Wednesday, 2 March 2011

All That Way Just To Pick Up A Can Of Creamed Corn?

If I recall rightly Elspeth had gone to Inverness for a hen night. And what poor Hamish didn’t know was she used Knorr stock cubes to make his broth. Elspeth was of course screaming with delight at a strip joint, which I don’t ever recall the Highland News exposing.

My memory of this TV advert of the 80s was prompted by our recent Quest For Creamed Corn. It might not have been as perilous or as epic as Frodo, Gandalf and the crew returning the ring to fires of Mordor but I think it underlines the lengths parents will go to for their bairns.

Wife-features had come across a recipe for zucchini (courgettes, to you and me) fritters that involved buttermilk and creamed corn. I scoffed that these items were mythical creations from American sitcoms like ‘twinkies’ and ‘half and half’ and there was no chance of finding them in Nairn.

It was the equivalent of laying a gauntlet down. The food retailers of our burgh were scoured.

We later found ourselves in Forres where buttermilk was seized upon with glee. But the creamed corn (ingredients: corn, water, sugar) was more elusive. Wife-features’ Quest For The Creamed Corn left no stone unturned or at least no supermarket website unsearched.

Asda has some! And there’s a branch in Elgin, hint, hint.

Again I mocked. We’re not going all the way to the county town of Moray, home of the humorously named Elgin City FC, the world’s smallest and most disappointing shopping mall - the St Giles centre - and the West End Fish Bar where a sitty-doon tea comes with bread and butter on melamine crockery.

I’ll treat you to lunch came the response.

Oh, OK then.

I’m afraid when it comes to most blokey clichés (roaring at football, worshipping Top Gear, liking Bruce Springsteen) I’m useless, apart from the offer of food. Works every time.

We made a day of it - took the train, romped in Cooper Park with Toddler Who Must Be Obeyed and had a good lunch at the Epicentre of Cashmere. The store has an excellent ramp inside, which occupied a hyperactive toddler for a good while. She also ran around the place at full tilt but of course was never in any danger - anything she crashed into would have been made of the softest woven fibres.

Why the buzzing bairn? Lunch was supposed to involve sandwiches but these were ignored in favour of the chocolate milkshake and chocolate crispy cake. In fact, just the chocolate from the crispy cake - the crispies were spat out once they had given up their chocolatey goodness.

Elgin does have a lot going for it. It has lovely green spaces and some interesting independent shops (Yeadon’s bookshop is excellent - I bought a comic hillwalking novel from the 50s with a foreword by Bill Bryson, thus ticking all my boxes) but also the hideous housing and retail park developments that blight Inverness. Times ahead will be tough with Kinloss closing and lay offs apparently also in order at Lossiemouth, although total closure has yet to be decided.

Finally, before we entered through the hallowed gate and into the Kingdom of Asda, we thought it would be fun to take a peek at Lidl. In one aisle I found Frikadelle (pork burgers), thermal underwear and dog biscuits in close proximity. Brilliant.

Even better was the fact we had to queue to get out. We weren’t buying anything but the only escape route was through the lone operating checkout. I seriously expected to have a light shone at me and a voice to bark: ‘Ver are your peppers?’ (Hmm. Green Dad went a bit Boris Johnson/Duke of Edinburgh there. Anyway…)

Over at Asda the creamed corn was cornered. Takeaway coffees were taken away and we sat and slurped at the station while waiting for the train home, Toddler having fallen asleep. It was only a few minutes of quiet time but I think we both had one of those moments when you realise how good life can be.

Oh, and the zucchini fritters? They were delicious but TWMBO didn’t eat a single one. Fish fingers to the rescue!

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