CRINGLE: Man on mission at bargain bin

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TARAMASALATA: A thick, creamy Greek dip, usually served as a meze, which should be made of smoked cod roe, olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley.

In UK supermarkets you don’t get it quite like this but they do a pretty good one at Waitrose who are kind enough to send it to Shoprite so that I buy it in the Isle of Man.

I like taramasala. But it has come to my notice that somebody else who goes to the Victoria Road store also likes it and it seems to me that he or she is just as much of a greedy, selfish, obsessively penny-pinching old swine as I am.

When I go to buy taramasalata I wait for it to appear on the sell-by shelves in the store when the price of a carton can fall overnight from £1.57 to as low as 30p and then I buy the lot. I have every confidence that I can eat it for the best part of a week and survive.

But over the last few weeks I have found that somebody else is up to the same thing and it has to stop.

Now I think we all stop at the sell-by shelves. These are hard times and cheap food is a bonus for many people. Unfortunately I always find there are such people in front of me, clogging up my system with their trollies, and searching the shelves for minutes on end. They are a damn nuisance.

It’s not what I want to do. I am on a mission. All I want to do is get straight in, collect my sell-by date taramasalata, and be on my way, and this has been done by way of advance planning and careful observation.

I have taken careful note of the sell-by dates of the taramasalata on their regular shelf and this tells me the exact date the cartons will be transferred to the sell-by shelf and all I have to do is get there first thing in the morning and clean up.

But now I keep finding myself forestalled. Early as I get there I can find no taramasalata for 30p. It’s all gone.

I don’t know who’s doing it of course. All I can say is that taramasalata is for those who enjoy exotic foreign foods and very likely not in dire need of cheap food. They are, as I have stated, nothing more than greedy, selfish, obsessively penny-pinching old curmudgeons like me.

The last available sell-by date was last Wednesday, May 16th. There were four such cartons on their shelf the evening before. But when I reached the cheapy shelf the next morning I had been beaten to it yet again by my faceless foe.

All right whoever you are, it’s game on. I have observed the next relevant sell-by date and no doubt you have. It may well be dawn when we come eyeball to eyeball, Greek meeting Greek as you might say. But that is how it should be when honour is at stake.

Incidentally I have long planned to make my own taramasalata in home-made Greek style. I’ve got Delia’s recipe. All I need is smoked cod’s roe. But in the Isle of Man, surrounded by sea churning with cod, you try and find a fishmonger who sells it.

• A LAXEY reader, anonymous, has sent me a copy of the Examiner’s comment article about the decision to close down the MEA’s retail outlets. It says: ‘A visit to an electoral retailer is not a weekly occurrence for anyone.’

Votes for sale?

• KEVIN Rothwell reports going into the jokes section of a Douglas trinkets shop where he saw a product defined as ‘Love Potion. Just mix with a hot drink. Aphrodisiac! Suitable for children over seven years of age!’

Are they kidding?

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