Friday 15 April 2016

Homosexual Food

I managed to appal my kids whilst in Arrecife, Lanzarote airport. I made a homophobic reference aloud to the entire food court. But to be fair to me, Bristol airport provoked me into it.

It was 10am. And I'd been up since 5am. And was hungry and had 30 minutes before boarding begins. This was in Bristol airport. The Quango clan was in the cafe area and looking for something to eat. 
And what was available was what is now always available in the UK. Packaged sandwiches consisting of foods that I would never choose to put together. Bottled water. An unknown brand of orange juice. Massive coffee cups, Sweet cookies and an assortment of unlikely flavoured muffins.

And that was about it. No cooked food except in a restaurant area, that had queues to get in. 
So, with a looming deadline its toastie and panini hell. 

Mozzarella and tomato sourdough. 
Goats cheese and sweet chili chutney
Emmental and mushrooms
Moroccan meatball wrap
Raspberry and white chocolate muffin

What is going on? Is this Tony Blair's fault? is it the EU? It all started happening around 1997. The phasing out of the cheese and ham toastie for an avocado and herb salad wrap. Where did all this ..this ..smug food come from? Where is the BLT? Or a ham sandwich? Gone. Dead. Deader than a megadrive.
All replaced by the likes of a falafel and red tapenade sandwich containing cucumber yogurt and coriander. 

This is the new food. And its everywhere.

Not just Bristol Airport. This is the new cafe snack, lunchtime food.  Pret- a- Nero-Bucks have consigned the 'old fashioned' grub to the likes of those terribly chav people at Greggs, and replaced it with the best food a liberal Guardian reading hipster can afford. Toasted Almonds and Baby Kale with cherry tomatoes sandwiches! Yummy.. !

Any public venue. Train station. Airport. Arena. Conference centre. Exhibition hall or shopping mall. The new food is on offer. 

So i'm standing in front of the chiller picking up Parsnip and wild crayfish..and putting it back..and grab a chicken raita salad wrap and try and read the label to see what chicken raita actually is ..
{ (Raita is a spiced yoghurt dressing made with finely diced cucumber and herbs. It is white with flecks of green and originates from Northern India).
.. and putting it back. And looking at the empty section that says 'egg and cress' and 'mature cheddar and pickle.' And thinking why are there acres of coconut chicken curry soups and yet no cream of chicken and no cheddar baguettes? .. Because you sold all the cheese ones..damn you.
 I have a seven year old boy here. He won't eat a rare roast beef and horseradish baguette.  I won't eat it with horseradish on. There must be something else ? 

What about crisps.. ? Mature cheddar and red onion ? Balsamic vinegar, sea salt and organic cider?
And then the girls come over and i think well they must have found something. but no.They didn't want any of it either. And so we bought some tea and coffee and juices and some croissants.

And I sulked and thought, well Quango, the world has changed. The mightily meek have inherited the food court. The days of a bacon sandwich are gone. Even if you did find one it would be a Miliband one. Jammed full of mango and brie and olives and..i dunno..macaroni.. in a gluten free, ciabatta roll.
Just accept it. Just .. move on.. Things can only better and all that..we live in a diverse society. Even in Bristol airport..Greggs aren't opening here anytime soon. Next time stop at the garage for a heated pie or something...move on..get with the progressives..


And then I'm returning from Lanzarote. I'm in a Spanish food court in a Spanish airport. This could be full of nothing but paella and veal. 

Instead there was outlet after of outlet of' 'normal' food.
Upper Crust, the poor man's subway were doing good business. I adore their cheese and ham baguette. That's all you get by the way. Cheese and ham. If you want stuffed mushrooms and lime and mint dressing you'll have to bring your own.
There was a hot food place doing burgers. Big, thick burgers, that they are cooking right in front of you. Adding whatever peppers or lettuce you wish. And skewers cooking. Vegetables. Lamb. Beef.
Just cooking them up next to the team making pizzas to order.  It was unbelievable!. Real cooked food. Real..old style sliced egg in a sandwich. Ham and mustard. A toasted cheese sandwich. Smoked salmon. With or without cream cheese.

And that was when i snapped. In the middle of the airport. Aloud. Loudly aloud. I said..

"This is what I wanted! This is the stuff! Not that ..that ...that ...Gay food!"

And so caused my teenage girl to lecture me that food has no gender. And even if it did, it would be perfectly normal for a tomato to be in a same sex relationship. And gay people eat the same food as straight people. And so on.

And I had to explain I didn't mean to say gay. I used the wrong word. 

I meant PONCY!

 Poncy food UK я us.

And I'm sick of it!
 That's what I meant. 

Pretentious, pompous sandwiches made me homophobic.  And I sincerely apologise to anyone who is offended. 

Except the people at ***** at Bristol. Who can take their Ecuadorian **** wrapped in ***on a ****bed of **** and sunflower seeds and shove it *** their **** until its passed its sell by date.

