|Evening Telegraph, Thursday March 28th 1974, by Ruth Garrod
He has fingers in every pie
Cliff Iliffe isn't a candlestick maker, but he is a butcher and a baker, and a grocer as well. The pork butchery came first, and his son, Alan, who is in the business with him at the bottom of Church Street, Rushden, is a fourth generation butcher.
Iliffe's, with its trio of interests, is a fascinating place, and many of the customers are surely lured in by the smell of newly-baked pies and bread, and sometimes piping hot faggots.
Tuesday is hot faggot day no marks for guessing what half the local populace has at Tuesday dinner times. The faggots, made in large blocks and sold at 15p a pound, are made by Cliff, with lights and pigs' hearts. They are on sale from about 11.0 am. in time for the houswives coming out of the shoe factories to pick up on their way home. On other days faggots are available cold.
The pies made at Iliffe's are like home-made ones. They are not made in vast quantities, but enough are produced for their own customers, and they are sold fresh each day.
I found Mr Iliife senior with a mountain of pastry he had made, putting the finishing-touches to the latest batch of well-filled pies. There were chicken pies and steak pies big enough to serve five or six people, at 28½p, and half size ones at 16½p.
Their 1lb. pork pies are 28p and they make them up to 3½lb. They also make apple pies, sausage rolls and pastries. Recently they have been developing a service for freezer owners, making pies for deep freezing.
Shopping at a small family firm, one is made to feel that nothing is too much trouble. Several years ago, Cliff Iliffe frequently heard customers complaining of the lack of taste and rubbery texture of sliced wrapped bread from the multiple bakeries.
He had ovens in premises at the back of the shop for cooking hams and meat and baking pies. "Why not make bread here, too?" he thought.
It meant starting at five in the morning. "It's two hours from starting on it to getting it into the oven. You can't hurry bread," he said. They make enough for their own shop's requirements, but also make rolls for special ordersfor anyone giving a party, for instance and for Rushden and Higham Ferrers Rugby Club.
It is small firms like Iliffe's, producing comparatively small quantities of pies, that help retain a little individuality in what we eat.