Saturday, April 26, 2008

A sweet parcel

Well I hope it was a sweet parcel anyway! When Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness matched me with Beth of Our Sweet Life, in the food bloggers’ equivalent to a Secret Santa I immediately set to work. The theme was “the littlest things” on account of a last attempts being so incredibly expensive to post and I needed some small ideas for inspiration so I started off by consulting Beth’s blog. One of her posts mentioned a desire for a sausage dog biscuit cutter (aka wiener cookie cutter!) and I set to work. A little browse through one of my new favourite shopping emporiums - eBay and I had the desired item. Whilst I was there I also procured some bone-shaped cutters, as I thought Leela might appreciate these and to continue the theme a proper gingerbread man cutter. And was I started I was on a roll, I procured a copy of Nigel Slater’s first book – the classic Real Fast Food, a set of my beloved Alessi heart-shaped espresso spoons, some retro looking blue foodie fridge magnets, little ladybird pegs and a cup cake charm which now adorns Leela’s collar. As I’ve been rather obsessed collecting cocktail sticks, I also found these vintage glass cockerel examples which definitely fitted the small theme. From my old favourite shopping emporium – Harvey Nix, I bought the dinkiest gingerbread men floating candles. So small that you could stage your own drowning in a teacup, I am sure Beth has more tasteful ideas for their use as long as Nate doesn’t eat them! There wasn’t much room for food after this little stash but I just managed to shoehorn a package of Mini Cheddars (though frankly, not as good as they used to be before they started improving the formula) and five tubes of Smarties.

And that’s another item that has changed radically from those highly coveted little chocolate buttons of my childhood. I used to sort the colours into separate piles, the orange ones (the ones containing an oil of orange) I would save for last, the black and brown ones that M convinced me were coffee flavoured I would set aside for her (coffee always being a particular bête noir) and the remaining slightly darker than pastel coloured I line up in single file and would eat. M will utterly deny this imposed Smarties tax, but it took me many years to tentatively taste a brown or a black Smartie for fear of that coffee hit. Now of course I know it’s only the orange ones that have any flavour but perhaps M didn’t make the whole story up as I believe the brown Smarties of her childhood were coffee but that was adjusted before I joined their ranks as a believer. And lots of other alterations have occurred, they introduced blue Smarties to much acclaim in 1988, but there is probably a reason we don’t have so many blue foods. I don’t recall the exact problem but I think the food colouring provoked a rather adverse reaction in their little consumers and turned them into hyperactive time bombs. So Smarties were reinvented again, this time with no blue and the colours were concocted from vegetable dyes, they seem darker and more homespun now. But deep down I guess they’re still the little oblate spheroids (how they’re described on wikipedia) that I loved even if they have changed colour. And the orange ones are still the best!

Beth seems delighted with her dinky parcel and I am so very pleased it arrived in one piece, I found it quite difficult to curtail my parcel stuffing so there was a danger of it getting to be another epic again as when I sent my previous one last year to the wonderful Bread Chick. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of my parcel before I high tailed it to the post office myself so have borrowed a few of Beth’s, she has more on her lovely blog.

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