Archive for the 'Food' Category

Consumer rip off in Ramsgate

Have you noticed that Fry’s Vegan Hot Dogs now come in packs of 8 instead of 11. 11 who ever thought they might want to cook 11 hot dogs anyway? 5 for you and 6 for me! What a strange number? 27% less hot drops but has the price gone down?

Does it matter anyway, perhaps you aren’t big consumers of animal free hotdogs. What about olives? Mr TP is rather fond of those green, pitted olives, marinated in herbs, which come in a nice little tub. Just lately he has noticed there is no longer a cocktail stick in the lid. How is a plumber to eat his olives? Not with his fingers!

I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg, prices aren’t rising, we just get less for our money. I wonder if there are less tea-leaves in that box of 240 round bags, after all, I have bought it by the number of bags, not the weight so how will I know.

I have suggested to Mr TP that if you can’t beat’em… What about offering to install a boiler with eight radiators but only enough copper pipework to connect 6 of the rads. No, male pride, he insists he will be completing the whole job to perfection.

Installing Gas Boilers & Central Heating in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate, Whitstable & Kent

Installing Gas Boilers & Central Heating in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate, Whitstable & Kent

Supermarket etiquette – shopping dividers on the conveyor belt

This week’s Thanet Gazette was worth every penny for the debate on the letters page (13). Go read the issue in the library if you missed it.

Last week Jane Allen, who shops in Birchington, wrote:

“The person in front never puts the divider up between their shopping and mine. I think this is extremely rude. I was brought up to put the divider up after my shopping on the conveyer belt and ALWAYS do.”
Despite letters to the paper and going out to talk to shoppers in Margate it seems the Thanet Gazette were unable to find anyone else who felt passionately about this matter, in agreement with Ms Allen.
I was not the only person who checked the date to see if it could be an April Fools joke when I first read Ms Allen’s letter. Is she serious, or an agent provocateur? Anyway, being the pedant that I am I spent too much time pondering the issue myself because my gut reaction was that Ms Allen was actually wrong.

The divider of shopping etiquette is not as she stated.

With great joy this week I read the reply from Mark Goddard of Minis Road, Birchington, it is this I would urge you to read in full. He is a man with too much time on his hands to write about the trivia in life; he explains most eloquently why etiquette should suggest that when in a queue one is not responsible for what goes on behind the queuer. The queuer is merely responsible for ensuring appropriate space (barrier) between herself and the person in front.

If there is something trivial to argue about there will be blogs and websites dedicated to the subject, so I did a little search. The www is almost quiet on this matter. I did find a very entertaining blog, however, in which the author explains that the rules of etiquette are one should put the divider in front of your own shopping but the are strict rules governing your response if the person infront places the divider for you:

“My point being that the checkout divider has no significance over and above the thousands of other things happening around you at such a point in your life.
“However, others see the matter differently.
“It turns out that there is such a thing as checkout-divider-etiquette. And, it turns out, that it is a gross infringement of this etiquette should you not put down the plastic baton whenever the chance presents itself to you – … it turns out, at no point are you, the person ahead of them in the queue, obliged to place the plastic dividers down for them, the person behind you in the queue.
“And on top of all of that, if someone puts one of those plastic batons down between their food and yours, and you are behind them, about to put your prospective purchases down on the conveyor belt, it is obligatory to mutter a thank you. Letting out a voluble thank-you isn’t advisable, as this may come across as sarcasm, but mumbling an indecipherable thank-you into your sleeve is the very least you should do.”

There are, however, many pages dedicated to the subject of queuing, jumping it, holding your place with your shopping trolley whilst you go off for forgotten item, paying with small change, not getting your money out ready until it is time to pay, etc…




I think – people who find these things all so worrying might be better doing their shopping on line and/or sticking to small shops. Supermarkets are not going to be pleasant.
I found one angry supporter of the Jane Allen view.

Food fight in the building trade!

I’m thoroughly enjoying the CH4 ‘Food Fight’ season:

but I can’t help wondering who is watching? is it preaching to the converted…?

