Tag Archives: sandwich

SAINSBURY’S ON-THE-GO HONEY AND MUSTARD CHICKEN WRAP

food-to-go-sainsburys-600

By Mansour Chow, jet-setter and coach-getter

On Friday, I took a coach to Bristol with my wife. Before the journey commenced, my wife grabbed some sandwiches from Sainsbury’s from their aptly named ‘On-the-Go’ range.

I suppose the range is aptly named for the circumstances of her purchase, but I can’t speak for all purchases. Then again, in a sense, unless we’re staying perfectly still, aren’t we always on-the-go? And even if we’re staying still, we’re still burning calories, our hearts are still beating, our bodily organs are still functioning, unless we’re dead, of course.

Okay, then, let’s try to come up with some sort of truism to summarise these thoughts. Hmm, how about this: we’re basically all on-the-go unless we’re dead.

But come to think of it, even when we’re dead, we’re kind of on-the-go, in that our flesh and organs are still subject to decomposition. And for up to a few days after our brain and heart have given up on us, our skin cells remain alive. Furthermore, once the brain goes, that part of it that sent a signal to our sphincter to stay closed (until we need it to open at a time of our choosing) disappears, meaning we actually urinate when dead. We can also fart and shit, and some people (your mum, for example) even ejaculate.

But for the sake of a pretty non-existent argument (until I raised it), let’s just say that we’re not on-the-go when we’re dead. Let’s also say that some idiots create a range of sandwiches aimed at dead people, and they give that range the name ‘On-the-Go’. Can we all please agree that that would be ridiculous? Firstly, you’d normally have to go to the dead people in order to have any chance of selling the sandwiches. And even then you still wouldn’t be able to sell sandwiches to them, because they’d be dead. Dead people don’t choose to do anything because they’re no longer capable of making a choice. Only the most ludicrously determinist philosophers would say that there’s little or no difference between a dead person and a living person in terms of choice making capacity.

I’m confident, if you didn’t already agree before, that you’ll now almost certainly agree that a sandwich range aimed at dead people would be a really fruitless venture. Even a fruit range aimed at dead people would be a fruitless venture.

I think we just have to be honest about people who are no longer living. They are no longer masters of their domain, if they ever were. They have no domain. To put it simply, dead people are, well, dead. It’s no good saying that they’re still looking over you, because they’re not. Their eyes no longer send signals to the brain; the brain no longer receives signals from the eyes. And while we’re at it, can we please agree that it’s ridiculous and idiotic to think that there’s an afterlife. I mean, what’s the point in life if there’s an afterlife?

One of the sandwiches my wife purchased from this on-the-go range was a honey and mustard chicken wrap. Once the coach had departed and we felt marginally more settled (which was about as settled as we were ever going to be), we opened that sandwich, having ourselves half a wrap each (there are two half-wraps in a pack).

SainChickWrap2

Unable to find image of actual product under review. Here’s something vaguely similar.

Midway through eating the wrap, we both stopped for a moment to discuss how utterly disappointing the sandwich was. It was, as I told Sainsbury’s via tweet, “one of the most underwhelming experiences of my life”.

Why, you may ask, did I feel the need to tell Sainsbury’s of my experience eating their sandwich? Mainly because I was a bit bored and it would help to fill the time, but also because that’s what people do these days, isn’t it? They just whine to huge companies who are so worried about their reputation that they usually just hand over money or vouchers to you to try to make you feel better. Complaining to companies via Twitter is now en vogue. I could write an entire essay about this form of societal decay, but now is not the time. However, for a quick comfort break from the heavy intellectual themes of this essay, here are what I consider to be good examples of the sort of complaints via Twitter I am referring to:

tweet simonTweet TusharTweet Mansourtweet Zeus

And we’re back. Where were we? Oh, do keep up! We were at the point where I told you that I had complained via Twitter to Sainsbury’s about their fucking rubbish sandwich.

Steven was the first one to reply. He was “sorry” I didn’t enjoy the wrap or at least that what’s he told me, and he wanted to know more about why I didn’t like it. About a minute before I received Steven’s message, I had actually written a further message to Sainsbury’s, adding the Average Food Blog Twitter handle, saying:

tweet Mansour 2

Somehow though, Steven’s message replenished some added hope in humanity, that someone – even if it was simply because they were being paid to – actually cared enough to ask me more about my abject experience, as if perhaps they might want to do something to cheer me from my folly. Thanks to Steve, I managed to pluck back up enough strength from the depletion that eating that wrap caused me, in order to tell him my thoughts.

