Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Things They Eat

Someone on Facebook was missing some item of British food. I was reminded of a story of my Dad's.
They had bought a Mercedes and were heading out to Spain to live, once and for all. The Mercedes didn't like Spanish petrol and limped across the country at around 50kph, with ratty old Citroens and Renaults overtaking them with a gleeful squawk from the klaxon every now and again.
The boot was full of tined turkey in sweetcorn sauce.
Our friend from Middle Wallop had been in the turkey business for many years and in 1966 he decided with his brother to take the empire a step forward by introducing tinned turkey.
He was flat broke within three months.
When my parents announced they were leaving the UK for good (coincidentally, the morning after they had left me in my boarding school), our friend pressed several boxes of tinned turkey with the sweetcorn sauce, unlabelled, into my father's doubtful charge.
'There'll be fuck all to eat in Mojácar', said the friend with a certain logic.
So, after a ferry crossing to Calais, the customs officer beckoned to my father.
'Ouvrez', he said, waving imperiously at the boot of the car.
'C'ést quoi ça?', he said, pointing at the boxes of unlabelled merchandise.
My father wasn't much good at languages, but he was game: 'un gran wuzzoh para mange', he answered.
The customs officer, stumped by this answer, called for a can opener.
On opening the first tin and viewing the contents, he burst out in English - 'Sacré bleu, you Anglais will eat anything'.

No comments:

Post a Comment