After all, in the T.P. household we eat loads of fruit, veggies, wholemeal bread and pulses – consequently we probably produce more poo than most east Africans (see – eat to change your life) and it is possible that we are causing global warming through our own excessive production of natural gas!

Ch4 say: “With the worst diet in Europe, two thirds of Britons are overweight, and treating obesity-related diseases costs the NHS more than £3 billion a year. Experts fear that today’s children could be the first generation to die younger than their parents if nothing is done.”It is a shocking fact that most people in the UK eat worse food than people who live in far more impoverished conditions in other parts of the world – that the obese folk around us are actually malnourished.

Especially as what we eat then affects not just our life span but our ability to function and enjoy our life.

Saint Jamie Oliver’s programme Eat to Save Your Life certainly made an impression on some of the labourers that we work with, they did watch it.   They laugh at our vegetarian diet, and like many people, they find it hard to believe that Mr Tara Plumbing usually eats vegan meals every day at home (doesn’t he miss his meat?).  The labourers’ diets are typical of those on the TV programme – refined, processed, convenience food, meat and potatoes, absolutely no fruit or vegetables.

The long term consequences of such a diet were graphically shown, it was hard hitting.  A shorter life and increased chance of getting all sorts of disabling diseases.

Most important – I thought – was the increased likelihood of male impotency.  I guess we all have different priorities!  

The message was clear – eat fruit and veggies; wholefoods; simple home cooked foods; the best quality you can afford and a little indulgence will probably not hurt.

If you get chance to watch repeats I recommend them, if you can watch only 1, see Eat to Save Your Life:

News Year’s Eve Treats – Mr T.P.’s chocolate balls

I have very rarely left my home for new year’s eve celebrations. I’m not keen on crowds, inflated prices, or wondering how I’m going to get home when I’m tired, it’s cold and there are no taxis for hours.I lived in London for more than a decade and never joined the mad crowds in Trafalgar Square. Of course, it was a lot colder on 31 Dec in the 20th century. I did venture into the centre of London only once on New Year’s Eve (1999) – this was only because I had an exclusive invite to an apartment by the Thames, we were able to stand on the roof to watch the River of Fire, away from the crowds and with the warmth of the sitting room near by and no queue for the toilet.


Mr T.P. put on the chef’s hat, assisted by our son – Big Cook Little Cook. They locked themselves in the kitchen where they made vegan Chocolate Truffles – yummy.   It is very simple.

  • 200g of good dark chocolate (vegan brands used in our house)
  • 60 ml of a drink (eg. rum, champagne, coffee…)
  • + cocoa powder


  • Melt the chocolate in the usual manner. For readers who don’t regularly melt chocolate for covering rice crispies and cornflakes, let me remind you that you melt it slowly in a bowl, over boiling water, on the hob.
  • Then stir in the coffee (or whatever) and leave the concoction to cool – this takes ages. Eventually it will start to solidify. This is when you scoop out little balls of mixture and roll it in to spheres of about 2cm diameter.
  • Finally, roll it in cocoa powder and leave the powdered balls in the fridge to set for about an hour or two.
  • Eat.

Secondly – Film

We watched the documentary about Life of Brian, followed by the film

What a brilliant, funny, well written and researched film. The documentary was a reminder that minorities among Christians are keen on censorship – some enjoy a joke though – I remember it was quite popular among Catholics at my school.

Modern Toilet – themed restaurants

Regular readers will know I love all things toilet related so I was excited to read about Modern Toilet – a chain of 12 toilet themed eateries.

I have found these links which readers who share my festish might also enjoy – includes pics and you tube clips:,26058,22756557-27977,00.html

Pics of the food –

Here are some photos:

Modern Toiletmodern toilet food 

Bon Appétit in Ramsgate

 is walking distance from my house. Based on my one visit on a mums’ night out I would highly recommend the restaurant and so does Mark Palmer in the Daily Telegraph.

