30 Jun 2012


Marmite. D. BryantI’ve always loved Marmite and I’ll regularly spread thick dollops of it on some buttery toast in the morning.  At University however (ever since our toaster broke) I adjusted to waking myself up with a nice bowl of cereal.  Although I now can’t say “bowl of cereal” without Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” playing on my mind.  If you are unfamiliar with this reference, I suggest you keep it that way.  Anyway, Special K with Red Berries, a couple drizzles of Sainsbury’s Basics honey, cold milk, and maybe half a sliced banana if I’m lucky: deee-lish.

For those of you accustomed to shopping at Sainsbury’s, you’ll know that they have a Basics range.  Forget about free-range, fancy packaging and “Taste the Difference”; the Basics range is a student’s best friend.  Cheap and cheerful without the overly exotic flavourings found in the dearer ranges, I can count myself satisfied.  So this morning (at Home) when I woke up and went downstairs to the kitchen, I fancied myself a bowl of cereal.  After pouring a sizeable amount of Special K into my bowl, I went to grab the honey from the cupboard.  “Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference New Zealand Thyme Honey, Aromatic and Floral”.  How appetising, I hear you say.  Far from it.  I sure as hell can taste a difference; it’s disgusting.  The half empty pot (yep, I’m a pessimist) of honey has been sitting in our cupboard for weeks, possibly even months, when it really should have stayed in NZ.  On first inspection, it looks rather delectable.  But what’s with the description?  Aromatic and Floral?  That’s what I want my perfume to smell like, not what I want my honey to taste like!  In fact, is this even edible?  Reminds me of the time I drowned a slice of toast in lashings of peanut butter; the peanut butter my Dad uses to trap mice in the attic.  Let’s just say that my first bite was less than pleasant.  Crunch.

Now to the Coffee.  What’s on offer today?  Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Colombian Fairtrade Ground Coffee.  Let’s be real here, there’s nothing quite like some real-ass coffee made in an old-style cafetiere to caffeinate your day.  And boy, does it taste good! Well, that’s the idea anyway.  Unless you buy the aforementioned variety.  I can’t quite describe its aftertaste…I want to say “sour” or “not what coffee is supposed to taste like”, but let’s see what Sainsbury’s has to say for it.  “Almond Biscotti”.  So that’s what I’m tasting?  Almond Biscotti?  Give me a free slice of Almond Biscotti for dunking but sure as hell don’t put the Almond Biscotti in my actual coffee.  What were you thinking?  That’s criminal!  Nut allergists, you have been warned.  Next line: “Sweet caramel & almond notes”.  Firstly, I didn’t know you could get sour caramel so thanks for clarifying, and secondly, all this talk of notes is getting me thinking of harpsichords and clarinets.  And lastly, “aromatic and well rounded”.  Well that’s the vaguest description, like, ever.  “I like my coffee well-rounded, just like my men”.  Plus, I think I’ve had enough aromatic substances for one day.  Although, bravo on the poetic engagement with the subject.  10 points to you, Shakespeare.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, much like Tesco Finest, Co-operative Truly Irresistible, Morrison’s The Best or ASDA Extra special (there’s something deliberately coy about my use of italics), is essentially the food-market’s equivalent of the shoe-market’s Cristian Loubutins.  They sound fab, they even look fab.  But in reality, it’s probably the same person making them as the person making the flip-flops in a 99p store.  I jest a little.  But you see where I’m coming from.  They may look snazzier, and they sure as hell cost a few hundred more, but I for one know that a pair of cheapo flip-flops beats 6 inch blister-bearing heels any day.  Granted, the quality may be ‘marginally better’.  And when it comes to supermarket meat I can definitely see why free-range Taste the Difference £5 a pop tastes nicer than the leftover carcass parts crammed into the Basics range.  Did someone say turkey twizzlers?  But whether my honey has been sourced from the mountainous region of Central Otago or from my next-door neighbour’s hive, who really cares?   In fact, I’d rather pay more for locally produced products than for those produced at virtually the opposite end of the world where the Bees have a whole garden of Thyme to feast on.  I don’t even like Thyme!

Marmite Marmite Cake StandGoing back to my title.  Today I feel ill.  My memories of feeling unwell during my childhood have been overlooked by the fact that my mother always used to make me Marmite on toast.  Because it would inevitably make me feel better.  Just don’t go adding any Almond Biscotti to my Marmite!

Watch this space.               

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