18-09-2020

I make no apologies for occasionally returning to a subject that seriously gets on my wick; as I see it all the time on social media and frankly it’s getting worse. The subject of course is food, and all those foodie fascists out there wagging their - Oh so censorious fingers at us, as they sigh deeply and tell us what we should really be eating this week. We get it: we’re all bordering on fat (can I say that?) and we all eat much too much processed crap that is really bad for us in the long term. Indeed, a few more vegetables wouldn’t go amiss and it might be a good idea not to be permanently legless. However, the best source of advise is probably not the small army of faddists who will climb aboard any new ‘foodstuff’ bandwagon as soon as it deemed fashionable and rejected as quickly for something a little more ‘now’ the day after tomorrow. It appears to me that the main protagonists in all this nonsense are middle-class women with marginally more money than sense. For instance, what in the name of sanity is Quinoa? Yes, that one! You find yourself in a situation where you have to attempt to pronounce the ‘quinoa’ word and get it - “all wrong darling” and women (it’s always women) giggle behind their hands in a patronising fashion and exclaim - “It’s actually ‘keen-wah” they say - and you immediately want them to die a horrible death by a thousand farts. Indeed, is there any so-called organic foodstuff that is not supposed to be good for you or actually tastes quite good? No, there is not, because part of all this nonsense is a sort of self-flagellation that some women feel that they must go through to convince themselves that fish & chips and meat pies are the invention of the devil.

I reckon that all this hair-flicking healthfulness, is being encouraged by certain fashionable cafes and stylish eating establishments. These achingly cool places know that they can’t, nor want to compete with the fast-food big-boys, yet are quite willing to charge a small fortune for a bowl of coloured rice, a tasty floret of kale and one sprig of coriander - yum yum! All of which is okay I suppose, if you don’t mind suffering from chronic flatulence but it’s the constant virtue signalling that I can’t abide. Nor would I like to be their children either; imagine coming home from school after a hard day staring out-of-the-window and being greeted by a turmeric and coconut milk latte - instead of a glass of Ribena and a sausage roll? Suffer the little children, that’s what I say. Meanwhile, I haven’t even started yet on the modern day rip-off that is buying a cup of coffee. For many years now, whilst taking a break from bashing out pleasing prose for you lot and quietly going about my business, I’ve always made it a priority to find a pleasant local cafe where I can sit with a coffee and read my Bulletin whilst ordering a pastry or sandwich. Without betraying my basic meanness, mostly a good strong cup of cafe con-leche will set me back between 1.40 to 1.60 euros; surely this is how it should be in a well ordered world? Well, no, not really apparently. Without seeking to bore you more than I usually do; recently I treated a friend to a coffee and a bun at a well known franchise and almost fainted-off when presented with the 20 euro bill. How bloody much? - seems to be my exclamation of choice nowadays I know, but come on, really?

Anyway, back in the real world, a recent British government backed study has revealed that a modern weekly shopping basket has changed considerably over the past five years. Tragically, something called ‘meat based snacks’ are in decline, which is a pity, because within this sub-section of grub lies such wonderful things such as - pork pies, sausage rolls, Cornish pasties and scotch eggs…of which I have a long term addiction. Happily, not all meat based snacks are on their way out. Quiche Lorraine, the epitome of food sophistication in the 1970’s is now seeing a revival along with mashed potato ready meals and Black Tower wine (I may have made that last one up!). You may have noticed, but it appears that there are no sudden surges in the area of supposed ‘must haves’ such as quinoa, goats cheese, walnut pesto, or any of that other criminally expensive ‘la-di-da’ bits of food that we are told are a modern day must? However, across the board, the biggest jump in consumer consumption has been in ‘athleisure’ wear. I know, don’t laugh. If the British nation as a whole is getting ever bigger, why then the sudden upsurge in the popularity of leggings and crop-tops - are all these folk flocking to the gym or yoga classes to get fit or slim down? Nah, don’t be daft, it’s all about looking like you might go to the gym occasionally, rather than actually doing it - it’s appearing to be fit without making the effort. Just like wearing a white coat doesn’t make you a doctor, or yelling at people in a pub on a Saturday night doesn’t make you a singer I suppose. Anyway, enough of all that, I’ve just been told that I’m having cauliflower cheese for lunch and all I can think of is - why would anyone want to eat that combination? Best not say anything though - you know, discretion being the better part of valour and all that. And yes, believe it or not, cauliflower - a foodstuff hated by school children for generations, is now about as ‘cool’ as any revolting foodstuff can be I’m told. Not for long though, I bet!

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