*all food descriptions are from actual UK cafe chain menus. Though you probably know that and possibly even appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

Being a regular traveller through Barcelona airport, I've always found it amusing that it's the best airport I know for supplying you with good, basic fodder - cheese and ham sandwiches etc etc... I'm with you, I don't mind a (very) occasional poncy butty, but I don't want to live on the bloody things!

Baron Jackfield.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Excellent rant, completely agree.

And btw if you go to Roma Fiumicino, you will find a stall doing a whole hog roast right there in front of you, and selling it by the slice. Awesome.

Electro-Kevin said...

My last trip to Lincs to see ma Olds.

I was changing at Birmingham New Street and the only place in running distance is an M&S foodcourt.

All I wanted was a chicken and mayo sandwich. What I picked up (in my rush) er... was chicken. But what it came with was a variety of 'erbs which resembled nothing like the unhealthy comfort food I wanted. I'd picked up one of many of the Nu-Lab-chicken combos and felt disgustingly healthy and minty as I tiddly-bomped with the rest of my fellow Europeans in the Sprinter to Skeggy.

I got to Ma and Pa's and stuffed myself with crisps, ham and mustard baps and a Mars to re-toxify myself.

My favourite joke *ever* is: How do you know if your house has been burgled by homosexuals ?

Because it's been tidied up and there's a quiche in the oven.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the ability for someone at one of these counters to lay out a couple of slices of bread, butter it and apply some ham/cheese. These old trades are dying out, we need apprentice schemes to ensure that the young have the sandwich making skills to make Britain thrive again!

Electro-Kevin said...

Anon - I crave the cheese and pickle sandwiches they used to serve in pubs which were wrapped in cellophane on a paper plate and sold for a couple of quid.

Now I'm lucky to get a meal in a pub for under a tenner - and then the chips come in a wire basket, and the steak on a wooden block. (I don't call Weatherspoons a pub btw)

david morris said...

Bristol Airport - one of the least user friendly gateways in/out of the UK. Egregious non refundable charges for luggage trolleys, minimal passenger seating availability within the Terminal & a minimum £1 charge for a vehicle to use the passenger drop off/collection area. Don't start me on the food/drink pricing.

Feel your pain !

Nick Drew said...

so the young Qs have been indoctrinated against the once all-pervasive pejorative use of 'gay' ...

just goes to show, if the will is there you can indoctrinate anyone about anything: perhaps the teaching profession would care to turn their collectiv attention to something really worthwhile

DtP said...

Top ranting - I hear you.

I got one of the most delicious ham and cheese toasties at Lisbon airport and they'd even put a little bit of tomato relish in the middle. I was just thinking, this could only be slightly improved by the addition of brown sauce and then got a full tomato relish injection - my stress evaporated.

Cheers Bill

Oswald Thake said...

You've written many a true word on this blog, and this post was yet another. Poncey foreign muck! Who eats this rubbish? Guardian readers to a man - or should I write 'to a non-gender specific individual?'

Jan said...

Agree it's c***

Serve them right if next time you make your own sandwiches at home take them with you and sit in their seating area to eat them.

Bill Quango MP said...

Anon: Alicante airport is good too. As is Nice. You have the options. Packaged wrapped poached quail with sultanas and humus .. or a person making up a ham salad baguette as you want, as they do in any deli you might find in the UK.

Weekend Yachtsman: I would have loved a hog roast. I've been to folk festivals that have a less vegan selection than Bristol.

EK: That 'unhealthy comfort food.' That's what I was searching for. Not something a rabbit sleeps on.
I quite like the wire baskets for chips. Might get some for myself at home. Be nice to go with some fried eggs that I could serve on a clay slate roof tile. Make myself feel I'm on Masterchef.
Don't even mind the wood board. Except, that place in Exeter you might know. Next to cafe rouge. They served lasange on the board? Why ?

Umbongo said...

Estimable rant but just recall the pre-Prets days in the City: ham sandwiches consisting of two slices of white margarine-spread bread where some tasteless pig-meat had been drawn through and put to one side for the next "sandwich"; "salad" comprising limp lettuce, a tasteless tomato and a festering slice of cucumer - yours at 12/6 together with ersatz watered Nescafe masquerading as coffee. You don't know how lucky you are!

Bill Quango MP said...

Anon: It was quite surprising to see the counter staff in Lanzo airport cooking up food. The sandwich people were making up the sandwiches too. They had plenty of prepared ones. Plenty of fast food packaged items. Its an airport after all. But they didn't ONLY have that. And of course they had the luxury of having a very nice Guinness franchised pub, with outdoor terrace.
Sit in the sunshine, sipping a glass of x and contemplating a ploughmans.

