Nonsense foods

It was my daughter’s birthday on Sunday and by midday she had consumed more sugar than Willy Wonka gets through in a week. Luckily the wife had some slightly more nutritious treats lined up for her lunchtime spread.

I say nutritious. There were breaded products mainly and crisps. The only other savoury item in with a slight chance of not making our little girl turn her nose to the sky were cocktail sausages.

All we had to do was heat them up to further increase the likelihood of her eating them.

Funnily enough, it was only after heating them up that the wife noticed.

‘Oh no,’ she said. ‘They’re smoky bacon cocktail sausages.’

‘Eh?’ I replied.

Because surely that sentence didn’t make sense. Smoky bacon sausages can’t possibly exist, can they? It is almost a tautology. But no, there it was written on the packet. And, of course, the packaging does as little as possible to distinguish itself from its normal cocktail sausage cousin that most normal people would want to buy.

This always makes me cross. Just then the plastic film rolled back at the corner as if giving me a smug ‘gotcha’ wink. ‘You’ve cooked me now so you can’t take me back,’ it was whispering. ‘So you have to eat me. Eat me, eat me, eat me…’

But I didn’t want to eat them. It didn’t seem right. Sausage and smoky bacon are part of the fry-up family. They sit happily side by side on many a plate at breakfast like siblings who are best mates. It is even socially acceptable for them to co-exist in a hot dog bun at a push. But they shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be jumping into bed together like this. Smoky bacon mashed up in a sausage? Why, it’s culinary incest.

I flipped back the plastic film again and studied it angrily.

‘What nutter at Tesco decided this was a good idea?’ I asked.

My wife said nothing, just placed the plate of inbred savouries on the table.

But I ranted on.

‘I’d like to have been in that focus group,’ I said, ‘where the people were asked what item would they most like to see on the shelves at Tesco and someone jumped up and shouted “ooh, I know, I know… smoky bacon cocktail sausages.” Imagine the cheers and looks of awe as the rest of the participants piped up with “yes, yes, Mr Tesco – smoky bacon cocktail sausages are just what our lives have been missing.”‘

I calmed down just as the daughter was refusing some buttered French bread on account of the bread being a day old. Needless to say there was absolutely no chance she was going to eat the sausages now. Still I figured I may as well give them a go.

They were, as expected, a lot like normal cocktail sausages. They had the same texture, the same consistency but they tasted, quite strongly but not completely, of smoky bacon.

OK, I wasn’t disgusted by them, but neither did I feel my life had been in any way enhanced by this new strange concoction. Nor did I feel any hint of virtue or pride from actually trying them. ‘Oh yeah I had those new smoky bacon cocktail sausages from Tesco the other day,’ wasn’t going to have any mouths gaping around the water cooler. Stomachs churning, maybe.

Smoky bacon cocktail sausages. The more I said it, the more I reached the only conclusion that can be reached about such an absurd delicacy.

It is a nonsense food. It shouldn’t exist, but for some reason it does. If it is the result of some mad focus group, who are these people? Ban them from focus groups immediately – their opinions aren’t welcome here on Earth. If it is just down to someone high up at Tesco and their peculiar tastes, transfer that person to the accounts department before they invent the fish and chip pizza base or something equally ridiculous.

Smoky bacon cocktail sausages are not alone. I have come across other nonsense foods in the past, always bought in error. Raspberry cream filled iced buns spring to mind. Surely it ceases to be called an iced bun the moment you go squirting something into it.

On the same fateful sausage shopping trip, the wife in her haste came back with two ‘lighter’ bottles of wine. Eight per cent alcohol. Now that really is a nonsense drink. Either you want to drink alcohol or you don’t. Anyone wanting to consume slightly less alcohol than normal would be better off drinking less of a decent wine, not this poor man’s cherryade.

No, these nonsense foods must only exist because of the occasional cock-up at the factory. Someone accidentally presses a button and pours a ton of smoky bacon flavouring into the cocktail sausage mix. Too costly to waste so the smoky bacon cocktail sausage is born. Another guy mistakenly switches on the raspberry filling squirt gun as the machines are trying to ice the buns. Bingo, we have raspberry cream filled iced buns. Wine tastes a bit naff? Add sweetener and a spot of water and you’ve got your eight per cent lighter wine.

Bung it on the shelves in very similar packaging to the normal varieties of these products and watch harassed parents in a hurry or the short-sighted elderly like my mother snap them up until the whole spoilt batch is sold. No-one bothers to take this stuff back once they’ve opened it and realised, do they?

Come on, there’s a recession on and we’re all trying to tighten our belts. Your own shares may be falling, but stop palming us off with these nonsense foods, Tesco.

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