EDitorial ± 29-Oct-2002

Get The Balance Right

Sitting down to a bowl of Nesquik "chocolate flavour toasted rice & corn cereal", as I was this very morning, I'd have had some difficulties labelling this as the most important meal of the day. And the enclosed Men In Black II free Flingon was a let-down too: remember do not throw at people or animals!

It can't have been too long ago that breakfast was a largely savoury though joyless affair. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a helping of porridge at times, provided there's a tin of Golden Syrup nearby, but with salt?! No wonder there are some dour-looking faces north of the border.

Not that he'll remember, but my mate Adam observed a while back that cereals seemed to be increasing in sugar content. At that time one particular brand (can't ... remember ... name) offered marshmallow pieces among the corn-based crunchy bits. Nowadays we have such delights as:

  • mini chocolate Weetabix: truly the brand has no dignity left
  • chocolate coated Frosties, from Tony the toothless Tiger
  • Bart Simpson's No ProblemOs: frosted loops and choccy biscuits

Enjoy with ice cold milk as an indulgent cereal or try as a dessert with ice cream or yoghurt - simply delicious on its own as a snack

Then, in M&S t'other day scouting for cinnamon & raisin bagels, a product line that's gone the way of Shergar, I stumbled across their Chocolate Decadence Crunchy Cereal:

Crunchy cereal with milk chocolate coated honeycomb pieces, white and dark chocolate curls, milk chocolate coated cornflakes and white and dark chocolate covered raisins

That "decadence" tag is well chosen, don't you think? Maybe this is a kind of postmodern foodstuff (guess who read an article on Umberto Eco recently), having no more than a tenuous link to the traditional concept of breakfast while recognising that no-one really has time for it anymore. But hey, enough of my yakkin'.

NB I'm confident that this is the exact wording on the pack 'cos I felt obligated, purely in the name of research, to buy some today. I may follow the serving suggestion and stick the entire contents in a knickerbocker glory glass. Oink!

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Guess the cereal from the box-top description:

  1. puffed wheat coated with sugar and honey, fortified with vitamins and iron
  2. delicious boulders of wheat and honey
  3. whole wheat malted cereal

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 21-Oct-2002

Dead Beetles

My unrelenting quest for interesting soft drinks can, at times, be frustrating. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't get into yuppy-ish Aqua Libra. Good ol' Schloer is a little been-there-done-that these days, while Fentiman's is good on occasions but has all the delicacy of a scorched earth policy.

So, on Saturday night, I found myself imbibing a bottle of Lizard Fuel (TM), thanks to some thoughtful friends. This "strawberry banana flavored (sic) beverage" proclaimed itself to be "loaded with herbal energy". Any good? Can't say I'd have it again, but what made it vaguely interesting was the list of ingredients:

Filtered water, fructose-glucose syrup, skimmed milk, sugar, cream, stabliser: pectin, citric acid, natural flavours, lactic acid, natural colour: cochineal extract, vitamin C, astragalus membraneus root extract, yerba mate extract, Siberian ginseng root extract

Best thing about it is the fancy bottle, truth be told

It wasn't those penultimate and antepenultimate extracts that caught my eye, whatever they are, but that natural colour: cochineal. Would most likely have passed me by completely, but I was sitting opposite (say it quietly) a vegetarian, and, as all we half-educated types know, cochineal is made from crushed beetles.

In my big book of stuff, skipping past Cochabamba (Bolivia's third largest city), Cochin (18th century French engraver) and Cochinchina (south Vietnamese region), we come to cochineal. My veggy mate had said, jokingly I thought, that it was made only from female insects: turns out he's right.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Better red than dead - some cochineal factoids:

  1. consists of the dried, pulverized bodies of cactus-eating lady members of Dactylopius coccus
  2. artificial alternatives prevail, but the real McCoy continues to be used in cosmetics and beverages
  3. one pound of cochineal takes 70,000 insects

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 15-Oct-2002

Skip To My Loo

Shockingly I missed an EDitorial last week: the shame! This was reason enough for two people to enquire after my health, which was nice. So let me plead illness as grounds for failing to hit the self-imposed weekly deadline.

My heart is heavy - my head is confused
And my aching little soul - has started burning blue
— The The, Infected

One night last week - I can't be more vague - the boy, now aged two-and-a-bit, stirred in his sleep. Bringing him into bed, he put his hand on his belly, said "sore", then added "poo". I did the AA inspection, but he was all clean in the undercarriage area. Again, "poo", said the boy, now crying, and he wouldn't lie down. Then, a few minutes later, standing by the bed, came a noise that should have been recorded for posterity (did you see what I did there?). This was the sound of a young boy's bowels evacuating at full speed, a turbo-powered motion, a movement of symphonic proportions. You had to be there, but be mighty glad that you weren't. He was nearly giggling with the sheer relief.

Disposable nappies clogging landfills or terries washed at high temperatures: it's a dilemma

As a family, you have to learn to share, so there was a certain air of inevitability when I finally succumbed towards the end of the week (by this time 66% of the kids were largely over it, and the other 33% was off school today). Praise be to whoever said that we needed a downstairs loo.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Other highly amusing terms for a bum deal:

  1. Delhi Belly: friend of mine had a genuine case on his Indian hols
  2. Aztec Two-Step
  3. Lanzarote Botty
  4. Acapulco Splash: remember the cliff diving on World of Sport?

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 1-Oct-2002

Aldeburgh WC

Say it's a nice sunny day, perhaps nearing the end of the summer. Say you're approaching Aldeburgh, that classy seaside town on the Suffolk coast, merrily pootling along in the motor. Say you're accompanied by your children. Say that middle child, aged five, proclaims herself to "need a wee", badly. Then you'll appreciate knowing that the public toilets are on the High Street next to the chippy.

Granted this is not a fact that's likely to save your life. End-of-level bonus: there's more than one purveyor of cooked potato products on the main drag. Don't be tempted to aim for the one on the corner that always attracts a queue; that way lies madness and frustration. Go for the Golden Galleon, facing tourist information, and cut down the lane. Ah, that's better.

L'enfant, qui ne s'appelle pas Walter, au bord de la mer

Contemplated doing the stretch of coastline along to Thorpe Ness, but the shadows were lengthening and I'd stupidly brought my wallet...leaving the Switch card and cash at home on the shelf, and with zero change in my pockets. Not often do I pass an ice cream & cappuccino kiosk, full stop.

I know people whose idea of fun
Is throwing stones in the river in the afternoon sun
— Billy Bragg, The Warmest Room

Still, some inexpensive entertainment to be had chucking pebbles in the sea, remembering not to stand to the side of or in front of the boy, aged two. Even the middle one (no longer needing to go) joined in once she'd been reassured that the chance of a tidal wave hitting the beach was minimal. Could have sworn she was in bed when we watched Deep Impact.

Be seeing you!