LIKE most things, it may be very bad for you if consumed to excess, but I simply love red meat – the redder the better!

There are few things better than tucking into a steak so rare it almost moos when you stick your fork in it.

The juices trickle down your throat like the rarest nectar, and there’s always plenty to mop up with a nice slice of crusty bread.

It has to be served with chips, of course, along with thickly cut fried onions – none of that onion rings nonsense – flat mushrooms and garden peas.

Family members frequently gag when they see the blood gushing behind the knife when I cut into my sirloin, but they really don’t know what they are missing.

My late father in law was a stickler for meat being cooked so thoroughly not a trace of red remained anywhere in the joint.

His steak was hidden somewhere under a thick black crust of carbon and looked as tasty as the contents of a crematorium urn.

He would eye my gory plate with unconcealed disdain, which grew more pronounced with every bloody forkful that went into my mouth.

He would declare: “Yer’ll mek yerself bad eating raw meat like that – yer’ll be on a drip afore yer pudden!

“Eatin’ meat like that one of the reasons you’re such a stoot lad!”

He was unimpressed by my pointing out: “Cheetahs eat their meat raw – and you’ve never seen a fat one of those!”

When I was about 11, my brother and I used to “help out” a local butcher boy with his deliveries round our estate.

He would deliver all manner of meaty goods to dozens of homes from the back of an old, non refrigerated estate car, but his stocks were also being depleted by his two helpers.

They munched their way through their own weight in raw sausage, stewing steak and the odd pork pie every day.

It should be noted that a rare steak is not even my favourite meal – I would swap it for a plateful of rare pig’s liver in the sizzle of a skillet.

For some reason, pig’s liver seemed to have fallen out of favour with some of the bigger supermarkets, and the only offal on offer tends to be lamb’s liver, which I find too dry for my tastebuds.

Lamb’s liver is cut into tiny little bits, while pig’s liver comes in thick chunky slabs to delight the palate.

Thankfully, ox liver also appears to be a thing of the past, dying of shame after being served in school dinners for aeons, complete with grisly inedible tubes of uncertain origin.

It has always been a source of regret that liver is seldom served in restaurants in this country, and when it is, it invariably tougher than Mike Tyson’s lower body protector.

Yet go abroad, and liver is served the way God intended, flash fried to seal in the juices, and served straight from the pan to send the saliva jetting copiously.

The other thing about liver is that is is ridiculously cheap, with a huge plateful costing less than quid at discerning supermarkets.

It seems to have disappeared from our local Tesco in recent months, but on a recent trip to Morpeth, there it was in Morrison’s, all purple and pristine, and we couldn’t wait to get it home and into the pan.

And what a treat it was, with two clean plates and contented smiles all night.

There was another surprise on the shelves of the Morpeth Morrison’s which I have never seen in any Hexham supermarket over the past 40-odd years – pre-packed tripe!

As a young man, I was as close as you can get to being a tripeaholic, shovelling down tons of lightly washed cows’ stomachs whether thick seam, honeycomb or blanket.

Tripe was served in chip shops in Macclesfield, as curry and other exotica are now, and there was no finer treat than a plateful of honeycomb, liberally soused in malt vinegar.

It was one of the things I missed most when I left Macclesfield for Tynedale in the early 1970s.

The others on the list were steak and kidney puddings, Vimto and dark mild beer.

So it was a real treat when my sister arrived on a visit, bringing with her a man-sized portion of thick seam for my delectation.

I tucked in with gusto, under the horrified gaze my eldest son, who ran out of the kitchen at speed shouting: “Mam, come quick – Dad’s eating the baby’s nappy!”