Tag Archives: vegetables

Taste the Difference

The church I attended throughout my childhood hosted various extra-curricular events. The best were youth nights where we dressed like WAGs, stuffed our faces with luminous sweets and hummed along nonchalantly to Oasis as we played pool. Less enticing were so-called hunger lunches, which befuddle me to this day.

For the non-Methodists among you, allow me to explain the concept of a hunger lunch. You (or, more accurately, your mum) makes a designated dish and pudding, usually shepherd’s pie followed by apple crumble. Everybody else cooks the same two dishes. After the morning service, the whole congregation files into the church hall and sits at fold-out tables to receive this offering.

So far, so innocuous: you’re going to be fed through the kindness of others rather than go hungry. We say grace – for what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. But instead of feeling thankful I could never help but feel anything other than tense as, table by table, we stood in line at the serving hatch and participated in a nail-biting game of Russian roulette as we tried to gauge which – or whose – shepherd’s pie was likely to end up on our plate.

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Shameless? Indiscreet? Moi?

Last night found me embracing the picnic aspect of the concert I went to at Kenwood house rather too enthusiastically.

No sooner had we settled on the grass among the other fans than I found myself – much to my boyfriend’s dismay – peering indiscreetly at other people’s picnics. In fact, before we’d even unpacked our own dinner, I had craned my neck this way and that and smugly rated the efforts of everyone around me.

There were the M&S devotees, rifling through their lime-green plastic bags and yanking open aggressively sealed plastic containers of Parma ham, hummus, and mozzarella balls with sun-dried tomatoes (then passing round the Percy Pigs). Yawn, I sighed.

Then there was the Waitrose camp, their Waitrose convenience food stored in convenient Waitrose cool bags (or else nestled in large designer hampers). They were tucking heartily into mini pork pies and posh-ly processed potato salads. They had all the gear – not only wine glasses but wine glass holders – but there was no… X-factor.

There was one pitiful girl sat spearing vegetables from a slab of couscous in her single Tupperware: everyone in her group was also guarding the one dish they’d brought along with them. I averted my eyes, embarrassed for them.

As for the couple in front of us, they were tucking into just one course: a bottle of red wine. Enough said.

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