Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Perhaps having raptures about prunes is excessive

In one of the fantasies I sometimes have about worldwide fame and glory, I picture myself as editor and writer for an intercontinental newspaper specialising in reviews of marmalade jam, and opinion columns about tea bags. It would be so much better than the newspapers we currently have, and who wouldn't want to read a newspaper consisting mainly of items about canned and preserved foods you find on the shop shelf?

I love canned foods most of all, I adore boxed foods even more, and food in a jar sends me completely over the moon.

The other day, for instance, I was in Coles and went into raptures about some prunes. Perhaps having raptures about prunes is excessive, but these particular prunes were in a can; and this particular can had a picture of prunes on the side; and those prunes had stars on them. Prunes! With stars! In one fell swoop, some artistic genius had managed to combine the hygienic goodness of a Mr Sheen product with the essential deliciousness of a prune.

If you can imagine and sympathise with my excitement in that case, then you will doubtless share my ardour over this particular item, which they sell at my local Psarakos Markets - and nowhere else that I know of.

Chocolate mousse, I like at any time. Chocolate mousse in a box, with the instruction 'just add milk', I like even better. But Chocolate mousse in a box, with the title 'Super Mousse'? That, I contend, is a veritable symphony of delights, each delight mounting on the other and mingling in such sweet harmony as has never been heard before. I like Super Mousse so much, that I have taken to evangelising it to other people. I sent a copy in the mail to Mum in Newcastle, and I gave another two boxes to A. at work.

And why is it, by the way, that one always finds the most interesting and exciting brands with the strangest names at European markets? Shouldn't Coles and Woolworths be buying up this stuff like crazy? Just the other day, I happened to find at the Preston markets a box of ground coffee marked with the irresistible name of INTENSO COFFEE! It didn't taste bad either. But really, what a name! When one is preparing a cup of Intenso, I find it is best to stomp around the house, uttering the two words 'Intenso Coffee' in a furious tone. (Imagine you are sentencing someone to death - that's how serious it should sound.*) It should be made in a plunger, naturally: Intenso is too magical to be frothed up in an espresso machine, or diluted with milk: it must be appreciated in its full, grainy, dirty essence.

Anyway, that's some of the stuff that I like. What are your favourite boxed/canned/jarred foods?

*And if there is no-one around to hear you saying this, consider phoning up a relative or loved one so they can hear it on your behalf.


M L Jassy said...

Firstly, Train, I could read anything you were to report on. Dream patterns of sloth bears (that falling from the branch and not waking with a rude shock, but continuing sleeping dream) - done; the global search for words to rhyme with 'orange' - done. When it comes to packaged foods, I am all ears, nose and throat. My favourite jarred food is Indian pickle, because it is unattainable in most other forms, and the home-made variety is mostly inaccessible without frequently cooking southern Indian relatives to rely on. On the theme of Indian packaged foods, you will find that the perrenial biscuit - the Parle G - is really as famous and ubiquitous as the status it's awareded in 'Shantaram'. It makes for good road food, spare cow-feeding food, spare stray child-feeding food and is a nostalgic reminder of milk arrowroots. My favourite junk food was called Uncle Chips: "Bole Mere Lips, I love Uncle Chips" (My lips say..').
On my facebook photo album area I have a photo of my favourite packaged yeast from Thailand (actually, it's German) - named, 'Instant Success'. It's the motivational speaker of packaged yeasts.

M L Jassy said...

For the curious: I don't just like Parle G biscuits because they sound like Mitzi G. They were a good survival staple between fiery dahls over in Hindustan.

TimT said...

My favourite jarred food is currently Rose's orange marmalade, because it's just about the only real citrusy marmalade on the market - all the other marmalade makers just pour in too much sugar until their marmalades just turn into a syrup. Heresy!

I LOLed at 'Instant Success'. A splendid name for a yeast.

As for dream patterns of sloth bears - you're giving me ideas for posts. But are we talking about Hoffman's Two-Toed Sloth or the Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth?

DS said...

Tea! My favourite boxed food is tea. I like the plain old-fashioned boxes of loose leaf tea. The old lan-choo boxes with the green edges were ideal.

