Category Archives: cheese

Rocco’s mother shops by appointment only …

Rocco’s mother is feeling a bit maverick today. She was booted out of Food-o-rama last night, and that’s a pretty big thing. Rocco’s mother is the type of person who would never dare take more than eight items through the eight-items-or-die checkout. She’d hate to upset anyone or be accused of cheating. If she happens to have nine or ten items, she puts a couple of them in her wellies. Joking. She really puts a couple of them down her knickers. Also joking.

But I digress. Rocco’s mother had a lovely week in Darwin and flew home yesterday morning – a four hour flight. Followed by a two hour train journey and another couple of hours on a bus because – what’s new – there was trackwork happening and the train couldn’t go all the way, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. Anyway, on finally reaching home, it was necessary to purchase several items which Rocco (who had been at home alone) had run out of, and which were necessary for the humane survival of his parents. Such as bread and milk. Therefore, Rocco’s mother set off for Food-o-rama with her little list. Which she wouldn’t be able to read when she got there anyway because she hadn’t remembered to take her glasses. And, in fact, she hadn’t actually remembered to take the list either.

Food-o-rama was nice and empty, so Rocco’s mother pottered around in the fluorescent quietness, thinking nothing in particular and winding down. She might even have been singing. And doing little dancing things, even, because she was happy. At the cheese fridge, a cheerless pudding of a girl was restocking, and gave Rocco’s mother a baleful glare – not moving across to allow her to choose cheese. Or select stilton. Pick parmesan. Buy brie. Whatever. Rocco’s mother settled for plasticated slices and moved on. She might have still been singing – or at least emitting a cheerful little hum – at this stage.

As Rocco’s mother started up the bread aisle, a gargantuan troll in a Food-o-rama tunic came bearing down upon her. ‘Madam,’ she said, puffed up with self-importance and the aftermath of consuming too much roadkill, ‘Are you aware the store is ACKshilly … erm … closed?’ Rocco’s mother felt a hot flush up the back of her neck, over her head and down her front.

‘I thought you closed at eight!’ Rocco’s mother protested. Aghast. She had, after all, looked at the trading hours outside and thought she had well over an hour to spare.

‘It’s AFTER eight,’ Foodbitch said smugly. She now had her arms folded in front of her. She looked as if she were getting ready to barge.

‘I’m terribly sorry,’ Rocco’s mother said. ‘Would you like me to put everything back on the shelves?’

Foodbitch’s brain was ticking over. It didn’t have far to tick, because it wasn’t very large. She obviously, however, decided Rocco’s mother would take a long time to replace the offending groceries – and she wanted her gone NOW.

‘Take them through, then,’ FB decided grudgingly. ‘As long as you don’t want anything ELSE.’ She gave Rocco’s mother a look which implied she might be the type of person who wished to strip every shelf of every possible item. Just out of spite.

At the checkout, the girlie had emptied her till and tallied up – but started putting Rocco’s mother’s purchases dutifully over the scanner. She then noticed the bag of oranges – carefully selected because they were (for a change) large and orange – happened to have a squashed and broken fruit inside, the orangey contents of which were smearing themselves over the other, non-offending fruit.

‘Oh dear,’ said the girlie. She turned to Foodbitch, who was standing there tapping her foot like the guardian at the River Styx. ‘Would you mind getting another one of these?’

Foodbitch looked as if she might kill Rocco’s mother – but snatched the bag of oranges and huffed off to the fruit section, returning with a bag of the smallest, greenest-tinged, crappy looking oranges she could find. Rocco’s mother knew full well it was Foodbitch’s revenge, along the lines of the Poo-in-the-Gelato punishment which had been enacted upon an unpleasant patron at an hotel a few weeks prior. Rocco’s mother figured Foodbitch was entitled to her little victory. Just this once, and because she appreciated the customer is not right all the time.

