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Samizdata quote of the day

I have always found Scotland fascinating. They take barley and water and create something more expensive than petrol
- Kwame Owino

59 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    I wonder if he sips his petrol neat, or with a splash of water?

    Cheers

  • Then again, the Turks take common poppies, and create something more precious than gold. ;)

  • Verity

    So?

    Everything’s more expensive than something. Where’s the connection?

  • Big deal. New Hampshire takes lousy farmland, hostile climate, and gravity to make a tourist industry. I ran into a party of skiers from the UK there. They agreed that the Alps had better skiing when conditions were good, but the Yankees had the snowmaking machinery in place so that the trip could be booked months in advance in the confidence that there would be decent skiing when they arrived.

    Besides, now that the watermelons (green outside, red inside) have infested our politics, we will be using ethanol, derived from water and corn, as an expensive substitute for petrol (gasoline). And it doesn’t even taste good, although I suppose that won’t matter unless you are siphoning fuel from somebody else’s car.

  • Robert Schwartz

    Not only more costly than petrol, but the very philosopher’s stone itself.

  • Verity

    Agreed, Robert Swchartz. Cheap at half the price.

  • Euan Gray

    In England, they take tapwater, forget the barley, and make it more expensive than petrol by pouring it into plastic bottles.

    EG

  • David

    Forget the plastic bottles, its getting pretty expensive at the tap.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Actually it’s not the Scots who make whisky more expensive than petrol.

    It’s the same agency that makes the petrol expensive.

    It is of course, oh you don’t all need to be told, do you?

  • Nick M

    Actually, the most precious substance on the planet is popcorn. It’s bought wholesale in huge quantities by weight by cinema chains, “popped” which expands it and is then sold by volume at a mark up which has a profit margin of the order of 90%.

  • David

    I hate popcorn with a burning passion.

  • Verity

    I agree. It’s awful.

  • Rob

    David – There is an old Scottish recipe for pop-corn that makes it taste better:

    Take one bottle of whisky
    Drink half of it
    Eat pop-corn

  • Julian Morrison

    Kevin L. Connors: the difference is, whisky would still cost (a lot) more than petrol in a wholly unregulated market. Heroin would be the price of table salt.

  • David

    Rob yuk – what a terrible way to ruin a good bottle of whisky. Perhaps drink the wiskey and throw the popcorn in the bin might be a better alternative.

  • Nick M

    I’m stunned at the amount of anti-popcorn sentiment on this blog. I don’t like it myself, but actually hating it?!

  • David

    I’m a popcornophobe through and through!!!
    Just don’t get me started on Vegimite.

  • Verity

    I don’t hate it. I just think it’s awful. I do like Vegemite very much, though, although it doesn’t go well with whisky, I would agree.

    I have to have Marmite sent down from Houston at enormous expense.

  • David

    I came across a cocktail in Australia once that had vegemite in it. Was appalling.

    Verity, don’t know if this is a better deal than your Marmite from Houston,
    Vegemite Shipped Worldwide here. Might be worthwhile you never know.

  • Verity

    David, thank you. The thing is, like the US, Mexico doesn’t allow people to bring food in. So I think it wouldn’t get through Customs. I can get the Marmite in because of NAFTA. There’s a free movement of goods throughout N America. But $31 for a medium jar of Marmite!

  • Julian Morrison: “[T]he difference is, whisky would still cost (a lot) more than petrol in a wholly unregulated market. Heroin would be the price of table salt.”

    I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. In the case of all three (gasoline, whiskey, heroin), the regulatory/taxation regime is the elephant in the room. But, if we are to use the virtually unregulated/taxed (now that Britain’s mercantile regime has been overthrown) table salt as a benchmark…

    A gallon of gasoline weighs about 7 pounds, whiskey about 7.5. A pound of common table salt costs about 50 cents…

    Then again, we have considerations for quality, packaging, marketing, etc.: Just as a bottle of 40 year old single malt costs substantially more than a bottle of store brand, a pound of Celtic Sea Salt might cost $18/lb. or more. And anyone who’s been in an Amsterdam coffee shop knows dopers can be quite discriminating about what they “do”. :)

  • David

    V, No probs, Aus has the same rubbish barriers hiding behind a quarantine smokescreen. Looking at that site, with the shipping included I don’t think the Vegemite would work out too much cheaper anyway. Oh well, you’ll just have to make do with tequila instead!!!
    Ahhh the life of the expat – people don’t realise how tough we have it.

  • Verity

    Don’t like tequila, but Ballantine’s whisky costs £8.50 a bottle.

