Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, July 21, 2008


I had a bit of a travel day last week.

To be more accurate, I left home well before dawn one day and arrived home at a few minutes past the next morning.

It’s a really weird thing, travelling for twenty hours and arriving back where you started without actually seeing daylight at home, sort of as though the day never happened. It’s very much the way I imagine time travel would feel. Everything is just a little older when you arrive back, but nothing’s been moved.

In terms of meals it never did happen. Sometimes between airports, trains, meetings, buses, hire cars, more meetings, the sun going down, still more meetings and a frenetic two hour drive back to the airport to catch the plane to a place which is a gentle ninety minute drive from home, it just isn’t possible to find any time or place for food.

Which is why it’s nice to travel home on Qantas, where “refreshments” are included in the fare.

I saved thirty dollars by flying out on one of those airlines where everything is an extra cost.

“Coffee sir? That’ll be two dollars please.”
“Did sir want a cup with that? That’ll be three dollars please.”

I have no idea why I have an aversion to paying five dollars for a cup of instant coffee that would have been warmer if it had been left in the sun for an hour or two, but I do. I have an even bigger aversion to paying for a piece of leftover yesterday’s sandwich too, but that might just be a hangover from when I last flew from London to France on Ryan air, when a cheese and pickle sandwich which looked as though it had been stolen from an ancient history museum, cost about the same as renting a flat at the beach for a month.

The bloke sitting beside me must have had a similar aversion. He bought a can of Coke and a Mars bar for breakfast. “That’ll be seventeen dollars please.”

If we were to then fast forward through time to a point that was least a dozen or so hours after I had last eaten, I could be found sitting on a flight home this time with “refreshments” being served.

Dinner at last. I can't say that I was expecting the world, after all the service was described as a "snack" by the ever attendant attendant, who duly handed me a slick curvy green box which would not have looked out of place on the shelves of a Body Shop outlet, except that instead of containing some sort of secret lotion, on it were written the words:

Sea Salt Lavosh
Pesto Dip
Sugar and Spice Biscuit

I had no idea what a Lavosh actually is and it’s a testament to the educational benefits of travel that I can now report that Lavosh is three crackers sealed in a small cellophane bag.
Apparently.

Having had my mind suitably broadened, and being reasonably familiar with the term “Pesto Dip”, I began to wonder what a “Sugar and Spice Biscuit” might be.

Sugar & Spice Biscuit
INGREDIENTS
Wheat flour butter sugar (22%) oats egg spices (1%)

It was late and I was tired and hungry, but no matter how many times, nor how many ways I added up the ingredients they always totalled 23%.

Twenty three percent.

I have no idea how the physics of that works, although I'd like to learn more. Imagine the power one would wield if one was able to say, fill one's fuel tank using just 23% , or if one could use the same technique at a Weight Watchers weigh-in.

All I know is, that when I did the mathematics later (and please don't ask me why I did, but I did), the cost of the airfare home, was an amazing 23% exactly, more than the one that didn't have the food service.

I don't think I'll ever know what to make of any of that, but I don't think I'll ever read a label again either.
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1 comment

Stace said...

Apparently it's because the world has gone mad, and if you use ingredients as part of a product name, EU law states you have to specify the % of those ingredients in the listing (sugar and spice in this case).

Clearly this doesn't explain the terrible grammar in the form of their lack of commas, but there ya go.

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