It is French, of course, the menu is for the dairy-loving carnivore. With just 2 hours notice they were able to come up with a delicious choice of vegan options for one guest, which is the sign of a good chef. Now, let me tell you, I don’t do food reviews. My vocabulary has no adjectives which can be applied to comestibles. The food was interesting delicious, portions sizes were generous. The food was excellent, fresh, tasty, interesting and well presented. Bon Appétit is expensive (relative to the area), but you get what you pay for (expect to pay £25-£40pp (depending on how much you like your puddings and alcohol), it is worth it. In an elevated position under the Royal Harbour Yacht Club it has a great view over the harbour.

Whenever a large group go to dinner, that tricky issue of the bill with inevitably arise. I hoped someone would say, “Don’t worry everyone, I’ll get this”! I ‘ve been for dinner with strangers many times. I remember once being most impressed by the local lawyer sitting next to me who suddenly produced a tiny note of everything he had, with the price. He had obviously written this, very discretely, through the evening. As a regular member of that group he told me the end of the evening was always chaotic as everyone paid for what they had eaten.

With another group that I regularly eat with we also pay for our own meal. I have no problem doing a quick mental tally of my own consumption, but I’ve always been impressed by the woman who brings her calculator and works it out to the penny (no rounding it up to the nearest pound) she then meticulously adds on 12.5%. Actually she multiplies by 1.125 as she is using a scientific machine. She’s a girl with a math’s degree on a budget!

The mum’s divided the bill equally, always a recipe for confrontation among strangers! Who didn’t have a pudding? Who only drank tap water? Not me – I ate and drank as much as I could! You don’t keep this wobbly tummy without working on it!  How much should we leave as a tip? At least 12.5% is a minimum guideline if you have had good food and good service.

I heard a very interesting programme on Radio 4 this week. Did you know that it is legal and common in the restaurant business to pay staff less than the minimum wage! It is expected that wages will be made up by tips AND income tax is paid on those tips. If you had a good night out, with good service and sat at a table for several hours, the least you can do is reward the low paid staff with the best tip you can afford! 10% is the absolute minimum, in my opinion, 15-20% is quite reasonable. I’m known for being thrifty, so if I don’t feel I can afford the tip then I would eat somewhere cheaper – Beano Cafe have a good reputation! 

I’m sure buffet, eat as much as you can type places thrive because of groups of strangers. At such places the food might be somewhere between awful to palatable. At least there is not much chance of arguing over the bill and a generous tip might not be required.

By the way, if you check out the review for Bon Appétit (link above) you will note Ramsgate is up and coming! The author mentions that we have a Waitrose and a Cafe Nero. Mr Tara Plumbing recalls the Waitrose opening in the early 1980’s and as an apprentice plumber he worked in there at one of its refits in the 1980’s. Apparently it was built on the site of a former brewery.

More :

Vegetarian Thanet

160 years ago Vegetarian Society was founded, in Ramsgate of all places. There is an event on Saturday 7th July organised by local Veggie folk, not the national society (I think).

See my page for more details and links:

Some people imagine Vegetarians to be pale, weak, humourless characters, who live on state benefits and can not afford a proper collar for their dogs. Their responses are slow because their brains are trying to conserve energy.

Strange – I’ve met that man as well, he’s NOT veggie, he’s a druggie! I love the jokes about vegetarians, they tend to be surreal.

Does meat make you strong (virile, manly)? Well – it takes an awful long time for it to move through the intestines & digest.  There is a study which found meat-eaters’ poo takes 6 months to disintergrate, whereas a vegan’s poo decomposes in hours. Infact, it would seem likely that the person who eats only meat & wheat, with no fruit & veggies is more likely to be sloath-like in their behaviour.  I’m not sure about mental functioning but there is no reason for a planet based diet to be lacking in the omegas.

If you love eating, as I do, then it makes sence to eat a vegan diet: high fibre, based on fruit, vegetables and grains.

1. The food passes through you really quickly and sometimes still looks the same on the way out as when first consumed! So you can rapidly move on to your next meal.

2. Most vegetable foods are not so calory dense, which means you can get a lot more food on your plate at each meal time.

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