  • RAB

    Hic!
    What was the question again?

  • Nick M

    Verity,
    31 bucks for a jar of vegemite! I’ve just tipped a sizable chunk of a jar of the Aldi equivalent (which is very good and costs under extremely cheap) into a sheperd’s pie. I’ll post you some if you want. Sheesh. I thought I lived in the most taxed, regulated and expensive country in the world.

  • Verity

    NickM – No, you do live in the most expensive country in the world, but the Marmite is around the same price in Houston as it is in Britain. The cost comes from have to pay around $27 to have it couriered down. Sending it by normal mail would just result in it being lost in the Mexican postal system. The courier companies are extremely dependable.

    Thanks for the offer, though!

  • Nick M

    Jeez Louise, Verity,
    I recently spent 20 quid for a 21″ Dell Trini CRT monitor to be couriered almost 200 miles. That weighed (boxed) more than my girlfriend (>50Kgs). The box was so large and the item so encased in bubble-wrap that I had to take it out before I could get it through the door. I was stunned at how cheap this was.

  • Verity

    Well, $27 is around £15.50, which I think is a fair price for flying something hundreds of miles and then being responsible for clearing it through Customs and delivering it. Air’s always more expensive, as it goes by weight, not volume. Plus international is more expensive.

    I just couldn’t believe my friend only put one jar in. But Americans are not wise to the fierce attachment Brits have to their Marmite. He probably thought I was going to use it as an occasional spread for toast rather than a morning fetish.

    BTW, I know we’re talking about whisky, but if you have never tried Marmite and peanut butter on your toast, it’s a very tasty combination.

  • Verity

    I wonder what Kwame O’Wino has against whisky?

  • permanent expat

    Marmite & peanut butter (crunchy of course) SNAP…………utterly delicious…..not quite Laphroaig tho’

  • Verity

    I don’t want to sound like an anorak, because that’s a man’s job, but crunchy peanut butter on buttered toast with Marmite – no. I think not. Too much.

  • The Last Toryboy

    Marmite and peanut butter? how odd. I like them both on their own so I’m going to try that out.

    I am the sucker who tried a sugar puff and ice cream pizza once upon a time after all. (It tasted good! honest).

  • Nick M

    This thread has all gone spreadable!

  • Rob

    Don’t get me started on peanut butter. It’s the devil’s own food, certainly not fit for human consumption. Anyone who eats it should stay in voluntary isolation for at least 6 hours until their breath has lost every trace of the foul odour the disgusting substance produces. As for mixing it with marmite – shame on you.

  • Come to think of it, we have to give a nod to the Italians, who might take some grape squeezin’s, and turn them into really fine balsamic vinegar, for $1000 or so per liter. :)

  • David

    Yeah I’m not so sure about Marmite and Peanut Butter, sounds disgusting.
    Speaking of disgusting, how about that anchovy spread stuff? Used to be Pecks Paste in Australia, don;t know what it is in the UK.
    Truly horrible – sort of like cat food without the niceness!

  • permanent expat

    Rob sounds like King James & tobacco! Chacun etc. and what’s wrong with crunchy peanut butter if you still have your own teeth.
    Recommendation: West African Groundnut Chop; don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

  • Verity

    David – Marmite and peanut butter is not only not disgusting, but it makes a very savoury and tasty spread. I think anyone who likes both individually will be very smitten. Anyone who tries it, please report back with your opinion.

    permanent expat – I don’t think I would ever go as far as buy “gourmet” peanut butter. C’me on! It’s just ground up peanuts.

  • permanent expat

    Not “gourmet” Verity……….It’s just your stink-normal peanut butter (I think the well-known US brand is Skippy or some such….there are many) It just comes in a choice, smooth or crunchy; no price difference. For making stews or soups or Satay the smooth variety is best…..but on toast etc. the crunchy variety is tops. As I mentioned before Laphroaig is much better but difficult to spread. Whisky in these parts is obtainable at about nine Euros a bottle….not Laphroaig of course.

  • permanent expat

    I’ve always lived my life trying everything (almost) at least once. It’s common sense & leads to amazing & wonderful discoveries. I think I’ve eaten everything there is to eat except people…..although I’m not 100% sure about that……so, Anchovy paste: When you can’t get Nam Pla use anchovy; it tastes the same……. and cognocenti know that its addition to meat stews is a must.
    Balsamic Vinegar: Great. Have you tried the white balsamic? Not too easy to find but give it a shot.
    (Doesn’t compare with Islay whisky!)

