Tag Archives: food

Grrrrrrr

Grrrrrrrrr. That’s me trying to convey my anger. I’ll try again. Argghhhhh. Maybe a bit too piratey. I think maybe the first one is better. Anyway, I’m angry. Not livid, just angry.  
“What is the cause of your anger?” I hear you shout. Well, let me tell you…
It was a night much like any other: a winters night. I had left my house with my family, heading to our destination. There were too many of us to fit into one car so we decided to convoy (can convoy be used as a verb?). As the monotonous drone of the wipers complemented the patter of the rain, we sat, not moving, in the local rush hour traffic. This did not make me angry. 


We arrived at the street on which we were to park and found two spaces next to each other. My dad parked behind us and we exited the vehicle. The walk was to be a short one and we had plenty of time. Although it was cold, the rain had stopped. We went to one of those crossings that have an island in the middle of the road. Drivers don’t have to give way but it is simply good manners to do so. As we approached, the traffic was at a standstill and a bus had stopped right in front of the crossing, blocking it from all angles. This was not the cause of my anger. 

The bus moved off and we went into the restaurant. We had the place to ourselves as it was an early hour. The decor was what you expect in a British Chinese eating establishment, the menu looked good and they had one of my favourite things on the drinks menu – Tsing Tao beer. As I was driving home, one bottle was all I would have. I ordered my beer and it came quickly. This is the reason for my anger. 


Why on God’s green Earth would you take the beer from the bottle (which is a container and drinking receptacle that has been chilling in the fridge) and pour it into a warm glass. Why would you take away the fizz? Why would you not ask? If I order a bottle of beer then I want exactly that. If I wanted a glass of beer then I’d order that. If it makes you feel better then give me a glass ‘with’ my bottle. In fact, I didn’t even see the bottle. It could have been any beer in that glass. Angry. 

Restaurant owners, please take note. I want my beer from the bottle. I don’t know why, I just do. 

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Junk mail

recycle your old menus

We live in a block of flats, we being my wife and child and I, and have a constant problem. We are targeted because of where we live, singled out due to our locality, victimised due to our choice of dwelling. “What is it?” I hear you cry, voices full of concern. We are the victims of junk mail. It’s so bad that our estate manager, fed up with collecting mail from the floor and lifts, has put a bin under the bank of post boxes by our door so people can put it from letter box to rubbish in seconds. The worst offenders are as follows

1) Takeaway menus. These seem to multiply at a rate of knots! We have to sift through menus for Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Italian, American, Indian and Greek foods. I caught a guy the other day putting leaflets, plural, in each letter box. I realised that this guy must be employed by a few if the restaurants to place a certain amount of leaflets through a certain amount of doors. Flats + various menus = easy pickings. We should put a sign on our box…

We are creatures of habit. We will order from the same pizza, Thai and Indian eateries every time. It’s not that we are unadventurous, we just don’t order often enough to risk it being crap. Sometimes we walk to the fish and chip shop (although that’s not really relevant to this sign). Please save a tree and move on.

lots of pizza menus and boxes

 

2) Cab cards. These are like business cards for cab companies. They are small, thin, shiny and a bugger to pick up if you have sausage fingers and bite your nails. I fall into both of these categories and will often be seen, and laughed at, by my neighbours with my hand stuck in the letter box. Some choice phrases will often accompany this activity.

3) Dear homeowner. These are relatively new ones on us. It’s a letter that tells us that they have someone lined up to buy our flat. The bit I don’t get is why they wouldn’t ask us first and then go out looking for prospective buyers. It would be like me painting a picture portrait of you and then asking if you if you would like to buy it. Of course I know they are lying to me but I do find myself tempted to phone them and ask them for a) the name of the agent (estate not secret) who has been staking out my home b)ask them who he has been showing it to and c) why I haven’t seen him while doing my counter intelligence surveillance? I could even try to bill them for my James Bond spy kit.

 

007 spy kit for kids james bond

This is on top of all the regular rubbish that comes through our door. My bank seems to be desperate for me to take a loan, companies I used once in 2007 think I might still want to be a customer, credit card companies pre approve me for 10,000 on a regular basis and British gas still ask if I want to go to their AGM even though my shares are worth about as much as a happy meal.

