Monday, September 24, 2007

The Roundhead approach to Cavalier food


AS THE Chinese curse goes, may you live in interesting times. Things are getting weird around here, with Gordon shaking hands with the Blessed Margaret on the doorstep of Number 10 while the Tories decide to make themselves unelectable by announcing that they’re going to impose further taxes on holidays, decent cars and your 42-inch plasma telly. Just about everything that a protégé Tory would desire then.

Policy is being made up on the hoof – there is no legal precedent for bailing out Northern Rock and, presumably, now every other financial institution, however reckless, will feel entitled to the same protection – and daft ideas are announced daily without any debate or, apparently, much thought.

Take this £120 that Wee Gordie Broon’s boys have decided to give to pregnant women so they can buy “healthy food”, the money to be paid in the seventh month of pregnancy. Was there any consultation with the medical establishment before it was announced?

I ask because anyone with a remote understanding of biology (or anyone who has been force-marched to those horrendous pre-natal classes) knows that the bun in the oven is pretty well baked by that stage. All it’s doing by then is lying around breaking wind and kicking while coming up with 100 inventive ways to make your life hell over the next 20 years.

(The birth of my first child was completely painless. I was summoned from my bed, walked into the delivery suite, fainted, and woke up on a trolley an hour later with the whole messy thing over.)

The key stage in the development of a foetus is in the first 24 weeks. That’s when the nutrients are important, and when broccoli and liver are more beneficial than Findus Crispy Pancakes and a six-pack of alcopops. There is also less chance at that stage that the mum-to-be will fritter the money away on things like coal and gherkins, mainly because she won’t be able to keep much down.

So the whole thing is just nonsense. The money will not serve its purpose by the time it comes through. So expect to see lots of seven-month pregnant women waddling down your High Street wearing new shoes. And a hat.

I WONDER what Gillian and Sky Rees would spend the money on? Scratchcards? Supermarket cider? Twenty Superkings and a month’s supply of takeaway kebabs?

I ask, in this judgemental manner, because the sisters are the latest additions to the ranks of the dreaded Underclass. Luckily, we have the Daily Mail to alert us to their presence. So here we go.

Gillian, 19, has two children, one by Gavin and one by Barry. She says: “I’ve wanted kids since I was 12. I was sick of babysitting other people’s and wanted one of my own.” She achieved her ambition at the age of 14.

Sky is 16 and also has two children – Johnpaul and Connorlee (no, really) – both by her boyfriend Jamie, with whom she lives.

Mother Pauline, who has five children by an assortment of fathers, says: “The more the merrier. When my children grew up I felt so sad. I wanted babies in my house again. I adore kids.” So that’s alright then.

Shall we do the sums? No-one anywhere in this extended family works. Both girls receive £160 a week in child benefit and tax credits, as well as £180 a fortnight in jobseekers’ allowance, plus free council house accommodation and council tax. Their mother pockets the jobseekers’ allowance (yeah, right) plus another £8,000 in child tax credit because Sky is still under 18. (Is it just me or is this utter madness?)

One final point in mitigation. They’re all Welsh.

I WENT out to dinner the other week with a mixed crowd of people. Most of them were fine, managing to find something on the lengthy menu that they’d like to eat, but one stick-thin, rather needy women was an utter pain from start to finish.

I swear that there were probably 50 dishes listed on the Italian restaurant we visited, most of them, by the nature of their ingredients, cooked from fresh. But could she find something “safe” to eat? No chance.

The waiter was summoned. She was lactose intolerant, so couldn’t eat dairy products, had a problem with wheat and also had a nut allergy. What could he recommend? Baffled by this Roundhead approach to Cavalier food, he summoned the chef.

He was very tolerant, trying to explain to her that for someone who couldn’t eat wheat, a restaurant primarily serving pasta probably wasn’t the wisest of choices. In the end, and after much anguish for the rest of the starving pack, she settled for an egg white omelette and some rocket. Frankly, I could have slapped her round her self-obsessed chops, but I was suddenly too busy sucking the marrow out of a veal bone.

And now, quelle surprise, we find out that three million Britons are suffering from “imaginary” food intolerances. Apparently 12 million of us claim to be allergic to everything from mustard to milk, but fewer than a quarter have any medical evidence to support their fastidiousness.

So that’s 10 million people then who are merely fussy eaters. Goodness knows what my Gran would have made of it all. She once served me the same plate of cabbage for the first five days of a six-week summer holiday until I “ate it all up”. She never did work out why her dog had such bad wind all afternoon.

SOMEHOW YOUR heroes always end up letting you down. I can cope with those who fall victim to human frailty – drugs, drink, sex addiction, that sort of thing. But Paddington Bear has survived all of those only to betray his principles for a big cheque, and that’s unforgiveable.

Selling his soul by forsaking marmalade to promote Marmite in a television advert is a Wellington-booted step too far. I hope he’s happy with his little pot of gold.

WE’RE STILL
talking food, and the decision of Mars to introduce smaller versions of their popular chocolate bars which has been heralded as a huge step in the fight against obesity.

Who do they think they’re kidding? This is just a scam. They’ve been shrinking our confectionary for years. Just look at what’s happened to Wagon Wheels, for instance. They used to be the circumference of a saucepan lid. Now they’re the size of a £2 coin.


This is just a way to make more money while pretending to care about the consumer. And the daftest thing? The mini bars will only be available in packs of 10. Rather defeats the point, when the porkers out there will just snuffle them two at a time.

6 Comments:

Blogger Hugh Miller said...

About the Mars. Remember they had the King Size bars which they stopped making to help with obesity.

By bringing out the 'Duo' version. For sharing obviously. Sharing with the mirror and the tears no doubt.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With reference to the Welsh, surley thats a good argument for the reindroction of the workhouse?

1:52 AM  
Blogger Trevor said...

I could possibly agree with the sentiments of the anonymous poster registering sympathy for the Welsh.
Other than the fact he can't spell surely or re-introduction.

Clearly educated West of Offas Dyke (and that ain't no Lesbian in Lidl with a full basket..)

2:04 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think you'll find that the Underclass (or lesser-spotted Chav) is an English creation that unfortunately settled on this side of Offa.

As for smaller Mars bars, have you seen packs of Walkers crisps lately? I rarely find enough crisp to fill a sandwich...

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bloody country. Some juvenile slapper gets paid almost as much as I do for watching Jeremy Kyle et al, smoking 60+ Lambert and Butlers, rustling up some microchips and turkey twizzlers inbetween breeding like a viagra crazed hamster, and Brown wants to give them extra money.

So, with a few extra quid in their pockets, they'll suddenly think "Ah, now I can go and buy some nice wholemeal bread, fresh tuna and some organic Jersey Royals instead of that nasty pizza I've been forced to eat for the last x years". I don't bloody think so. My missus would starve if I got rid of the microwave and tin opener. You could give the damned woman a block of cheese and 2 slices of bread and she'd not be able to come up with a meal. God bless Mr Heinz, Tesco etc, that's her motto.

Predictably, she's a scouser.

If I couldn't cook, I'd bloody starve, and it's my opinion that there's more women like my missus than there are women who can actually cook. That's what 30+ years of feminism means: no bloody good at anything without a support crew. Be it cover for them at work, bring up their kids, or simply have a fresh meal on the table.

Yer Chavs have in all probability learned to prefer scummy food by now.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can the mother get tax credits if she pays no tax as she's not working. That is a good scrounge. However, she will be getting child benefit for the child who herself is getting child benefit. That is bordering on genius in the world of benefits culture.

5:18 AM  

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