Game time

Words: Fergus Henderson   Illustration by Fergus Henderson

Game time

All hail the glorious twelfth


We at St. John are worshippers of the Great Chef in the Sky.

All hail The Glorious Twelfth! This is the moment when that great benevolent being begins to hurl his bounty down from the skies, grouse first and then, when those birds start to toughen from all their ducking and diving, that is the divine sign that it’s the turn of the mighty partridge… then plentiful pheasant… then the wholistic Woodcock. They hail upon us, one glorious sacrifice after another, while in the kitchen their delicious Autumnal musk rises from our fires like incense. Here are my instructions for a ritual to appease and encourage the Great Chef in the Sky. It is much like a rain dance, so this is a game dance and, of course, there is an accompanying chant to really give him his due. Don’t be shy, the key here is vigour and resolve. Take a wooden spoon, gather your energies and channel the force of the game bird.


Begin slowly, wave your spoon, start your chant:


Chant to the Great Chef in the Sky
Woooh–Way! Oooooh–ee!
Wing [tap tap] Wing!
Aiiiii-Ah! Aiiii-Ah!
Wah-hi-ni-ha. Wah-hi-ni
The mighty musk
Mighty Musk


Sport? Lunch!