Basically, it didn’t taste of anything. It tasted how I imagine most sandwiches would taste if I smoked 100 cigarettes a day for 50 years. I don’t smoke, by the way, only the odd one on a night out – a sort of cheeky cigarette when I’m tipsy or drunk. But I’m not a smoker per se.

There was no detectable mustard taste to it. In fact, there was no detectable taste for any of the ingredients. The chicken just about had the texture of chicken, but none of the flavour. I’m ashamed to say that my wife and I still ate it all which kind of reminds me of the joke in Annie Hall at the start about the two old women eating. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrxlfvI17oY

Technically I wrote all that in a serious of tweets and had missed out the word ‘no’ in one of the tweets (I’ve also tidied it up a bit here and there too), but I’m relatively confident they could read between the lines.

Angie from Sainsbury’s responded three hours later offering me a refund. But I was curious. Had she ever tried the sandwich? Did she agree with me? I wanted to know whether she had tasted this sandwich and, if so, what she thought, so I asked via another tweet.

Ewan responded saying, “I can’t speak for Angie but I personally love it!” And he re-offered me a refund.

Ewan tweet

Well, after Ewan’s response, I needed to know more. How could he love it? There is really nothing to love about it. I mean, I can see how someone might love it. For example, if it became available to them during a famine. But aside from those sorts of exceptional and unrealistic scenarios, I couldn’t get my head around how he could love such a shit sandwich.

The only possible benefit of the existence of this sandwich is that the phrase ‘shit sandwich’ may have been coined as a consequence of eating it. But to love the sandwich, that is whole other thing. What kind of sick and twisted individual would one have to be in order to actually love it? What low expectations would someone have to have to allow them to enjoy eating that sandwich? As I contemplated the latter question, I actually felt a bit sorry for Ewan.

But I still couldn’t let it rest. I needed to know what he liked about it and what score he would give it out of ten. So I asked him. But given that I had originally been asking Angie about her opinion on it, I asked him whether he could ask her too.

Roughly five and a half hours later, Aisha replied to say that her colleagues weren’t in and that she’d never tried the wrap. And she offered another refund. But this had turned into something far more important than the money. I needed to try and get my head around how Ewan could like such an appalling sandwich.

Over nine hours later, I asked Aisha if they were in the office and if she could ask again. And then Ewan replied:

I’ve spoken to Angie and she said she loves the sweetness mixed with the savoury flavour of the mustard. Along with some Kettle Chips and a bottle of Lucozade, it would be a 10/10 meal deal. I personally love mustard with chicken, I think it’s a great combo along with a bottle of Irn Bru and original Pringles, it would be a 8.5/10!”

At first, I was not sure what to make of this reply nor was I sure what to make of Ewan’s professed love of such a terrible sandwich or Angie’s high appreciation for it. But I think I am beginning to come to terms with these matters.

On the one hand, I remain terribly troubled that there are people that exist who enjoy this sandwich. On the other hand, they are the sort of people who, when asked to do something simple like rate a sandwich out of ten, instead rate a meal deal which incorporates the sandwich.

All this, unfortunately, still leaves me and my wife with the dreadful memory of eating such a terribly disappointing sandwich. Yes, we can at least take some solace in the fact that we have much better sandwich taste than Ewan and Angie, and that we will be getting a gift card sent to our home address (presumably for the cost of the sandwich), but I don’t think the wretched experience of eating that sandwich will ever fade from our memories.

To be fair, I feel worse for my wife. Years from now, she will keep seeing people who look familiar to her, perhaps on a bus or on a train. She will wonder why that person seems familiar and how she might know them. And then she will suddenly work it out – that person resembles the one who sold her the On-the-Go Honey and Mustard Chicken Wrap.

In No Longer Human, Osamu Dazai writes:

It was a cold autumn night. I was waiting at a sushi stall back of the Ginza for Tsuneko (that, as I recall, was her name, but the memory is too blurred for me to be sure: I am the sort of person who can forget even the name of the woman with whom he attempted suicide) to get off from work.

