Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Once upon a time in west London

You are not the kind of gal who would be at a place like this at this time of morning.

But the fridge is barren and it's nearly high noon.

Online supermarkets are lawless territories. They remind you of the wild west, or at least the spaghetti west, where knackered homesteaders are forever waiting around for stagecoaches.

The man with the van finally arrives. You try not to panic. You know something weird will ambush you from the grocery bags.

He tells you to have a good day. You are not fooled. You unpack gingerly.

Rocket Science.
You watch like a hawk the food item gremlin: that one item of shopping that looked delicious in the picture, but is actually crap in real life.

You are no turnip. You know it will jump out and sneer at you like Jack Palance.

This time it's the rice.

You ordered rice. In a bag.

The man with a van has brought you vacuum-packed, half-cooked, microwavable rice. Not in a bag.

Though you are an old hand at Molvanian marketing, the label really takes the cake:
We understand that cooking rice can be a chore. That's why we have done all the hard work for you. Rice so good you will never need to cook it from scratch again. Microwavable in two minutes. Suitable for vegetarians. 
You mumble "suitable for idiots". Then you feel like an idiot. Luckily no one is watching, except maybe Jack Palance.

You chuck the inferior bag-less rice into the microwave in a huff.

You lean against the counter and recall other hateful food impostors of note: low-fat yogurt, non-alcoholic beer, margarine, decaf anything.

You wonder: when did cooking bog standard rice become challenging? How do these rice-baffled people manage to spoon breakfast cereal into the correct location? How do they muster the energy to chew cake?

That beloved word triggers a vivid memory of every beautiful piece of cake you've ever met in every gin joint in this town. Chocolate cake. Coffee cake. Banana cake. Lemon cake. Carrot cake.

Then you realize with a start that you've let the microwave run far longer than two minutes. Now you have scorched crap rice all over your microwave.

You are a turnip. The food item gremlins - perhaps even the terrorists - have won.

Somewhere, Jack Palance is smiling.


  1. Oh wow, I used to curse the 'alernatives' which were offered when my normal things had run out! What I would give to be able to online food shop now though, it doesn't exist here yet! On a happier note, I did find some Scottish smoked salmon and a tin of faked beans today :)x

  2. Baked beans! I don't think they're fake...

  3. I have had that rice before at friends houses. It is truly revolting stuff indeed. Whilst I miss online shopping, I don't miss the rather odd things that turned up as "replacements" including lemon washing up liquid instead of lemons on one occasion (no, really!)...

  4. Must say the thought of faked beans makes me both furious and terrified at the same time...I hope wild west online shopping comes to your neighbourhood soon :)

  5. Ha ha....I know what you mean, the dreaded "substitutes". Look if its not there then don't give me anything else....Please....

  6. I once had 27 tins of Silvo polish turn up with the delivery man. Thing was, it was intentional (long story, they were a request from abroad). Delivery man was very perplexed and had kept 26 of them to one side in case it was my mistake.

  7. Hah, wonderful. The poor delivery man probably still has nightmares about Silvo polish ;)