Mrs. T ran from the rum
Grocer's daughter Margaret Thatcher tasted a mouthful of Christmas pudding today after being shown how it could be cooked in five minutes in a microwave—but refused rum with it because she had to make a speech.
She then said that she has no microwave.
Mrs. T did, however, reveal her knowledge of cooking poultry when she visited Leeds today to open supermarket chain ASDA's £15m showcase HQ in Gt Wilson Street.
After being shown how to cook turkeys safely, she said: “It must not be overcooked or it goes dry.”
Mrs Thatcher was told that ASDA's pre-prepared birds are cooked at a constant 82 Celsius.
During her visit HQ staff demonstrated electronic controls used to test the proper cooking of poultry products, which are currently at the centre of a salmonella health scare.
She was obviously impressed by the department and revealed her personal seasonal preference.
“I like the white meat best but Denis always goes for the dark meat.”
Then she saw the Christmas pudding-microwave demonstration, but because of lack of time a planned shopping list on the computer had to be abandoned when Mrs Thatcher visited the group's new teleshop scheme.
Had time permitted, however, she could have ordered christmas pudding, cakes, mince pies and other seasonal goodies and had them delivered within minutes of her order.
The scheme, an innovation linked to old people's homes and community centres in London, enables people who cannot otherwise get to a busy supermarket to order from home.
Mrs Thatcher said: “I'm told we are going to get these at home eventually. It will be very useful.”
When told that the pilot scheme had 300 customers she said she was sure there would be many more once other people heard about it.
As Mrs Thatcher left the headquarters she told staff: “What we make in Britain these days is best and it's going to stay that way.
“It is a great honour to be here and an even greater treat now that I have been round. I have loved every moment.
“Your products are the best and you are determined no-one will have higher standards. They are lovely and very tempting.
“I still think we can make the best things in Britain. By building buildings like this ASDA is playing a full part in the entire life of the country. And as you prosper yourselves you are also going all out to help others.”
The chain was praised for its work with the disabled and for its charity efforts and its in-house training programmes.
Mrs Thatcher was whisked away in her Jaguar car en route for Northallerton before questions could be asked on shipping job losses in the north east or her views on Leeds firm Vickers winning the lucrative contract for the Army's new tanks.
Earlier she was presented with a Teddy bear which she said she would place under her tree.
Mrs Thatcher was visiting Northallerton this afternoon to visit the York Trailer Company.
Bosses of the 30-year-old firm had a success story to tell her, for earlier this year it underwent a management buy-out by a consortium of 26 senior managers who plan to invest £3m next year to improve productivity.
This will also mean that the firm already employing 420 people at its 30 acre site will be able to take on another 60 employees.
Mr John Kennedy, a company official said: “We are not only the UK market leaders but have just recently set up our own sites in Holland, Denmark and Ireland to help our exports.
And we recently acquired Italy's No 2 trailer manufacturing company, near Milan.”