Past Sins

This one will resonate especially with my Brit and Colonial Readers.

It appears that the Rowntree company has discovered that O Woe their company depended on The Evil Slavery back in the days before steamships were built, and therefore they are prostrating themselves before the Gods Of Wokedom, rending their clothes, wearing hairshirts and putting out their corporate eyes in orgies of  self-abasement and atonement [some slight hyperbole there] :

Trusts created by British chocolate maker Rowntree have apologised after research into its own history revealed ‘shameful’ links to the slave trade.
The investigation into the company’s history was party prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement and revealed evidence that the famously philanthropic family business may have profited from the slave trade.

But it gets worse:

Research by the Rowntree Society, which promotes the history of the company, also uncovered allegations of racial discrimination and anti-union tactics at the firm’s South African subsidiary Wilson Rowntree during the apartheid era as recently as the early 1980s.

O noes!  Not the Evil Boers! 

Now I don’t wanna sound all uncaring and indifferent and stuff, but lest we forget, said horrors also enabled the following items of pure deliciousness to tickle our palates.

An aside:  alert Readers will note that many of the items below are labeled “Nestlé” because yea did Rowntree sell their chocolate business to the foul Swiss;  but thankfully, the cuckoo clockmakers have never used their own disgusting chocolate recipe, but stuck to the original Rowntree formulation (much like Hershey has done with Cadbury products Over Here).

Here they are:

Still one of the nicest chocolate bars ever made, the “bubbly” Aero is an automatic basket-filler when I go to World Market.

This is a staple in 7-11 and other convenience stores, and for good reason.  (The white-chocolate KitKat is even better.)

Beloved by small children (and by their parents, as bribe material), the tiny sugar-coated gelatin pellets are not only delicious, but addictive.  Not as addictive, however, as Rowntree’s

The Son&Heir is not a big candy consumer;  he doesn’t eat chocolate and hardly ever uses sugar with anything.  However, give him a tube (or large bag, it doesn’t seem to matter) of Fruit Pastilles when he comes a-calling, and the delicious things will have disappeared before he gets home.

These chocolate-filled sugar candies are what M&Ms are supposed to taste like, but don’t.  Unlike said Hershey horribles, Smarties give you a choice in the eating thereof:  you can crunch them up in your mouth and chew the thin candy slivers with the chocolate, or you can do what I do:  suck them slowly until the candy disintegrates, then be left with warm, melted chocolate that will coat the inside of your mouth with absolute indulgent pleasure.  (Yes, they do melt in your pocket;  which is why Smarties are typically sold in stiff cardboard tubes [see pic] so that they don’t.)

And then we come to the piéce-de-resistance (brace yourselves, this is going to cause mass convulsions among the Wokistas):

This cornucopia of delight was a staple among young men of my generation, serving as a fail-safe present for Mom on Mother’s Day / her birthday, and Valentine’s Day for the beloved girlfriend / wife.  (Yes, children, back in the day women actually ate chocolate without suffering agonies of conscience, and giving chocolate as a present did not engender [sic]  howls of accusation.)  You can get an idea from this wonderful launch ad:

Even better was that the inside of the lid gave a map to the contents:

Now I know that calling it “Black Magic” would nowadays be considered the Ultimate Rayyycism, but in those days — and yes, this is going to sound weird to the Youngins — black packaging gave products an air of class (see:  limousine colors, tuxedo suits, “black tie” dress etc.), so the brand name was that, and also gave the product a slightly “wicked” feel.  Because even back then, we knew that chocolate was an indulgence, and fattening, and so on.  (I know, I know:  we Whiteys appropriated Black people’s skin color for our own ends.  Talk about wicked.)


So, to return to my original thesis (after wiping the drool from my chin):  yes, the Rowntree company has behaved abominably in the past, etc. etc.

But I think I can safely say that out of the suffering of slaves did come some of the greatest snack candies of all time, and that should count for something.

Afterthought:  it’s probably a good thing I don’t do social media, as one can hardly imagine the response to a humorous post like the above on Twatter or Faecesbook.

Not That Kind

I’ve seen crap like this so often in the past that it just causes me a MEGO* nowadays:

This particular article, however, was accompanied by this pic:

…and I felt better about my chances immediately.

You see, I think the “sausages” to which they refer are the processed (“hot dog” or pork) kind such as made by Oscar Meyer, Ball Park, Armour et al., full of chemicals and preservatives and such.

My daily breakfast of a piece of boerewors doesn’t fall into this category at all.  Made by a butcher, it contains nothing but actual meats (exact point of origin, so to speak, anonymous), and no additional chemicals at all.  It’s a 6″-long piece of this stuff:

…plus a boiled egg, and that’s it.  (Maybe a couple of cheese curds, when we have them, for a little additional flavor.)

I actually can’t stomach processed sausages because after eating boerewors, they taste like nothing more than pulped sorta-meat.  Anyway, according to similar “studies” in the past, I should have croaked thirty years ago, as I eat a piece of boerewors almost every day;  and yet here I am.

Remember:  if you want to roll your own, there’s a Boerewors Prep link down the right-hand side of the page.  I accept no responsibility for any sudden addiction thereto.

*MEGO:  my eyes glaze over;  a sudden and acute attack of boredom.


I must confess that I’ve never understood the Brit obsession with “chip butties” (a.k.a. “chip baps”), which are simply whitebread-and-butter sandwiches with french fries inside them.  (A “bap” is a sandwich, either sliced bread or a bread roll — don’t ask, I don’t get it either.)

Carbohydrates squared.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t put fries into a sandwich, I guess, although I’ve always considered fries to be an accompaniment to a sandwich rather than its filling.  Put it down to Weird Shit That Brits Do.

However, there’s been this development:  the 1,000-calorie deep-fried chip butty, and apparently the Brits can’t get enough of it.  (No pics because… yikes.)

Even better, the deep-fried chip butty can be served with a side order of… fries.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all… although I have to tell you that I wouldn’t mind trying one, just out of academic interest.

Postscript:  In Scotland you can get deep-fried Mars Bars, but that’s just the Scots being Scottish.  And they taste just about as you’d think they’d taste:  bloody awful.

Boxing Day Cheer

As I may have said before, we don’t have Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day itself:  Christmas Day is devoted to a Full English Breakfast with the kids (this was ours yesterday;  bangers, beans, back bacon, mushrooms. eggs and tomato all  fried in boerewors drippings and hash browns, also — not pictured — French bread toast, and cinnamon rolls made by Daughter)

I should point out that this was my plate:  the others had portions essentially double that of mine, because I can’t take that much because of gastric surgery.  I made up for it by drinking more Mimosas than everyone else.

We save the roast beef dinner till the day after Christmas:  Boxing Day (a Du Toit family tradition):

I cook the roast, New Wife does the potatoes, parsnips, asparagus and other veg., and Daughter makes the Yorkshire pud.  Dessert is generally peach cobbler and / or fruit cake with icing, but this year there’s a Yule Log like this one, compliments of Daughter.

Mostly because nobody in our family can handle a Full English and Roast Beast on a single day, we’ve turned Christmas Day into a two-day family affair.  In American terms, it’s like having two Thanksgiving meals in a row.

We like it that way.

Lockdown Partner

Forget for a moment that we’re mostly all Old Married Pharttes, and imagine that you’re going to be in lockdown with a hottie — to be more specific, a hottie chef, because regardless of how hot she is, at some point you’re gonna have to eat, and you don’t want to be stuck in that situation with Jennifer Aniston, who can’t boil a lettuce.

So here are the contenders, in no specific order:

Nigella Lawson

Rachel Allen

Rachel Khoo

Giada De Laurentiis

Lisa Faulkner

Marcella Valladolid

Rachel Ray

Ingrid Hoffmann

Cat Cora
Okay, Cat Cora is probably disqualified because sadly, she’s a lesbianist.  In her place, therefore:

Mary Berg

(That’s for my Canucki Readers…)

As an aside, three of the above are named Rachel.  Coincidence?  I think not.


And for my long-suffering Lady Readers, who are always being left out of these things:

Curtis Stone(I know, Australian therefore should be disqualified.  Shuddup or I’ll add Guy Fieri.)

James Martin

Jean-Christophe Novelli

Phil Vickery

And in the interests of good taste and such, I haven’t bothered with Gordon Ramsay, because I would refuse to pay your hearing-aid bills after you’ve been in a three-week lockdown with him.


Feel free to add your favorite chefs in Comments.

Under The Knife

I remember the day I quit exercising.

I was thirty years old, in really good shape, and while visiting my mother I went for my regular morning jog.  At the time, she lived in Umhlanga Rocks, a little seaside resort town just north of Durban, and to say that the Indian Ocean coast has a tropical climate is to understate the thing.  It’s not only hot, it’s humid — so humid that I, a Joburg boy, actually had trouble breathing the thick, moist air (Johannesburg is 6,000ft above sea level).

But I had to stay in shape, and I liked the way I looked, so off I went.  I kept the jog short, maybe two or three miles up the coast road, and then I turned around and went back, taking a little detour along the concrete boardwalk that runs past the luxury hotels and separates them from the beach.

By now, I was deeply uncomfortable and miserable:  the sweat was pouring off me, I was tired and more than a little sunburned because while I usually jogged without a shirt up in Johannesburg, it was not an issue there — but down here, in the blazing tropical sun, my fair skin was going extra-crispy, and fast.

I was coming up to the last leg of the trip, where I could make the turn and head back to my mother’s house.  At that point, one of the hotels had a patio cafe right on the boardwalk, and sitting at a table under a large Cinzano umbrella were two rather pretty younger women.  As I ran past, one whistled and called out in Afrikaans, “Nice bod!”

I waved over my back at her, ran about a dozen more yards, and stopped dead in my tracks, chest heaving and my breath wheezing like a beached whale as the epiphany struck me.  I was doing all this — the tiredness, the sweatiness, the sunburn, the aching muscles — just so a stranger could compliment me on my “mooi lyfie” ?

I walked back to my Mom’s house, and never jogged again.

All this came back to me when I read the story of how Ozzy Osbourne’s daughter Kelly has had gastric sleeve surgery and thus lost over 80lbs.

Now I’m not going to go into some stupid amateur psycho-analysis as to why she would want to do this.  She was always a plump little thing, and clearly she didn’t like the way she looked (hence all the tattoos she had inflicted on herself, tattoos which she is now having removed — draw your own conclusions).  And she looks quite fetching now (see the link above)… but that just leads me to my earlier conclusion:  why would she undergo so radical a surgery, just so a stranger like me could think she was “quite fetching”?

I know several women who have had gastric sleeve surgery, and every single one has told me that had they known what the consequences were going to be (other than the massive weight loss), they would never have done it.  You see, the weight loss may be all very well, but what the gastric sleeve does is make eating food a profoundly uncomfortable experience:  nausea, pain, discomfort and a general malaise all follow if you eat so much as a single forkful of food too many, and after a while you begin to hate the sight of food.  Any food.

And what happens next is that some of the joy goes out of your life.  Eating is such a wonderful and enjoyable experience, really:  nothing quite compares to the feeling of satisfaction, of well-being and happiness that a good meal gives you.  It’s one of life’s simple, and paradoxically one of life’s greatest pleasures.  And with gastric sleeve surgery (which is irreversible), it’s gone forever.

So while everyone — and every one a stranger — is complimenting Kelly Osbourne on how great she looks, know too that her previous unhappiness at being overweight has been replaced with a much greater one.

And frankly, I never thought she was that fat to begin with.