We all know that half the joy of the breakfast buffet is in the roadies. After filling up on multiple genres of eggs, fruit (avoiding the green melon and canned peaches…ain’t nobody got time for that) and tooth-achingly sweet bircher, you surreptitiously wrap up a few danishes and holster your pockets with banana guns. And maybe nab another crumpet…for the road.
I haven’t done that so much in recent years (apparently I’m an adult?) but last week I found myself reverting to old habits. I’d been running on empty all day and didn’t have quite enough change for lunch. Left alone in the MCR, I crammed my cheek pouches and pockets with chocolate digestives from the cookie jar like a squirrel hunkering down for winter.
I totally brought in on myself by going out for tapas the night before. So much money for so little food! I swear they charge it out like its made of pure saffron or elephant tears or something.
Anyway, much like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder…about food and money. But unlike Carrie, who reached the moronic conclusion that she should buy Vogue instead of dinner because she ‘felt it fed her more’, I just decided to tighten my belt. Metaphorically, of course. Not gonna tighten my belt for lack of eating, friendo.
Here are my favourite thrift eats:
Oatmeal: this is not a big concession for me. I’ve mentioned before that I will eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner (there’s a reason they call it oatmeal). I actually considered a career as an oenologist (or sommelier, at a pinch) because my friend Dave told me they subsist on a strict oat diet to prepare their palates for the grape. But then I found out that the super serious ones also suck on tampons to dry their mouths out, which is less palatable IMO. Quaker Oats, manned by the wholesome snowy-haired gent, are the definition of ‘no frills’.
Tuna: the chicken of the sea! It’s always on sale – kind of the Persian rug of foodstuffs – and is sustaining and delicious. Just be wary of mercury poisoning. You don’t want to end up with mad hatter’s disease, making daft comments about tinned fish.
Salad: pre-chopped crunchy goodness. An excellent ready-to-eat option if your kitchen is sub-par or overrun with experimental undergrads (no, you cannot make your own shrimp paste by blitzing raw prawns and tabasco in the blender).
But some things I will avoid, no matter how cheap. Someone actually offered me one of these horrifying monstrosities the other day…
Aunt Bessie’s Toad in the Hole: just about everything is wrong with this; the garish packaging, Aunt Bessie’s vacant expression (she’s no William Penn, to be sure), the fact that it costs £1 despite having gone through like 20 factory processes (tellingly, it’s in the ‘other meats’ section). And how rank does ‘Toad in the Hole’ sound anyway? It’s like the 2nd worse double entendre ever.
Apparently it’s two fat sausages clasped in a pastry pocket. Which is the worst double entendre ever.