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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Life's daily burdens

Guess who? At Mèze, Mediterranean coast

Done with Intermarché, Carrefour, Super U and Leclerc, and back to Tesco (it's a mere seven-minute walk away from our Hereford home).

Immediately we're fratching: Marmite is either in this aisle or the one adjacent, but it's in neither. "Then you'll have to ask," says VR grumpily. Strange how reluctant we are to exercise this ultimate sanction.

But I've spotted three Tesco suits engaged in an on-the-floor pow-wow. I raise my eyebrows and I become the cynosure of three pairs of ambitious eyes. "Shall I take you there?" says one suit I've seen getting out of a BMW a week or so ago. He strides off and I've difficulty keeping up. "Marmite's to be found close to the jams," he says, and I can see some spreadable logic there.

He adds, "And jams are close to sugar."  I didn't know this.  We enjoy a little amiable argy-bargy about the way Tesco re-allocates shelf space for certain items ("It keeps customers on their toes," says he. "Which is not where you want to be when you're close to eighty," I riposte.)

Back with VR I suggest Tesco might do well to publish a policy document about where things are in its stores. "Especially stuff that isn't bought frequently, like Marmite," I say. "I mean twice a year and you tend to forget."

"Twice a year!", she says, still residually grumpy. "More like once every four years. Unless Ian (our grandson) visits."

I didn't know that either.


  1. Looks more like a seven-minute hop for you.

  2. Tahini is near the peanut butter. In US stores there are now TWO locations for many categories. Like cheese. The upscale stuff is near the seafood counter at one end of Price Chopper. The more mundane cheese is at the opposite end, in Dairy. Multiple locations for crackers and cookies too. Warm Pick Six (customize your own sixpack) beers are nowhere near the beer coolers. Seems crazy, I'm sure, because I don't recognize the brilliance of the strategies.

  3. New community; new grocery store. The latest search was for jarred anchovies. I looked long and hard in the canned fish section before I asked a clerk. Ah. At the fresh fish counter. This doesn't seem logical to me but what's new about that? no Marmite.......it was outlawed in Canada last year.

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  5. Marmite, outlawed, how can this be? I have a jar of special aged extra-strong with a classy retro label which was brought over by visitors, the merest smear suffices and it looks set to last about four years.

    Love your riposte to the smartarse staff member, bravo!

  6. "fratching" - an active verb I had not before encountered, RR. As to Marmite being banned in some countries - I think probably they are referring to "Oxo" with its beef content. It was taken off the shelves over here during the CJD scare, but is once again around - I love it on buttered toast and prefer it to Marmite, which should be used sparingly (thus the 4 year life) and is an acquired taste.

  7. A quick Google shows that only a certain version of Marmite was forbidden, and any suggestion of an out and out ban is careless and erroneous.

  8. Ellena: Am I not allowed to go on holiday?

    MikeM: I had to look up tahini so its geographical location came second in my list of priorities. I'd call it hummous. I have it for lunch on b&b, smeared with piccalilli.

    I think you're meant to be fooled by all this. You buy downscale cheese, then a dozen other things. By the time you reach upscale cheese your mind is at sea and you buy some of that too.

    Stella: Yes but the homebodies of North American kitchens say they are tinning things when they're preserving them in glass jars. I could never get the hang of that.

    I wouldn't have surprised me if Marmite (all forms) had been banned. Developing a taste for it might well have been regarded as the the first step towards nationalistic deracination. Marmite lies close to the heart of being a Brit.

    Lucy: The merest smear suffices. True. But have you noticed the growing tolerance among real Marmite addicts. The B&B becomes dark with taint. My daughter's ex-husband had it for breakfast - a time when my palate is at its most sensitive. Horrible!

    Avus: Active but intransitive. Yorkshire slang - very occasionally being born there has its benefits. The verb is almost onomatopoeic.

    Stella: Good. There's two-thousand miles of ocean between us; I'm glad the gap is no wider.

  9. Tahini (sesame paste) is merely one ingredient in hummus, as we spell it. The others are ground chick peas (Garbanzo beans.....lord knows what you call them over there), olive oil and garlic.

  10. My market keeps moving the location of the lemon juice. Two employees tried to help out but they couldn't find it either. One of them finally walked towards me with a real lemon in his hand, "here's a lemon in the meantime. You just squeeze it for juice." Lucky for him I don't have to use my can anymore.