READY, STEADY…. WARM THE BAG

The in­va­sion of the Ready Meal

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Reg­u­lar read­ings of this page – I hope there are a few! – may re­mem­ber that Mary and I lived in Cyprus from 1991 to 2011. In those 21 years, we only came back to Bri­tain a cou­ple of times. So, when – mostly for fam­ily rea­sons, cer­tainly not the weather – we re-set­tled there, we ex­pected that “ev­ery day” res­tau­rant cater­ing would be im­proved. My word, were we in for a shock! Cooks had mostly van­ished from kitchens; we had re­turned to the “Land of the Ready Meal”.

In our tally of 24 lunches and din­ners on a two week trip to the west of Eng­land and Wales, just two had been pre­pared by a chef. Last week, on a visit to the south coast, we had one meal fresh from the stove; at a friend’s house. All the rest, in our ho­tel, pubs and restau­rants were “out of a bag”. If you are vis­it­ing the UK and plan­ning to tour out­side of the big cities, be pre­pared! Un­less you are pre­pared to spend up­wards of 100 eu­ros for a meal for two – when you can do very well in­deed by fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions in a splen­did an­nual pub­li­ca­tion called “

“Ready meals” are gen­er­ally per­fectly ed­i­ble, of course. But, not be­ing fresh, they are lack­ing in taste and tex­ture. So, cher­ish your ke­babs!

When trav­el­ling I have al­ways culled recipes for my ar­ti­cles, books and for our ta­ble. No luck since we’ve been back in the UK. So for my recipe this week, I have to delve back into my file of Favourites.

Some older read­ers may re­mem­ber the English weekly hu­mor­ous mag­a­zine, “of which I have many en­joy­able mem­o­ries, as I worked as their PR con­sul­tant for a few years. There is a won­der­ful col­lec­tion of 2,000 of the car­toons (see pic­ture) which ap­peared in its pages be­tween 1841 and 1992, when, in com­mon with many other printed publi­ca­tions, com­pe­ti­tion from TV and other media di­min­ished its advertising rev­enue and cir­cu­la­tion to un­prof­itable lev­els and it closed.

Look­ing through my copy (there are copies so it may still be found on-line for rea­son­able sums and for the laughs you will get, worth ev­ery penny!) for foodie car­toons, and think­ing about a rab­bit recipe this week, I came upon this 1920 draw­ing.

A scene you see in ru­ral France and which is not un­fa­mil­iar in Cyprus – caged rab­bits, ready for des­patch and for the pot. Pic­tures like this make some peo­ple squirm, be­cause they don’t like to see the live an­i­mals that are go­ing to give up their lives for our ed­i­fi­ca­tion. But, Etsi eine i zoi.

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