Monday, 6 December 2010

Well, That Was A Downer

Currently I am reading a lot of different books, all at once. I don't know what it is about me but I like to have multiple books on the go. Maybe I've got ADRD: Attention Deficit Reading Disorder? At the moment I am re-reading The Joy Luck Club, Love in the Time of Cholera, any one of my twenty-three childhood L.M. Montgomery stories (those are like candy and can be devoured in a sitting), but I am reading for the first time How to Eat by Nigella Lawson.

Let me hereby proclaim my love for Nigella Lawson, and let you all know that pretty soon I'm going to build a tree fort and then I will hold Nigella Lawson fan-club meetings in said tree fort. During these meetings we will all learn how to talk about food using the most seductive and expansive vocabulary you have ever heard.

Now I have browsed enough UK websites to know that occasionally Ms. Lawson gets flack for talking about food with a lover's tongue, but honestly that's one of the reasons I enjoy her show so much: I like to watch a show knowing that the person cooking isn't doing so out of a perfunctory obligation that we need to eat, so *shrug* why not well? No, I like to watch because Nigella clearly adores food and she takes pleasure in the joy of eating good food.

So that is why I am reading her cookbook. The thing is, I don't really buy cookbooks solely for their recipes because today why spend $20, $30, or $50 dollars on a cookbook when you can go online and find thousands of variations on one recipe? Often times by the same chefs whose book you might have bought? If I buy a cookbook it's because there is a story to go with the food; the author provides antidotes as a starter to the main course.

As you may have guessed from my insomnia post, on Thursday night I happened to have been reading and that also included a few more chapters out of How to Eat. Specifically I'd just finished the chapter on dining alone which articulated that cooking for one (you) is perhaps more important than cooking for multiple people and why not make the effort to not only feed yourself well, but indulge too. This is when Nigella confessed that one of her favourite 'eating alone' indulgences is caviar on blinis.

Over the years my mind has briefly flitted on and off the topic of caviar, but let's face it: living in Kamloops I had no idea where to even look for that little tin of sturgeon eggs that I heard rumoured to be expensive. Also, wasn't caviar only something that people in Russia, bundled up in their parkas, ate while drinking vodka out of shot glasses made of ice?

Basically what I'm saying is that though I've always wanted to try it, caviar didn't seem accessible to me. But that was before I was living in Switzerland. That was before I lived mere minutes from the most pretentious department store I have ever set foot in, which pretentious department store also has an extensive and pretentious groceries floor.

So on Saturday morning, still obsessed with this idea of tasting caviar, I dragged Dan to Globus with me. When I first moved here I wandered into Globus and then quickly wandered out after admiring a handbag that I thought would maybe cost CHF 75 but actually cost CHF 1,800. Insane! So yes, needless to say Globus is not a store I ever shop at and that should have maybe been my first clue.

Dan and I wandered around their food section, looking at a little 300g bag of dried pasta that sold for CHF 20; white truffle paste for CHF 85; Dr. Oeteker cake mix for CHF 18. But those prices ain't got nothin' on the price of caviar my friends. Nothin'! The caviar is kept in a what appears to be a deli case, and when I saw the prices my jaw hit the ground.

If my H&M jeans, North Face vest and old gray backpack didn't give away the fact that I wasn't exactly a Globus shopper, my gasps of "Are they fucking kidding?!" certainly did.

Canadians, I want you to picture a Toonie and then maybe enlarge that circumference by 5mm. Swiss folks, picture the size of a CHF 5 piece. Do all have those dimensions pictured? Okay. A tin of caviar that small cost....CHF 250!

And would you like to know how much a round tin of caviar, roughly the size of tea cup plate cost? Well, that little disc of delicacies cost CHF 2,200!

Oh. My. God.

Nigella! How could you do this to me? I realize that you are a self-made woman who has done very well for herself, and you can actually afford to indulge in a solitary meal of caviar and blinis but my God woman, KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Most people who are going to regularly indulge in a meal like that can afford a personal chef and probably don't care to buy your cookbook. But the rest of us, if we got hooked on eating caviar from month to month, well that addiction will potentially leave a little army of people with the most sophisticated palates who e'er did sleep in cardboard boxes or on park benches.

I feel a little let down Nigella, I'm not going to lie.

But since I'm a true fan, I still think you're rad and I'd still like a vocabulary lesson from you. Also, feel free to invite me over for caviar and blinis any time.

I'll bring the ($6.00) bottle of vodka.


M'dame Jo said...

Well, go to IKEA and buy some "oeufs de lompe".

The only translation I found is "lumpsucker eggs" and it sounds gross :) but it tastes good!

T said...

wow! That's crazy! Maybe an aniversery meal for just you and Dan though? I can only picture that if you're like me, you are still going to be thinking about trying that caviar one day...even if it is the one and only time you ever induldge in such a thing!

Caitie said...

M'dame Jo--Trusty ol' IKEA has a budget solution for everything! I will totally try that. Thanks :-)

T--You never know, one day my future self might have $300 dollars in her pocket that she was otherwise going to blow her nose on but then realized, "Wait! I can buy caviar instead!" hahaha. You never know.

M'dame Jo said...

Actually, you can find "fake caviar" in any shop - just go to the Coop - but IKEA's cheap AND good.