Tag Archives: food

What A Haul!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Brandon spent the weekend camping and walking on the local Moors, with Army Cadets. I missed him, so I was really glad when he got home, on Sunday evening. But he didn’t come home empty handed…

As well as the sunburnt neck (he forgot to apply sun-block to that bit of him) and a ton of insect bites (I knew we forgot to pack something) he also brought home FOOD.

And not just any food. It was Army issue CAMPING FOOD. He had his own unused packs and he had collected anything nobody else wanted. He knows I love things like that. I love anything that makes me think of a) survival and b) eating. I love tiny food in foil – food on planes, for instance. Mmmm. And I have strange fantasies about living in the wild, making my own shelter and sucking cold chicken stew from a foil pouch. What? That’s a perfectly normal dream.

So now we have a pile of cool little brown tubes, that look like toothpaste but are actually full of Fruit Spread and Yeast Extract. We also have “Action Man” sized bottles of Tabasco Sauce, and individual servings of the world’s hardest biscuits. Then there are the sachets of Hot Chocolate powder and Instant Soup. Best of all though, we have foil-pouched Ready Meals – such as “Chicken Arabbiata” and “Chicken With Herb Dumplings”. And hot desserts, like “Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce” and “Sponge Pudding With Custard”. Yummy! All you have to do is dump them in cold water and bring it to the boil. I almost forgot to mention all the little packs of condiments and the waterproof matches. Brilliant stuff.

I daresay we will eat all these things in time but not actually whilst CAMPING. Dave isn’t very outdoorsy and we don’t have a car at present. Or a tent. But I will still enjoy them… I’ll enjoy the novelty and I’ll pretend I am behind enemy lines, or in space, or camping in the Peak District. Nothing beats food that is chock full of preservatives and dreams of adventure, warmed up in a foil pouch.

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Things So Vile That I Like Them #1 – Oreos

It was as a child that I first noticed the existence of Oreos. They were one of those seemingly exotic things they had in America but we didn’t have in the UK (along with fire hydrants, garbage disposal units, and teeth). As I grew up I saw Oreos mentioned over and over again, in cartoons, on Sesame Street, in films… Oreos were obviously huge  in America but we couldn’t get them here and therefore we couldn’t try them. It was very frustrating, not least because Americans didn’t deserve to get exciting biscuits – for a start they called them “cookies”, which is just wrong.

Think how pleased I was then, in recent years, to find that Oreos were on sale here AT LAST!  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7376123.stm . Oh happy day! I opened my first packet of Oreos with shaking hands and a thrill of anticipation – they looked SO nice. I tasted one… It was actually kind of vile. And by “kind of” I mean it WAS vile. But for some inexplicable reason I still wanted more. I was hooked.

Oreos (as if you didn’t know) taste like somebody has force-fed dark chocolate to a giant rabbit, collected the resulting poos, flattened them into disks and dried them to a brittle hardness. Then they’ve taken the disks, sandwiched them together in pairs, with sweet white creme, and sprinkled the entire batch with salt. I suppose that makes them sound a bit off-putting but they are actually strangely moreish. They most certainly qualify as things so vile that I like them.

Americans dip Oreos in milk, I hear. If you are American – I don’t know how long you’ve been doing that but you are making a huge mistake. Dip them in tea. Milky tea.

English Food

A few years ago an American friend of mine decided to visit the UK. He was really looking forward to his trip but one thing worried him – the prospect of trying to survive on English food. It seems that we English (and Brits generally) have a bad reputation, when it comes to the culinary arts. Below is a perfectly formed scale model of the conversation I had with him (on IM) about his visit, and the food he might be eating: 

 American Friend: I really want to eat traditional English food when I’m in England but I’m nervous about that, because you guys have a reputation for serving up some real crap. I’ve been looking at a website with a list of the best English foods.They’re listed in alphabetical order. I’m looking at B…What is Bread and Butter Pudding?

Me: Oh, it’s lovely! And a good way to use up stale bread! It’s like buttered bread, sultanas and sugar, all covered in an eggy type of custard and baked in the oven. Mmmm.

American Friend: STALE bread? WTF? In America we don’t eat stale food. We throw that shit out.

Me: Well, not ROTTEN bread, just dry, you know?

American Friend: Not rotten? Oh great. Yeah. I have to say, you’re not tempting me here….OK, what’s Bread Pudding?

Me:That’s delicious! My Mother used to make it when I was a kid. That’s a mixture of bread, spices, dried fruit and sugar. It’s baked again but it is firmer and cut into squares, like cake. It, um, it’s a good way to use up dry bread, again…

American Friend:WTF? In America we have a good way to use up dry bread…We call them DUCKS. Do you have ducks in England? Throw them the dry bread and stop using it in f*cking “puddings”! Jesus Christ. Here, try this…What is Black Pudding made with? That sounds hardcore.

Me: That’s savoury, it’s a sliced sausage, you fry it with bacon and eggs.

American Friend: You call a sausage a “pudding”? What kind of meat is that made of? Badger?

Me: No. Well, it’s not exactly MEAT as such anyway…It’s made with….Blood.

American Friend: Holy f*ck.

Me: Hahahaha! Stop it! It’s very nice.

American Friend: I feel sick. Black, fried blood. And that’s a GOOD meal in your country? Like, it’s something you BOAST about on websites? I hardly dare ask what Bubble and Squeak is…

Me: Oh god that’s YUMMY. It’s like Hash Browns but made with a lot of different vegetables and fried!

American Friend: Different? There isn’t one recipe?

Me: Well…It depends what cooked veg you’ve got left over from Sunday lunch…

American Friend: LEFTOVERS? Again? Listen to me…THE WAR IS OVER! Seriously, you can buy new food now!

Me: Hahaha! You’re not going to come here, are you?

American Friend: I might. BUT I’M BRINGING MY OWN FOOD.