My mother in law was a stickler for designer labels. She had racks of clothes in her loft from M&S, still with the labels on, things she’d bought on a whim, got home, didn’t like, and wouldn’t take them back because it was ‘beneath her’ to ask for a refund.
She was the same with glasses, insisting on a particular type of lens, and would have a new pair every time her eyes were tested (sometimes twice a year or more if she didn’t like the optician who carried out the examination) at the cost of three or four hundred pounds.
Nine times out of ten she didn’t like them, and they would be put in the kitchen drawer rather than returning to the opticians for adjustment or a replacement. We found 15 pairs that had never been worn.
Similarly if she bought an appliance for the home, it had to be of a ‘Named Manufacturer’, again with a price tag way higher than necessary, and at one stage she was prepared to purchase a new television purely because the aerial didn’t work. Hubby sorted that out before she parted with her cash as another television wouldn’t have worked either.
We had a laugh at her expense (not intended) as a washing machine we purchased for less than £200 was made by a subsidiary company of the one she paid £600 for, and apart from the colour of the controls, it was the same machine. Hers flooded the kitchen and she replaced it for an even more expensive one that beeped continuously when the cycle was finished. She hated it, and as it turned out, it was an unnecessary purchase as all that had happened was that the waste hose had fallen off the drainage pipe, as discovered by the fitter when he came to install the new one .
Now let’s talk about bread.
We are not big bread eaters nor do we have food allergies or intolerances, and currently pay 36p for an 800g sliced loaf, brown or white, which keeps for as long as it takes us to eat it.
Granted, it’s not covered in seeds or grain, hasn’t got chunky bits on the inside, nor does it come in a fancy wrapper with a gold star of approval. But it’s OK for us, it makes a decent sandwich and doesn’t taste like cardboard.
For 50p, we can buy a fresh uncut 400g tiger or cob loaf that normally doesn’t see the following day as we’ll dunk nobbies of it in soup or have a ploughman’s lunch for a change.
For £1, we can buy an uncut 800g white split/farmhouse or brown granary/wholemeal/multi grain/wheatgerm loaf which is equally as nice, but doesn’t tend to keep as well as our cheapie.
That was OK when I was making bread pudding or a bread and butter pudding, as these are usually best with ‘old’ bread.
When we went down to see MOH, we did some shopping at his request, and selected a £1 800g wholemeal loaf that was still warm. We split the bill 50/50 after allowing for a few things we’d purchased for ourselves as they were on special offer.
The meal for that day was to be a cauliflower cheese (39p for the cauli and about £2 of cheese) with some shredded ham and tomatoes that I had in our fridge followed by a bread and butter pudding to use up our ‘old’ white bread.
As things turned out, this was to be had the following day as MOH had already prepared a meal using fresh runner beans from a neighbour’s garden, new potatoes and some corned beef (all very nice I might add).
Anyway, we used our white bread for toast the following morning, and so when the guys went out to get the stuff to finish the fence, I asked them to bring in a cheap small white loaf for our dessert.
I was expecting something along the lines of what we get for 50p, but what was purchased was a small cob loaf, sliced on request, costing £1.45 from a family bakers. I had since discovered the tail end of a multigrain loaf on top of his fridge that would be perfectly adequate so used that instead.
I must confess that both main course and dessert were two of the best I’ve done.
We used the white cob for toast instead and to be honest, it tasted of nothing in particular.
The wholemeal loaf we’d bought was finally cut on our last morning, and we thought it was OK. MOH wasn’t impressed though, and suggested we brought it home with us. I told him he didn’t have any other bread, so it would ‘do him’ until he next went shopping.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with liking or preferring what we call ‘posh bread’. If you can afford to pay £2.75 for such a loaf, by all means have it.
But from our experience, it doesn’t necessarily taste any better than a cheaper loaf, and in some instances, expensive bread tends to go ROCK HARD after a couple of days, so is more than likely to be thrown away or put out for the birds.
Wonder if our feathered friends would therefore ‘dress for dinner’ (or high tea)?