Wednesday, 3 April 2013


When we came to live in Vigo in 2008, one of the things I could never find in supermarkets, along with basil plants and a number of other herbs, was hummus. I tried to explain to people what I was looking for, all to no avail. All I got was blank looks. You would think that a place that uses chickpeas as a regular part of its cuisine and habitually cooks with olive oil would have no problem with hummus. But this was not the case. It was one of those elements of “foreign stuff” that this culinarily conservative country did not get. 

Gradually, items such as pre-packed fresh pasta appeared on supermarket shelves. Last year I found pots of growing basil as well. They’re not there at the moment; I suspect they think it’s too early in the year for basil to survive so far north. Well, I’m just hoping that someone is watering MY basil plant on my even more northerly window ledge in Saddleworth! 

 Today I found this!!! 

You can tell it’s new as the spelling hasn’t been converted to Spanish yet. 
And inside the packaging are suggestions for how to serve it. 

Here’s another surprise. For some time I have been alternately sympathising with larger travellers – they are discriminated against in that they can bring fewer clothes since all their garments are larger and therefore heavier – and suggesting, tongue in cheek, that they should have to pay more for their tickets as they add more weight to the plane than less substantial travellers. Now I find that there is an airline in Samoa which proposes to weigh passengers and charge them according to size!! How long before a certain budget airline follows suit? 

And finally, another of my little bugbears. The Spanish government plans to get rid of the “use by” date on yoghurts. Instead of indicating that the products go out of date they will “suggest” a preferred date by which the yoghurt should be consumed. Now, I have often horrified my daughter b eating yoghurt after the “use by” date. A sniff is enough to tell you whether the product has gone off or not; we’re not babies, after all. 

The problem is that Spain is the sixth worst country in the EU for wasting food. Almost 8 million tons of food are thrown away every year. Italy chucks out 8.8 million tons, Poland 8.9 million, France 9 million, Holland 9.4 million and Germany an amazing 10.3 million. The article doesn’t say how much is thrown away in the UK but I’m pretty sure it’s too much. But we are not in the top six anyway. 

 The decision about labelling yoghurts is part of the government's «Más alimento, menos desperdicio» plan. More food, less waste is the idea. 

I’m all in favour of that.

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