I suspect there is already a publication about tea and jam. There is an English magazine called "Britain's Loveliest Things" or similar.

DS said...

Maria said...


I love Rose's Marmalade.

Recently I've been dreaming of dried fruit. I've been rather annoyed lately that people haven't, it seems, been getting more competitive on the dried fruit market, especially on the pear and peach end of things. They should. Maybe we wouldn't see the outrageous prices we do for them.

I've tried more recently dried mango, pawpaw, pineapple, kiwifruit, they are much cheaper but taste similar, that is hard to taste the difference between a dried pineapple and a dried pawpaw. And there is more competition with these - try Chinese grocery stores or market places. BUT NO PEARS AND PEACHES.

Just one brand I can source, same in Woolies as in Coles and it is making me an out of pocket pooch.

There's my rant.

TimT said...

That magazine looks so good, Slamma, that it is INTENSO! When you linked it at first I was wondering whether it was your version of a boxed food and was somewhat puzzled ('Dale eats magazines? I've seen cats do that, but I thought it was strictly a feline practice...')

TimT said...

Maria, I could gourmandise on any of the Rose's marmalade range (the lime is quite delicious), but my tastes are limited when it comes to dried fruit: I am addicted to dried apple and apricot, but dried banana, I cannot understand.

DS said...

I like only 10% of dried fruits, the rest taste strange to me like a sausage milkshake might.

Maria said...

I like lime! Do you like lime and ginger?

Not so big on banana chips myself. Don't quite get them. I don't think they count as dried fruit. They feel more like little bits of plastic. You could play poker with them.

I am definitely a mousse fan though haven't tried it out of a box yet. It probably looks better than my home made stuff. Does it look anything like Yogo, the chocolate flavoured yoghurt?

Recently I've been passing Yogo in the dairy section and thinking, I remember when i was in primary school, I think some kids had Yogo .... should I try one? Is it like mousse or baby food? Does it matter?
Will I be able to tell?

I've also been thinking about TINNED FRUIT. There is something artificially appealling about a tinned apricot (the halved ones, not the diced). Its' so darn round and shiny and syrupy. It's so fake and perfect looking and it lasts forever because of all that sugary stuff, or looks like it will. And it's sweet. Haven't had one in ages. You look at them and you don't dare chop it up.

One of my favourite packaged foods was jelly. Aeroplane jelly. used to buy it in several packets at a time, diff colours, and make layered jellies and fill the fridge with them.

Never bother asking if anyone fet like jelly. They just looked good. Someone would eat them eventually. Also nice with fruit floating in the layers.

Red! Green! Yellow! Blue! Orange! Purple!

It was so cool. Or at least it had to be or the jelly would melt.

TimT said...

I always admired the gleaming spires of jelly that you'd see on the cover of Aeroplane Jelly packets... I wonder who their jelly sculptor was?

Mum does this really nice thing with jelly. She whips it up with a special milk product (condensed milk, maybe?) while still in the boiling water+christal form. It turns into a kind of coloured mousse-like mixture. She calls it flummery.

Maria said...

Oh boy. Oh boy. That flummery stuff just flummergasted me.

Sounds yummery!

I like pannacotta. I just recently had dill infused pannacotta. that was very nice. the gelatin and milky-creamy thing.

Though one time I had a dream and i was making a pannacotta. I was mixing the pannacotta mixture in a bowl and the mixture got bigger and bigger and started to cook itself in the bowl and then it became a giant pannacotta and jumped out of the bowl and attacked me in the face! The message?

I'm not sure.

I have eaten pannacotta since that though. It's been well-behaved and yummy.

TimT said...

*Googles Pannacotta*
*Looks at images for several minutes*
*Drools uncontrollably*

Theresa-bean said...

oh wow.
someone else with a fetish for such packaging. How lucky I am that I found this blog..
Keep writing keep WRITING :D

Maria said...

Hi TimT,

Going on your scanty description I tried making something close to flummery recently and fed it to myself and Mr Coffee. Raspberry Jelly flavoured. Was quite yummy, although I may have overdone the sweetness bit as we were walking around all night going "Hmmm very sweet .... can STILL taste it in my mouth ... you feeling it too?"

Not for the diabetic!

Thanks for the tip!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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