I enjoy shopping in Waitrose.
I can be seen at least once a week in the Balham branch meandering about with my shopping trolley (£7.99 from Lidl), following the siren call of the price gun as it announces where the discounts are. I've had some fab bargains, including a half price fruit loaf from Poilane, the fancy French bakers. The full price is £3.60 for something the size of a malt loaf. My children said they preferred the much larger fruit loaf from Lidl at only 40p as it only had sultanas in it and not all this other rubbish fruit. That's me told, then.
The customers are the sort who do not leave their staffies tied up outside, if you get my drift. Many of the ladies - for it's mostly ladies - are of the yummy mummy variety.
I like reading the Waitrose magazine. There are usually a few good recipes. Anything with less than five ingredients is OK by me. Occasionally the family even eat the stuff.
Unfortunately my love affair with Waitrose is in a bit of a turmoil at the moment. In its latest edition, there is an article by a house husband called Sam Holden who claims the following:
"Although I was a stranger to the kitchen, I soon found that preparing exciting, top-quality dishes was neither particularly time-consuming nor difficult, and within a few months I found my abilities easily surpassed those of every woman I know, even the ones who thought they were good cooks." "As well as being incapable of experimenting, women are useless at following written instructions. Blinded by numbers and symbols, they add the wrong amount of sugar or salt - or substitute one for the other." He also says that women don't actually like food and consider it to be just fuel, and that men are more greedy. He even has the gall to end the article with the usual "name three women who have a Michelin star".
Is it not biting the hand that pays for the stuff in your shop that it feeds itself with to criticise these lovely yummy mummies (and us yucky mummies) in such a crass manner?
Here is my email to the editor:
Dear William Sitwell
I had been enjoying reading the November 2007 edition of Waitrose Food Illustrated until I reached Sam Holden's article.
I can quite appreciate that some women can cook and some men can cook. Can't we leave it at that?
Cooking for a family and cooking in a restaurant are two completely different things. I should know - my father owned the Como Lario restaurant for many years. He never cooked at home, which was a Good Thing as he left the place in such a mess. Mother was in charge at home and made her feelings quite clear about his 'helpful suggestions'. Now he has got used to working in a domestic environment, of course we get fabulous meals. The hang over from running a restaurant is that he still can't get the hang of just cooking for two. My brother and I get some interesting food parcels!
I read your magazine to get ideas as I find cooking to be complete drudgery. Whenever I have a meal cooked for me now, I don't care what it is as long as I haven't had to cook it.
These battle of the sexes type articles are just lazy and tedious. Get some more writers if this is the best you can come up with. I'm only grateful that I didn't have to pay for the magazine, thanks to my JL card.
Looking forward to a better read next time.
I did have a reply, thanking me for my contribution. No mention was made of a hamper for my hurt feelings.
If you want to see the full article, I suggest you go to Waitrose now. They have plenty of them lying around. It's the one with the toffee apples on the front.