food

Eat my words

I will eat my words

I will eat my words

The red-haired woman is very angry with her husband.  She asked him to write a note, a sort of memo to the staff but he had done a very bad job of saying the right thing.  The angry wife tells me to review the note and re-write it. Then she says lots of things that she does not like about her husband till my head hurts and I forget where I am.

I find the husband hiding at the back of the book shop between self-help and foreign languages. He is tall, lanky, nervous and has poor control of his limbs, as though he just grew into a man only moments ago and hasn’t quite got used to his new proportions. He is wearing a navy jumper over a sage green shirt, mustard yellow corduroy trousers and tan moccasins. His short, brown, utilitarian hair is reminiscent of schoolboy crops.  I ask to see his note and he hands me a jar of puffed rice and it tumbles but I catch it before it smashes on the floor.  He pulls a crumpled handkerchief from his pocket and mops his brow.

I clutch the jar carefully to my chest and walk to the wooden bench in the window and take a pew on a wobbly stool.  I dip a stainless steel dessert spoon in and eat a spoonful of puffed rice.  It is coloured brown and seasoned with soya sauce and star anise.  As I chew a mouthful, a sentence emerges from mist in my mind. Each grain of rice is a word and each spoonful I eat, a sentence. The saltiness of the rice is so tastily moreish that I gobble more and more. Words drop down my jumper and land on the floor and passers-by tread on them and as grains of rice crunch under boot heels and get stuck in shoe grooves and carried to the pavement, their meaning is shattered into tiny alphabet crumbs.

I eat over half the jar, almost the whole memo, till my belly swells and I undo my belt and top button before remembering with a final gulp of Asia’s grain, that I cannot edit a note if I eat it all. But how strange it is, I ponder, that crumbs are the alphabet and rice is words and mouthfuls are sentences and a full jar of rice is one complete, imperfect note.

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She’s an Easy Peeler?

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09.03, Friday 5th September 2014

My hair is damp from the shower and my appetite is unsatisfied after a not very easy to peel, yet pleasingly sweet clementine. I’m moderately irritated that I was deceived into parting with fifty pence extra to taste the difference and improve my access to fruit. Surely this marketing implies that fruit for fifty pence less is not tasty. If this is the case, why is it being sold in the first place? If you cannot afford tasty, easy peel fruit, you must battle through thick-skin that will inevitably wedge itself uncomfortably under your thumb nail to reach a meagre reward of pithy, bland, stale-tasting citrus.

Supermarkets have cashed in on the fact that consumers prefer to get to their fruit effortlessly. Consumers want convenient fruit with a thin, supple skin that comes away from the inner flesh in one, aesthetically appealing spiral. We want easy, quick pickings. A commercial genius realised that varying prices can be applied not only to the edible part of the fruit but also to the skin, nature’s very own biodegradable packaging.

Bananas, although readily willing to give up their soft, sweet, yellow flesh to any remotely dexterous creature, have an easily bruised package.  Consumer distaste for mushy, brown bits and our fondness for the finger-herb at a rate of consumption of 100 nanas per Briton per year, that’s over 5 billion bananas eaten every year in the UK alone, inspired the invention of products like the banana guard and the ridiculous use by it’s makers of the term ‘banana trauma’.

Mango, papaya, passion fruit, kiwi and melon, although delightful exotics, require preparation and are perhaps consumed more at weekends when people have time to peel, scrape and chop.

The dragon fruit’s hot pink skin belies its disappointing lack of flavour. So once one has ventured beneath the vibrant surface, you learn that dragon fruit simply does not provide bang for your buck. Nature is a liar, the dragon is a myth that haveth not fire.

The pomegranate that has reached the dizzying status of superfood is frustratingly messy and time-consuming to access with endless tapping to remove its reluctant jewelled seeds. Its juice is so tricky to extract that some health seekers will pay the exorbitant price charged by one popular brand of £5.01 per litre!

And don’t even talk to me about coconuts. I have battled with hammer and blunt knives against the woody shell of that sweet, white fruit. Anyone who buys a coconut more than once, is almost certainly an expert with a machete and is probably best avoided, if not reported to the local constabulary.

Supermarket misrepresentation of citrus fruit has highlighted the following things:

1. I am an unfocused, irritable, trivial and hungry human, just cellular gunk with a wavering conscience applied to matters of little consequence and I am in need of a leaden piece of yeast extract-smeared rye toast.
2. I abhor the cunning of a market that capitalises on fruit peel.
3. I am angered by my own suggestibility.
4. I shall not pay Lord Henry Super Money Bags Market more money to get into my fruit. To hell with it! I might even buy an orange next time.

In the words of the young Russian chap in the unmissable blockbuster film below entitled: ‘You’ve Been Peeling Clementines Wrong’,

‘Don’t get offended. Boom! Just pull it off and eat it, pull it off and eat it.’

love

Fruitloops

Cue tenuous musical exit