The sushi I was eating had nothing to recommend it. Why, when I have forgotten her name, should I be able to remember so clearly how bad the sushi tasted? And I can recall with absolute clarity the close-cropped head of the old man his face was like a snake’s wagging from side-to-side as he made the sushi, trying to create the illusion that he was a real expert.

It has happened to me two or three times since that I have seen on the streetcar what seemed to be a familiar face and wondered who it was, only to realize with a start that the person opposite me looked like the old man from the sushi stall.

Now, when her name and even her face are fading from my memory, for me to be able to remember that old man’s face so accurately I could draw it, is surely a proof of how bad the sushi was and how it chilled and distressed me.”

We will remain chilled and distressed for evermore.

Sainsbury’s On-the-Go Honey & Mustard Chicken Wrap

0/10

Advertisements

FOOTBALL AWAY DAY TRANSIT CUISINE

Euston2

Let’s set the ground rules of this blog at the very beginning: this is not about your pie and pint scenarios available within football stadia. This is simply about the palette of options available to the hungry regular eater in the course of travel to a fixture.

It’s an all out wallow in mediocre options. This is entirely due to the base fact that UK’s transport interchanges have been co-opted by humdrum coffee chains, pasty booths and M&S Simply Food (which also sells drinks).

On my way to watch MK Dons v Leeds United, via London Euston station, I went for an M&S egg, tomato and salad cream packaged sandwich and a Delice de France white Americano.

The sandwich fulfilled the necessary hallmarks of being ‘simply food’ but arguably did take a couple of fairy-steps beyond. It was, frankly, decent. The tang of the condiment undoubtedly complimented the egg – a bit like a yoghurt-coated favourite cushion, yet at the same time, not at all like that.

The white Americano, however, was as stultifyingly bland and mildly offensive as the kind of white American that would vote for Jeb Bush. The cardboard cup displayed the matter-of-fact statement ‘Caution: contents hot’ which might make an excellent metaphor for the mundane tyranny of modern professional football, if you were feeling inclined to go down that route.

It is also a statement that is not the bringer of patronising truth it first appears; if the coffee has been drunk or simply been left to stand for a good amount of time, it would, in fact, be a total lie. Readers, I know this is a lot to take in.

My team, Leeds, won the match 1-2 in possible the most unjust result in the history of the game. But this was very much the undercard to another successful afternoon foraging the unimaginative and somewhat depressing bastions of average food.

M&S SIMPLY FOOD EGG, TOMATO AND SALAD CREAM SANDWICH: 7/10

DELICE DE FRANCE WHITE AMERICANO: 2/10

MODERATELY EXPERIMENTAL SANDWICH

Look, I’m not saying this is the kind of shit they might have eaten in the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916 – but most would find the ingredients that follow moderately challenging to their perceptions of the world, and indeed the entire concept of ‘the sandwich’:

 

Black pudding (Sainsbury’s)

A third of a fresh beetroot (found, grated)

A third of an on-the-turn red onion (found, grated)

Mature cheddar (newsagent, grated)

Pitta bread (brown, Sainsbury’s)

 

Firstly, in mitigation, my girlfriend eats better than me, hence coming across the vegetables that inspired this potential flavour sensation.

There are some divisive foods here. In reverse order of divisiveness I’d say Pitta > newsagent cheddar > beetroot > black pudding > any foods that are on the turn. It was a very metallic experience as sandwiches go – the sort of thing Kraftwerk were probably eating during the recording of Man Machine. For a few bites, however, it seemed quite palatable, but this experience was not to last. Bad flavours happened.

Indeed, true to form, it was the on-the-turn red onion that did the sandwich in, providing a flavour so acrid it reminded me of second-hand petroleum fumes from a second-hand engine carried in an estate car with the windows down – something I have first-hand childhood experience of with a self-employed motor mechanic father. Four chocolate digestives were required to take away the bulk of the aftertaste, but remnants remained hours later.

The key message of this blog in essence is don’t eat raw things that are on the verge of mould.

EFFORT: 7/10

RESULT: 2/10

BACON AND MARMITE SANDWICH WITH SALTED BUTTER

Photo: stolen from another blog. Includes erroneous egg.

I’m going to take you on a journey. But first; a very important question: do you like salt?

Good. Read on.