It is fortunate there are other supermarkets which Rocco’s mother can frequent. She’s rather embarrassed, and doesn’t know whether she wants to go back to Food-o-rama again. On the other hand, her memory is so jaded these days she’ll probably have completely forgotten about it within a day or two, and will wonder why staff members recoil in horror next time she makes an appearance.

ACKshilly … she doesn’t really give a hoot.

.oOo.

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Blessed are the cheesemakers …

Once upon a time you used to be able to buy these little triangular wedges of cheese. They were wrapped in foil and arranged in a round cardboard box. I can’t remember the name of them, and I haven’t seen them for years. I don’t go near the part of the supermarket in which they might dwell if they still existed – because the very thought of them sends a chill down my spine. No doubt the Warrior Queen will be aware of their name, rank and serial number – and if she reads this, I would like her to know I do not wish to be reminded. And I think she knows why.

Somewhat hilariously, the Hunter Gatherer and I went on our honeymoon a good year after our wedding … and we took my parents. We had all decided we really fancied a houseboat holiday on the Murray River – so the four of us tootled off down to Renmark in a little old Triumph Dolomite, driving all through the night. At that time we were all smokers – so the interior of the car was a choking fug of fumes for the entire several hundred kilometres – and after a while, the WQ and I (who were in the back) mentioned we thought there was a petrolly kind of smell happening. For some reason this was uproariously funny. We all lit up again, for the forty-eleventh time, and made comments such as, ‘wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if the whole car went BOOM …’ and just about wet our collective knickers in hysterics while considering the possibility.

On arrival in Renmark we discovered to our horror there was, in fact, substantial fuel leakage seeping into the back of the car just under where the WQ and I had been resting our arses – and the fact the car hadn’t gone BOOM was rather miraculous in the extreme. There was a bit of nervous laughter in the, ‘oh my goodness, the chips!’ vein as we unpacked our provisions and abandoned the car to the ministrations of the friendly, but rather aghast, mechanic.

It was very nice indeed on the Murray River. Beautiful weather, gorgeous birdlife, nothing to do but potter along in our own time, phone in daily for supplies and pick them up from designated numbered locked boxes at intervals along the riverbank – and eat. With eating in mind (as it’s always about the food), the WQ had packed a box of things she thought we might chow down on whilst pottering. And one of these things was the aforementioned Cheese’o’Tragedy. I can’t remember whether she actually said, ‘Have one of these,’ or whether it was I who asked. It matters not. I remember tasting it and finding it utterly repugnant. Like trying to chew the discarded remnants of a horrid old man’s rotting underpants. Or a rotting old man’s horrid underpants, even.

It should have been reasonable – nay, normal – for me to have just hoiked the offending morsel starboard. End of. But the WQ was having none of that. Oh no. She stared me down, nostrils akimbo, pointing a quivering arm. ‘You’ll jolly well FINISH IT,’ she declared. ‘You took it – you’ll eat it!’ The lads were trying desperately not to laugh, snorting into their hands with their backs turned. There were pelicans on the water, a pale blue sky which went on forever, the steady chug of the motor … and everything should have been intensely right with the world. But it occurred to me the WQ was deadly serious. Memories flooded back of a school I’d attended in England where I’d been made to remain at the table until I’d chewed and swallowed a piece of unchewable, unswallowable meat. It also occurred to me I was now a GROWN UP. A married person, even, who was old enough to vote.  It’s strange I can’t remember now whether I actually ended up eating the thing or not. I think there was much howling and gnashing of teeth before the matter was resolved.  There were seven more of those grim wedges in the little round cardboard box … their fate, also, is unknown.

A lasting legacy of the cheese experience is that to this day, when the WQ says, ‘Have one of these,’ in crypt-curdling tones, I feel a cold sweat trickle down the small of my back. The hairs on my neck prickle with horror. It might have happened 28 years ago, but like horrid old underpants, some things are destined never to die.

Blessed are the cheesemakers for they shall inherit the earth …

Not.

.oOo.