Monday, November 26, 2012

Tahini & falafel at the Co-op

Tahini & Falafel at the Co-Op
Who would have thought that tahini, falafel mix, and harissa would appear on the shelves of the local Co-Op store? Well surprised! If you talk about these foods you usually have to explain what you mean to the majority with a limited palette.

Like the way the hot chilli harissa from north Africa is with items originating from a vast area called the Middle East. It's not the geography it's the ethnicity that comes to mainstream British shopping.

Tahini for me is one of the most versatile and healthy foods ever. You can make a sauce, you can add sugar or better still date syrup to make a dessert. For a local variation add yeast extract like Marmite or even miso to create a savoury cheese like topping.

When the za'atar and sumac spices appear I'll know there is a culinary revolution taking place at home. From the photo below you can see it's a regular on my table. Who needs the sunshine to go with a mezze of delights.
Mezze At Home
Link :

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nearly A Century and a Half

2013 marks the 150th Anniversary of the CWS (now known as The Co-Operative Group). No doubt there will be some sort of event or at least a booklet to mark the occasion.

The picture shewn is from the centenary year of 1963 and depicts a gentle world of shopping. The lady is nicely dressed to collect a few groceries in her wicker gondola basket and the door is held open by possibly the manager of the shop attired in his white coat.

For the year the CWS adopted the word "Centurywise" and produced posters and badges announcing such. They also produced a film which was exhibited by the numerous retail societies. Obtaining a copy in a modern digital format might prove difficult.

Also celebrating 150 years is the Football Association and they have already announced their dinners and friendly international matches with Brazil, Scotland and Ireland to mark the year. But considering it is the national game you won't find an events in your town as they don't like to leave London.

The successors of the CWS may take a more countrywide view.

Previous related posts
Under A Railway Arch
150 Years in 2013

Friday, November 9, 2012

99 Tea Retro Offer

99 tea retro style in 2012
Old Scottish Co-op 99 tea The "99 Tea" is one of the remaining own Co-Op brands when once there were once dozens. Personally I usually go for the other remaining blend called "Indian Prince".

But currently in the stores the "99" is on special offer and in what could be called an imaginary retro style package. I say imaginary because the past wasn't like this. A very early "99" is shewn below. Loose tea and with its original name of Prescription Tea No.99.

Original cost in the 1920's was 10 old pence for 4oz net weight, which in modern terms is about 4p for 11gms, and allowing for inflation is around 90p in today's values.

Whether they taste the same is probably something we'll never know unless an old packet is found in an hermetically sealed capsule somewhere. The modern tea is now Fairtrade, something that didn't exist in the age of Empire. Also it was from the Joint CWS & SCWS estates in India and Ceylon and didn't have the stronger East African teas in the mix.

I made an earlier post "Time For Tea" about "99 Tea" about the health connection..... "doctors in assessing vocal fremitus asked the patient to repeat the phrase 'ninety-nine' whilst placing the palm of the hand on the patient's chest. They probably still do."

Lots of foods and drinks claimed how easy it was to digest their wonderful product. Digestive problems, real or imaginary appear to have troubled the country from the days of first patent branded foods up until the 1940's. I'll be making a post on digestive biscuits soon to illustrate this point.

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.