READY, STEADY…. WARM THE BAG
The invasion of the Ready Meal
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.