This journey began with my discovery that I don’t actually hate Marmite, which was just before I wrote a fairly bog-standard blog piece about my discovery that I don’t actually hate Marmite.

After this there are no more narrative bullet-points of particular note in the journey, until today.

Today I constructed and ate a bacon and Marmite sandwich with salted butter. The bread was a co-op brown French stick, for those interested, though if anything, this let the other components down a bit. There were no vegetable elements involved, unless you count various vegetable extracts in the Marmite.

Although this may well be construed as Average Food Blog’s first recipe, I do not think it requires me to spell out the full method of its creation. I do not make judgements or pile expectations upon you, the chef – but I do make judgements upon arteries.

Arteries are moaners. You should never listen to moaners. And most of all, you should not let death creep up on you; you should stare it in its face and see who blinks. This is something that I have already said before, albeit marginally less verbosely, in my piece about salt as a stand-alone food concept.

Anyway, the sandwich was absolutely delicious. Layer upon layer of saltiness, a tang of yeast – a succulent challenge to fate; an affirmation of the life-enhancing pleasures that can be found in the lower reaches of the barrel marked ‘food consumption.’

9/10

E-NUMBER TRAIN SANDWICH MEAL

If you’re looking at that title and thinking ‘this is going to be an unfocused schlep that will ultimately result in disappointment’, then you’re not far wrong. Please read on.

Unfocused schlep however was not a suitable metaphor for the meal itself, which was more solid than you’d expect.

The meal took place on an East Coast Train between London and Leeds, and involved three component parts: an egg and cress sandwich, a packet of Tyrell’s Sea Salted Furrows, and a Highland Spring sparkling water.

On the latter, I firmly believe that all liquids purchased on transport methods should be sparkling. There could probably be a whole other blog on that, but I’ll give you that throw-away for free. All you need to know is the drink fulfilled its function of containing bubbles while being transported alongside the oesophagus doing the liquid-swallowing very soundly.

The salted snacks, too, were more than adequate, although falling very much victim to what should be termed ‘The Kettle Chips/ Sunbites Problem’ (“we’ve ploughed everything we’ve got into them” – Tyrells). Oh have you now, you dirty farm-faced fuckers.

The sandwich, within its resoundingly mediocre flavour genre, was extremely decent – hugely exceeding Morrisons’ work in this area, for example. It balanced softness and crunch with a borderline-connoisseur’s attention, and actually tasted of something. But then came the shocker – a shocker that has been more than signposted in the title.

The title gives due prominence to the fact that the key noticeable factor in this meal was not the fact it was consumed on a train, but the astounding amount of e-numbers contained within the sandwich. Get this……NINE! Emulsifiers are a major culprit, but the ‘egg mayonnaise mix’ chips in with a dumbfounding four of them.

Clearly life on the East Coast Mainline is so hard that the average egg mayonnaise mix just can’t make it through alone. Field after field of rape – it must be hard to do it without heavy emulsifiers. Nonetheless, discovering this artificial enhancement after the initial enjoyment was a very similar feeling to learning that Dwayne Chambers was a drug cheat. Oh, Dwayne. Oh, train egg and cress sandwich. Oh, for god’s sake will you end this blog now.

SANDWICH: 8/10

POINTS DEDUCTED FOR ARTIFICIAL ENHANCEMENT: 3

SANDWICH (REVISED): 5/10

CRISPS: 8/10

SPARKLING WATER: 7/10

TRAIN AMBIENCE: 7/10

AGGREGATE MEAL SCORE: 6.75/10

3/10 FOR ALL TESCO SANDWICHES

Show me a Tesco sandwich that tastes of anything, anything at all, and I’ll show you a lying sandwich.

Mayonnaise minus any discernible acidic kick (necessary trait), meat that tastes like the Walker’s crisps flavouring carrying the name of that meat, and Tesco’s famously tasteless vegetable offerings: this all adds up to the fact that the Tesco sandwich is the anti-eating experience, a vortex for the salivary glands to disappear into.

The three out of ten is merely awarded for the satiation of hunger, and even at that they’re not particularly effective. Passable, perhaps, when thrown together with a tasteless banana and pack of Hula Hoops.

A close acquaintance has told me that the exception to this rating system is the supermarket’s offering in the genre ‘Ploughman’s’. This writer has not sampled this sandwich, but it’s too late for a hero. Far, far too late.