David Morris: Its a weird airport. Because its quite big. Yet feels so very small. And its in the most unlikely place. As If the authorities decided to place it as far from a main road they could..That's a whole other rant.
# Just remembered - you put your parking ticket into a barrier to get out the main parking. - and get it back - then have to drive another 1/2 mile or so to the exit. And another barrier asks for the ticket. Many many times I've seen people having to reverse up and drive back to the bin they threw it into by the 1st barrier.

Bill Quango MP said...

ND: The school stasi have done well. Ms Q is very offended if I use any un-PC language. She doesn't mind full on swearing. But if I said "Stupid woman!" I'd get a gender lecture.
Mater Q was quite concerned for a few days that lego could kill dolphins.
And he told me 'you must never throw lego into the sea dad."

"I wasn't going to"

"Well don't. Its bad for for dolphins and sharks."

"Ok ..I won't"

"And don't flush it down the loo..That harms seahorses."

"Ok..But I haver thrown throw lego down the pan."

"see that you don't !"

DTP : That sounds delicious. A nice melted cheese.

Oswald: Thing is, the more usual food disappears fast. And leaves the latecomers with the oddbod.
M&S food long ago moved over to 'lunch for ladies'. But they never replaced the entire range. They left a few unponcy choices.

Jan; If only i was that organised. Didn't even remember to take those hard sweets for the ear pressure.

Umbongo: Perfectly fair point. There were many rubbish cafes.And the coffee has got better, if not the tea.
But even in the pseuds centre, the King's Road, Chelsea, it was possible to get a crusty roll with your choice of filing.

But I agree, there are many many more choices and the actual quality is vastly improved.

Anonymous said...

I think we are all agreed about the food - and that this is a rant.

How did the holidays with the kids and OH go then. Relaxed and ready for next week?

Demetrius said...

Ugh, I will have a bacon sandwich thank you. As our greatest monarch, King George IV might have said, Harris, I feel unwell, pray fetch me a brandy.

Steven_L said...

Was there even a sun-lit outdoor area to sit and eat your food, that allowed - God forbid! - smoking?

Bill Quango MP said...

Indeed there was.
Spaniards and tourists puffing away on their 3 euro packs of 20 B&H.
Courtesy of Lanzarote being within the EU but outside the taxation restrictions. Like Guernsey.

Blue Eyes said...

Sounds like market forces to me: South West: poncy; Lanzarote: full of machismo.

My favourite airport is Gatwick. More like a half decent shopping centre with a runway nearby. Plus easy to get to, and generally less hellish than Heathrow. Fairly sure you can get Breakfast Triple there, too.

HarryD said...

And I thought this was going to be a conversation on meatballs...

dearieme said...

A million years ago if you were on a late through train that stopped at Carlisle, you could nip out, and there was a lass with a trolley selling tea and miraculously good Scotch pies.

On the sleeper to Inverness you would be served an excellent British breakfast that people would talk about for weeks. I can remember when a British rail lunch would include a decent cheese board with fresh, crunchy celery.

Even antique pub grub could be good if the landlord wanted it to be. There was no rule that pickled eggs, or Scotch eggs, or pork pies, or steak pies had to be poor stuff.

Penseivat said...

A day or so before travel, make up some ham and brie sandwiches and freeze them. Take them out just before leaving and when you get to the airport, train or bus station, they are ready to eat and as delicious as if you had just made them. A couple of bananas or even hard boiled eggs (salt in a twist of clingfilmin) in your bag will see you through the horror that is UK airport "food" shops. A friend of mine takes brandy or whisky in those acceptableo tiny 50ml bottles to add to his coffee in an attempt to soothe his way through UK airports. Plan ahead and they will be defeated!

Charlie said...

Top ranting, but it does sound a bit like inverse snobbery to me. Food is better and cheaper now than I can remember. We have far more choice in what we eat than ever before. Places like airports have always had limited choices and been occupied by food retailers who pay to operate what amounts to a monopoly, at least they're now serving something a bit better than a dry, curled-at-the-edges ham sandwich.

Raedwald said...

I was nearly thrown out of such a poncy place last year for asking if they had anything with healthy coldwater north-atlantic prawns in rather than (pointing) "those huge deformed Vietnamese things fed in warm lagoons on human faeces"

And back-when, for every damp pink pork-origin ham aand margarine sandwich between two slices of damp Mother's pride (it was the water evaporation from te outer surfaces that caused the curl) you could buy slices of fresh local ham carved off the bone in between two huge crusty buttered wedges of today's-bread with eye-stinging hot made-up mustard. You just had to look.

Elby the Beserk said...

I miss the old pre "International" Bristol Airport - walk in and check your baggage in straight away, off to the waiting room, and walk or bus to the plane. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

"On the sleeper to Inverness you would be served an excellent British breakfast that people would talk about for weeks."

Back in the 80s the Fort William sleeper stopped for more than an hour in Glasgow (or Stirling - I forget) - easily enough time to raid the local chippie for battered haggis.

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