Use old glass jars for grease then toss them when they're full."

Glass jars are tricky because they can break when you are pouring grease into them. A tin can is what I use.
posted by Mitheral at 8:39 PM on February 10


‘fatberg lettuce' is your intrusive thought for the day.

Isn’t that just the garbagey-smelling stuff they put on Big Macs?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:01 PM on February 10


Previously.

I know they've taken precautions but I would be afraid to bring this into the museum collections.

"In May 1961, while he was living in Milan, Piero Manzoni produced ninety cans of Artist's Shit. Each was numbered on the lid 001 to 090. Tate's work is number 004. ...
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:10 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Life is like a hurricane
Here in Fatberg
Condoms, tampons, sewer drains
It’s a fat-blur
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:42 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


I will report back! I accept the mission!
posted by paduasoy at 1:14 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Tin can? but what do you use for a lid? I use a glass jar and I guess I wait a bit so it's not super hot and then I store it under the sink until it's full.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:37 AM on February 11


Tin can? but what do you use for a lid? I use a glass jar and I guess I wait a bit so it's not super hot and then I store it under the sink until it's full.

There isn't much information on Manzoni's process in the Tate's writeup, but he must have been using generic new tin cans and new tin can lids.

Tin can sealers are only a few hundred dollars on ebay or aliexpress, if that helps.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:19 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


TWinbrook8: "Tin can? but what do you use for a lid? I use a glass jar and I guess I wait a bit so it's not super hot and then I store it under the sink until it's full."

I don't bother with a lid; I'm just throwing it out so it's not like contamination is a problem. However one could use either reusable pet food lids or buy the sort of can opener that leaves a smooth edge.
posted by Mitheral at 6:23 AM on February 11


I'm sure there's some serious urban horror and or fantasy that could be, ah, mined, from the fatberg.

The Day of the Lipids.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:07 AM on February 11 [9 favorites]


Oh man, post-apocalypse fatberg mining. That will definitely be a thing. I plan on being dead.

In the meantime there's got to be some way of turning this into biodiesel, right?
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 8:52 AM on February 11


Whitechapel fatberg/sits in a box in a museum that carries its name/Londoners to blame

fatberg sitting in the dead of night
made of thrown out things and bits of pie
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:54 AM on February 11 [8 favorites]


Wake up sheeple! It is OBVIOUS, to the few of us who see through the mainstream media, that it is NOT of human origin. A sewer?! How ABSURD. Where has it REALLY been underground? For HOW MANY hundreds or thousands of years? What is it? And why has it chosen to emerge NOW, of all times?

The answer is CLEAR. The mother, the creator, the spawner of her MANY sentient children is COMING TO COLLECT her offspring, signalling them to AWAKEN from long sleep and breach the surface. We are but PARASITES on the surface of their HOST domain, and the hour of joyful rebonding of parent and child is NEAR AT HAND.

ALL PRAISE THE OUMUAMUA, MOTHER OF FATBERG - SHE IS RETURNED.

posted by Wordshore at 10:38 AM on February 11


DILUTE! DILUTE! OK!
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:57 AM on February 11


Museum Director: “I thought they said Fabergé!”
posted by Sys Rq at 12:27 PM on February 11 [6 favorites]


I'm sure there's some serious urban horror and or fantasy that could be, ah, mined, from the fatberg.

One of the Matthew Swift novels by Kate Griffin features an animate fatberg. It goes about as badly as you’d imagine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:45 PM on February 11


For a second there I was sure you were making a Phantoms reference Wordshore.
posted by lucidium at 1:07 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one that now wants to read all about British pies?
posted by Splunge at 2:20 PM on February 11


Yes.

Imagine a sausage. Now imagine that in pie form. That is all one need know.

You do not want to know how the pie is made. Or from which bits of what.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:27 PM on February 11


In your yard, you get maggots and other critters and terrible stink. But it's organic, so it feels wrong to put it in the trash.

Pigs and dogs love stuff like that.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:59 PM on February 11


One of my favorite 90's DJs was Fatberg Slim.
posted by 4ster at 7:48 PM on February 11


Mustn't forget pioneering rap superstars, The Fat Bergs.
posted by rhizome at 11:40 PM on February 11


This thread is actually stimulating my gag reflex, I don't know if I can go through with it. I haven't even read the article.
posted by rhizome at 11:41 PM on February 11


Reporting back. Well, that was underwhelming. It's a very small exhibition, with a video interview with the curator, some photographs, a sewer worker's uniform and some tools (nice clean spade and pick with attractive yellow handles), and the two pieces of fatberg. One is a small crumbly heap of debris. The other ... well, one of the links says "sizeable". Another says shoe box size. I'd say it's about ten inches by five by five.

We did see a fly on it which was a minor highlight, and my niece liked the corner of a chocolate bar wrapper sticking out of it.

I naively thought it would be larger, and also thought there would be more detail about the process of conservation. There are a few stats in the video - 62% fat I think, weighing 150 tons or 11 double-decker 'busses, and 250m long. There's also a bit of information about how they have turned the rest of the fatberg into biodiesel.

I was also a bit disappointed with the souvenirs - no cards! I was planning to sort all my Valentine's Day cards. We bought rum and raisin fatberg fudge.

I can recommend the Roman exhibition, though, which we explored until my father fell asleep in it so we left.
posted by paduasoy at 10:56 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


We did see a fly on it which was a minor highlight, and my niece liked the corner of a chocolate bar wrapper sticking out of it.

One takes what one can get, I suppose.

Thanks for letting us know!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:04 AM on February 26


« Older Witnesses to the nineteenth century   |   How Black Panther is bringing out the global... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments