How far would you go for one ingredient you deemed essential?
I used to travel across London to an Asian supermarket for exotic ingredients but am now lucky to have a great little store in Camden Town a merry stroll away. But I know that some of these ingredients were essential to the authenticity of the recipe, some items can be substituted to an extent but others are irreplaceable.
I raise this question since I was out with friends last night taking in a few beers, when one of the group claimed he had to leave to reach a supermarket in time to buy organic 90% salt free vegetable stock cubes.
This is quite a specific item, not just any stock cube would do, not even a reduced salt variety, but only the 90% salt free variety. So much so that he claimed he has to go to a supermarket well out of away, the opposite direction to his home and having to come back himself afterwards, by passing 2 equally large supermarkets, who I will now check their display of stock cubes to back up my retort to him that someone else will stock it. But he was adamant, must go to this specific supermarket for this stockcube.
I questioned why he didn’t just make a stock, it’s very easy then know what has gone into it, he was actually making a vegetable soup now I wonder if you actually need stock in a vegetable soup when the vegetables cooking in the water creates its own stock anyway. But he insisted he was leaving a pleasant evenings drinking in pursuit of the holiest of grails, the famed stock cube of Morrisons and off he toddled.
The three of us remaining, slightly happy after a few drinks were a bit dumbfounded by this, taking this journey night to buy a pack of stock cubes struck us ludicrous….but not as ludicrous as what we did next to trip up the adventurer.
We obtained the telephone number of the store and called up pretending to be hosting a Royal Wedding party and the chef had requested all of the organic stock cubes we could find. We spoke to a very nice lad, who checked the stocks to confirm he had a lot on the shelf but he queried the need to remove from sale as he didn’t think he would sell them but we pleaded that he put them to one side as this event was hinging on us obtaining this (very good acting on my friends part) then he obligingly took them off sale so we could ‘pick up later’.
By this time our friend had journeyed to the store and we phoned him to check his progress, “They’ve sold out” he sullenly claimed, the disappointment apparent in his voice. This was too much to bear, we were trying to stifle the laughs, unwilling to meet each others gaze for fear of cracking the facade and erupting into an extreme fit of giggles.
We had intended to carry this on, we told him to ask for the shop assistant as we had put them by for him, this was in the hope they would emerge with trays of stock cubes thinking he was picking them up from our earlier phone call, but alas our friend just thought we were winding him up and never saw through the second part of our devious ploy.
Our friend eventually trudged back and we revealed what we did, he claimed he has to take those low salt stock cubes for he has high blood pressure, the guilt trip never worked, it doesn’t cut it when you know they have been out drinking for days on end. I hope he saw the funny side, it was extremely childish and we wasted a couple of people’s time, but it also brought back together my two accomplices who had fallen out recently over something equally as stupid, but laughing together and hatching this practical joke had wiped all the awkwardness away, so it may have inadvertently patched up and awkward situation, hopefully.
My guilt had risen this morning, thinking of the poor shop worker rushing around to remove items from the shelf and then for no one to turn up, to be honest I was amazed they had bothered to do that from such a ridiculous enquiry, but all credit too them, I have just sent off an email to the store commending the assistant in question for their good work, maybe he’ll get employee of the month?