Yep, all in all I think I throw away more than I read. I suppose that maybe, just maybe, I might need a mini cab or my favourite restaurant might shut down or I might decide to sell up. I would hope though that, being the awkward bugger I am, I wouldn’t use any company that has put a leaflet through my door out of pure two finger salutedness. A big up yours, if you will, to those who would like to influence my decision making process.

Next week I shall attempt to tackle virtual junk mail without swearing. Until then enjoy your weekend.

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It’s grim up north?

Well no, it’s not. Having just got back from a small town outside of Leeds (Heckmondwike), I found it rather a relaxing experience. Yes the journey up there was long and full of delays, yes the M1 is a horrid motorway and yes, the boy screamed for a large part of the journey. But when you get up north certain things change for the better. Here comes my list of northern wonders. most of them car based…

1) people drive normally. Someone said to me the other day that driving in London is like driving in a race. I think she was right. I turn into a real arse in London traffic. I don’t let anyone out or in, I put my foot down when I don’t need to and I swear (a lot). Up in the Leeds area I was let out by a nice lady, in turn I let someone else out. I can’t remember the last time I was let out in London (and in turn I can’t remember the last time I let someone out).

2) crossing the road. Where I live you have a 50/50 chance of some one in a car stopping for a pedestrian even on a designated crossing. Where I work this percentage drops to zero. When visiting my friends, a young man (in a hot hatch sported up car with a very loud stereo) let us across the road and it wasn’t even a crossing. His music still sucked though!

3) the pace of life. People walk around up north, they don’t march. If you stroll in London then you get barged past more often than not. If you don’t run off the tube and to the escalator then you get pushed along. This happens irrespective of age, ability or what you are carrying (even if what you are carrying is a small child). I can’t see the need to run between stops, 20 seconds isn’t gonna make that much difference, you’re not that important.

So there we go. I really liked my visit up to Leeds, it was relaxing and rejuvenating. Will I be moving up there? Not a chance. I like the pace of life down here as much as my friends like the pace of life up where they live. We do like to visit each other, but as Dorothy said ‘there’s no place like home’. If only I had some ruby slippers and didn’t have to use the M1 motorway.

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School dinners

Being a teacher, I have the opportunity to have free meal on a daily basis. If I wish, I can go down to the dinner hall (the same one we use for assemblies and PE when it’s raining), sit with my lovely class (no sarcasm there, they are an odd bunch but very lovely) and have a free hot meal. I never do this. Why? Here comes a list…

1) I get loads, they don’t. I get given enough to stuff me. I reckon it’s about 3 times as much as the kids. I know that they can’t all have massive lunches but it does at times seem a bit like Oliver Twist. “Please mrs meal time supervisor, I want more”.

2) the waste drives me nuts. Having said about the tiny portions, there are children who just don’t eat. They sit and pick at the food until no one is watching the quickly run up and chuck it into the overflowing food bin. My mum would have told them about the starving children across the world and then made them eat.

3) it’s not very nice. Sorry, and no offence intended, but it’s mass catering made with ingredients from the lowest bidder. If your looking for quality then you have to pay for it and no parent would pay £5 a day for school dinners, at least not in the area I work.

4) the custard hug. This is the worst! Basically it’s a big hug from one of the younger kids who have just finished their pudding. Your jumper, shirt or cardigan is then covered in whatever is still on their face. At that age they miss their mouth many times a meal. The worst part is though that they are so cute you can’t tell them off.

5) they don’t do coffee. I am a teacher. I need coffee.

I do feel that the dinner staff do a good job with the products they get. I do also feel that it is much healthier than when I was a kid. Long gone are the days of thick chocolate cake and pink custard (imagine that on Masterchef) or of Jamie Oliver’s nemesis, the turkey twizzler. So it is better, it’s just not that great.

My favourite at school was the arctic role. Ice cream wrapped in soggy sponge, but maybe the memory of it is better than the actual thing itself. What was yours?

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There’s no encouragement to drink less.

