Friday, 4 March 2011

The most Belgian shopping ever

The man behind me in the supermarket this week was buying the following:

24 cans of Jupiler and a small container of americain (delicious mince for consumption raw, non Belgianists). The only thing that could possibly make this more Belgian would be an economy bag of 40 heads of chicory, and I almost think that would have spoilt the perfect symmetry of it.

It's not like I'm judging, incidentally. This was my shopping:

I'm bringin' scurvy back, one (eight) packet of Daim eggs at a time.

Look, this is an owl handwarmer:

You want it, don't you? Well you can't have it, it is mine. Look, here is its big brother, the hot water bottle:

I have nothing to tell you, as you can probably tell. Kitchen table, fret, repeat. It is, however, half term in a few short hours (now it's less than an hour! Gott in himmel, today is dribbling away without a shred of productive activity), and I must turn up at the festival of awkwardness that is the gulag's occasional goûter crêpes. As with all collective festivity in Belgium, it is run on the Ridiculous Ticketing System, whereby you cannot simply join the queue at the table with the crêpes on and pay over the odds, with bad grace, for a pancake. No, you must join a preliminary queue to buy TICKETS first. This requires you to estimate how many crêpes your children will want. You over-estimate, because the last thing you want to do is queue up again, or you under-estimate through parsimony, and have to buy more. Either way, you end up with far more tickets than you need. I love it. It is pure, demented Belgian bureaucratic brilliance.

Let us finish with three nice things, just, you know, because.

1. The sun is shining, and with four layers on, it is quite pleasant. So pleasant that I would consider a trip to the ice cream parlour named after a penis, if I could get a quorum of members of my family to agree to it. The chances of this are vanishingly slim, but a girl can dream of black cherry frozen yoghurt with a giant swirl of chantilly.

2. I no longer have to interview the perpetrators of this festival of teen choral inappropriateness in Kortrijk, which is a very long way away and when I had very little to ask them except WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS SACRED WERE YOU THINKING???

3. I have decided that half term will have to be a 'hang the expense' week, so there will be small treats and taxis as needed to keep us all sane, and stop us from feasting on each other's spinal fluid. My reasoning is that, whilst this may be financially disastrous, if I am not sane at the end of the holidays, my earning capacity will be reduced to nil anyway, so it's an investment in the future. Yes.

Oh god, I am late for gulag goûter, pray for me.


Anna Maria said...

I LOVE owls in general, but your Belgian ones are soo cute! Pls, reveal where you bought them!

Lisa-Marie said...

Raw mince?!!

Also, your shopping makes me feel better. maybe it is normal that I automatically buy 3 of anything that is chocolate and on special offer in Sainsbury's? They but the stuff that is £1 (big galaxy bars, and big bags of minstrels/maltesers etc) right at the end where you can't not.

Can I say though, you should buy more Daim eggs. what if the stop selling them after Easter? you should get a couple of back up boxes for after.

Also, it is sunny enough here that you don't need a coat if you don't mind being a wee bit cold. PRACTICALLY SUMMER!

Kath said...

But... where are the speculoos???

frau antje said...

Does the owl package say hot chicks on it? (because it should).

Too bad you don't have a government, or in addition to the ice cream place you might have a senator from the Socialist Party named Tiny Kox, like some governments do.

Waffle said...

Frau Antje, always one of my favourite commenters - I should say so more often - your senator pleases me greatly.

Rhia said...

Your shopping looks like mine normally does, but mine would have more alcohol, especially if Ive shopped at Lidl (cheap wine).

I smiled a lot when I saw your shopping, as I used to live in France and whenever I was even slightly ill, (tickly throat, cold or even just a bit run down), would buy a big tin of Choclolate Mont Blanc and eat it out the tin with a spoon, in bed...sigh I miss those days!
Enjoy half term and the sun!!

Laurel said...

This is not relevant to the post, but I saw this video and thought you might like it. Do you think there is Elemis in the bath?

Betty M said...

Ah half term. A money pit even if you go nowhere. I baled on the last one and went to work instead.

Waffle said...

Rhia, mine would normally have alcohol too, but I had been to Colruyt, the temple of cheap booze promise recently.

The rabbit is magnificently odd, Laurel. I can't fathom its expression.

Betty - Yes. It is a holy horror. I take comfort from the fact that the posh schools have 2 bloody weeks and at least the gulag keeps it to a functional 1...

jonathan said...

Who is going to strike up the courage to tell the Belgians that the Americans have been playing a practical joke on them since- when? The Second World War?- and that raw mincemeat, even in very small containers and accompanied by two dozen cans of strong lager, isn't actually a staple Stateside delicacy? Not that I'm volunteering, you understand.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

Good point about the eggs (Lisa-Marie).
Still kicking myself for not stocking up on the delicious speculaas produced by the local bakery and only available around Christmas time, Madam (like I know these things even after years here!). The store bought stuff is (sigh) "OK"...

With daughter long out on her own, half-term here means being able to find a parking place in downtown Brussels within spitting distance of where I want to be, rather than driving in ever-increasing circles for 45 minutes, hoping,(when it only took 20 minutes to get into town!).
Aldi evidently has some excellent South African wine I've just been told.
wv "cater" (appropriate)

Anna said...

For what it's worth, Americans are also big on the infuriating ticketing system. All state and town fairs, among other things, run this way.

Incidentally, on the theme of buildings named for genitalia:

Alison said...

Speaking of inappropriate ice-cream, and in a link back to a thread some weeks back about people one encounters on trains, on my journey home yesterday I sat next to the founder of a company currently being sued by Lady Gaga for selling breast-milk ice cream under a name not dissimilar to hers. I don't really want to say much more in case I get caught up in the law suit, but it wasn't the most pleasant experience I've ever had (having said that, I'm still on the fence about breast-milk ice cream itself)

Alison Cross said...

I am momentarily stunned by the concept of breastmilk ice-cream. Fabulous if you are wet-nursing an infant, but I'd rather have rum and raisin.

Raw mince is not even eaten in Scotland where we pretty much put mince in everything. Although they do try to con you in fancy restaurants with the idea of steak tartar.

I must get an owl handwarmer. It's so damn cute.


sabina said...

Some owls for you!!/album.php?aid=34180&id=100000658999820
Hope the link works.

Troutie said...

How did you take a picture of his shopping without him noticing? Did you ask? Had he run off to get the chicory? Did I read your post too quickly and miss this vital piece of information? Is this normal in Belgium?

Waffle said...

I am a fearless investigative bloggist, Troutie. No, I took a picture on my phone, semi-subtly and managed not to get punched.

Kelly said...

Troutie asked impt. question no 1 already. Impt qustion no 2 is is a 'handwarmer' just half a pair of gloves?? never heard of a 'handwarmer'

Waffle said...

I thiiink, Kelly, that a handwarmer is a largely useless piece of kit that you either place in your pocket, or hold in your hand, that warms up through the operation of magic (or similar). However since it was shaped like a small blue green owl and therefore I was willing to overlook the fact that it is entirely useless.