….due to the appalling summer, it looks like food prices here in the UK will rise. As mentioned earlier, amateur gardeners are suffering; can only imagine how much grief professional farmers are experiencing from too much rain, plus additional rain, plus extra rain, plus a summer where even a few consecutive hours of decent sunlight, let alone a few days, or weeks, was a cause for national celebration, carnival and quite possibly ritual human sacrifice. My father proudly displayed the two, (count ’em!), two handfuls of green grapes he’s managed to bully out of the vines in the back garden. The rest he has consigned “to the blackbirds”, and it’s a truth that, given the summer, they may well desperately need that boost of fruit sugar to help survive the winter.
Despite this, we continue to be a nation that loves all kinds of international delicacies, even if some of us *cough* may occasionally use them to liven up a chip butty. I dropped into my local Big Business Supermarket this afternoon to arrange an anti-influenza immunisation with the pharmacy, and a gentle post-injection stroll around the aisles took me past such delights as red Camargue rice, black spiced rice vinegar, and glass jars of white truffles in porcini mushroom sauce. The last took a serious amount of self-control to walk past – I’ve never had truffles before but as I have a greedy love of mushrooms that wouldn’t disgrace a hobbit, I suspect I could cultivate a very expensive habit very quickly indeed. I hurried away and settled instead for a butternut squash and some Hershey’s peanut butter cups; another non-native species to the UK, but one laced with enough sugar and saturated fats to keep the blackbirds and Anxiousbirds of Tangleton warm from here to Spring….