I went out the other night. A very rare treat as I have a young son and a demanding and time consuming job. I had a really good night and had a couple of drinks to boot. While in the bar I asked my wife what she would like, I went to the bar, ordered my drinks and was asked the killer question… Would you like an extra measure/shot for only 60 pence. I of course said yes. I went back and gave my wife a much larger drink than she had asked for, explaining that it wasn’t much more money. She turned to me, thanked me and said “they never encourage you to drink less”. It struck me that in our health conscious world surely they shouldn’t be promoting more alcohol. Surely they should make it harder to get drunk and hence damaging your organs not easier. This seems to me to be one of a long line of ‘more, more, more’ culture. Here are my others…

1) BOGOF. The ‘buy one get one free’ offer always gets me. I fall for it every time. Either I a) change what I was going to buy and get the deal or b) buy something I didn’t go in for in the first place. I once saw a man have an argument over cheese, he only wanted one block of cheese but it was on a BOGOF offer. The girl on the checkout was so perplexed that he only wanted one block she was insisting he go get another. The other problem is when there is only one left. Even though I would buy that product individually, and I really don’t need double the amount, I will still pick an alternative as I feel like I was being done out of free stuff if I bought just one.

2) cinema. The cinema meal deal is as expensive as a real meal. Seriously. Having been recently, I asked for a large coke and a small popcorn, the reply was ‘you can get a large coke and a large popcorn for only £8.75’. Only? Only? My dinner later that evening cost about £10.00. As an aside, I tried the popcorn, it was stale, I told the person behind the counter and she asked me, not her boss, If I thought she should do a fresh batch. Erm no thanks, I’ll eat the stale stuff.

3) Fast food: supersize anyone? Why should my blood have an easy job getting through my arteries? Bring it on.

I am yet to walk into a bar and be asked “for the sake of your liver, would you like to pay 60 pence less and get half the amount?” I suppose that wouldn’t make much business sense, just common sense. At this festive time of year I am reminded of Richard Attenborough in miracle on 34th street sending people to where they can get toys cheaper. The best we can hope for is an asda (Walmart) price promise. Come shop with us, go check every item on line and we might give you back 59 pence. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas.

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A piece of cake

April is my friend. April the person, not April the month (all though I quite like that too).  A very simple statement, but one that took a lot of thinking about. It’s not that I had to think about whether or not I like April. She is a very lovely lady who I have never heard say a bad word about anyone. Even further than that really, as she always seems to find the positive. If I say that someone is a horrid person she will respond with a ‘yeah I suppose,  but maybe they were just having a bad day’ or ‘maybe they would be nicer if…’
A very wonderful quality that I most certainly don’t possess.

It’s  just that she was my friends girlfriend for a while before she became my friend as well.  Let me try to explain what I mean, in list form of course.

1) up to 1 month. You meet the person once or twice and have a very quick ‘aren’t they nice’ or ‘what the hell is he doin with her?’ if you get the first comment then phase 2 comes in

2) 1 month to 6 months. How do they get on with your partner? You rely on the judgement and opinions of the significant other in your life because, let’s face it, you chat with your mate and leave the girls to it. Sexist? You bet. I didn’t make the rules though.

3) 6 months to 1 year. You end up in a one on one conversation with them. This may have happened before but this conversation is much longer. Do you have much to talk about other than your mate, their boyfriend. If so then that leads us to…

4)1 year and on.  would you meet them for a coffee/drink, email/text them or chat on the phone with them without you, them or your respective partners thinking it is a bit weird or odd or awkward?

If you can get through all of these, and April and I have, then you can call them YOUR friend and not ‘my friends girlfriend/wife’.  So yes, April is my friend.

Anyway, on to the real reason for chatting about my friend April. She is an author. She has a book. You can buy it on amazon and in various good bookshops. April is a cake magician.

I don’t mean that she makes cakes disappear , quite the opposite in fact. April makes cake pops. She takes a piece of chocolate cake, puts it on a stick and then makes it look like anything you want. Bride and groom cake pops, celebrity cake pops, you name it, she can do it. My favourite by far though is the one that looks like a bag of popcorn you get at the cinema. The other great thing about them is that they taste as good as they look.

 

So if you have the time, and if you are so inclined, go check her and her book out.

Top of the cakepops

Aprils website

 

 

 

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Tis the season

1st of December already.

The kids in class have been asking for Christmas music, the Christmas displays are already up, the Christmas staff do is booked. More important by far though… The Christmas jumper is on.

Hello mince pies, hello Nat, Bing and Frank, hello mulled wine. Most important by far though… Hello Santa, long time no see.

I can’t wait!

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