Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Food I remain suspicious of

A very dubious idea....
This week takes me to Holland, namely Amsterdam, somwhere I spend a great deal of time so should therefore be more at home in than most locations. Something that continually facinates me is the food here, it is, shall we say "unique" in a strange non descript way. This normally means that having asked for a vegetarian option you normally end up with a cheese sandwich or cheese salad made from very non descript forlorn ingredients and after a couple of days you just get so fed up you stop eating anything apart from chocolate from the vending machine. This is not to say all food is terrible, indeed only last night I had a lovely meal of pan fried cod with celeriac and lentils but sadly this was an exception to the rule.

I hesitate to be too judgemental though as I know I get quite offended when people say all food in the UK is terrible having based their opinion solely on a fast food vendor somewhere near Leicester Square or similar. There is one thing that really does trouble me though, and I just cant come to terms with it. The hot food vending machine....For anyone not familiar with the phenomenon imagine a type of see through lukewarm cabinet full or suspicious looking fried food products which can be obtained automatically by putting coins in the door and magically the cupboard opens to allow you access to your "food". There are a number of issues I can see with the system which I have yet to be proved wrong about. Firstly, why would you want to use one? Secondly, is it ever a good idea to store parricuarly meat based products at just the right temperature for bacteria to grow? Thirdly, how do you know how long its been there? These are just the reasons that come to mind straight away, I just dont understand. Maybe I am missing the point and have yet to be enlightened but Im not convinced. This brings me to another food item I find a total mystery, the Fray Bentos Pie. I was walking round my local Tesco at the weekend when it was pointed out that these pies had been in existence as long as anyone could remember. This does indeed seem true, but I have never known anyone to buy one, little own eat one? I got to thinking about how then the compnay stays in business, is there a vast number of the population shopping  under the cover of darkness for food products to stockpile which might help them survive a nuclear winter or natural disaster maybe? Or, judging by the length of the use by date did Fray Bentos actually go out of business several decades ago and the shelves just still have the original stock as no one did ever buy them and the brand is just an overworked urban myth? But why would you ever think of putting pie in a can? Who ever thought that sounded like a good idea?Its a mystery I am determined to get to the bottom of one day.
Is this retro packaging or just because the can has been in the shop for the last 30 years?

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