  • Verity

    You know, they make all those single malts or whatever they’re called for Americans. Scots just drink normal whisky. Johnny Walker red is the most popular, I believe. I pay about £8.50 – or about 7 euros for a bottle of Ballantines, which is OK.

    I have never understood the appeal of satay.

  • Verity

    Finding balsamic vinegar – “have you tried the white”? – in Mexico! Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • David

    This thread seems to have changed into something from epicurious.com – hey it’s a nice diversion.

    OK ok, I’ll try the Marmite & peanut butter combo and report back but I have to say at this point I’m sceptical.
    I agree on the sate – yummmmmmm excellent use for peanut butter. Good place to be adding some Nam Pla too. I agree on the anchovy point but I think Pecks paste has the same relationship to Anchovy as Bombay duck has to birds that swim on ponds.

    On the whisky front by preference I’m a Bowmore Islay man man myself though truthfully any whisky will do. Sadly its full whack for it here excepting for the occasional duty free purchase.

    Sounds like Mexico is the world centre for lacking essential culinary ingredients. Mind you I’ve been through the white balsamic phase – all fine but I find a good sherry vinegar much more useful these days.

    As a final thing, I’ll throw open an issue – Pot Noodle (my kids love the stuff) Useful store cupboard standby or unholy abomination? … discuss.

  • permanent expat

    Verity: I’m sure you mean $8.50……..not £s…..and yes, you’re right…. but there’s a fine difference between Drinkin’ & Sippin’ whiskeys & whiskys as any American who knows his Bourbons will tell you. The same applies to Scotch. Most Scots drink whisky and sippin’ whisky is too expensive to drink. Whisk(e)y isn’t my staple tipple but I keep a bottle of the good stuff to reward myself from time to time.
    Satay, like many things is “Geschmacksache”….and if you ate it in a Chinese restaurant it’s no wonder. They have no idea.

  • permanent expat

    David:……….let’s cut the gourmet stuff. I was brought up on Sarson’s Malt & it’s yet to be beat!

    Did you mean “potstickers”? If so……….great!

    Bowmore, Laphroaig….same provenance. The first ever sip is a bit horrifying but it’s like Topsy.

  • Verity

    permanent expat – Ballantine’s whisky is 170 pesos a bottle = US$15.50; £8.90; 12.82 euros.

    I hate satay.

    David: “Sounds like Mexico is the world centre for lacking essential culinary ingredients.” That about sums it up. A gourmet paradise it is not.

    They do have Knorr-Swiss shrimp pot noodles, though, designed for Mexican spicy tastes, and they are OK for a quick lunch if you dump in some tuna and some spinach. And you can slap anything onto a tortilla and cover it with chile and lemon powder. There’s one big – I mean really big – supermarket here and it doesn’t even sell tea! Well, they have all that crappy pretend tea that Americans like, Camille and Tansy and so on, but you have to go to the dreaded WalMart to get even Lipton’s.

    But the cats munch on unfazed as they can get all their regular brand catfoods here.

  • David

    Sarsons malt is all well and good for fish and chips but I dont fancy it on a salad!

    Dunno about horrifying on the first sip – more like “where have you been all my life?”

    Sadly no, not potstickers but rather these abominations.

  • permanent expat

    Good grief!…………..but anything, anything to keep kids quiet.

  • David

    American tea – sort of like american chocolate – tastes nothing like the real thing.

    When I lived back in Aus for a couple of years my cats developed a fondness for prawns (as did I of course). Damn expensive tastes those felines.

    All this talk of whisky, I just thought hmmmmm might go have me a snifter. Sadly I find I had the last of it a day or so back. Arrrggggggghhhh looks like Sherry tonight.

  • David

    Fair point permanent expat.
    In fact I’ve gotta go feed the hungry buggers now. CU.

    Thanks guys, this conversation has cheered me right up. I’ve been sitting here with a terrible head cold and feeling all sorry for myself.
    This brought a chuckle and lifted my gloom.
    Cheers

  • permanent expat

    Ballantines is probably the most pop whisky in Portugal & in my local restaurant, “Rosa’s”, which is the same as all other eateries in this gastronomic wasteland, she leaves a bottle on the table at the end of the meal. One can drink it all….the bill (cheaper than you could produce the same food at home) is always the same.
    Under those circumstances I can consume Bacalhao until the cod come home.
    David: Depends on the other ingredients.

  • Verity

    So how much is a bottle of Ballantine’s in Portugal? Is the fish any good? The fish here is awful. It’s 94 degrees, there’s nothing decent to eat and the builders renovating the house next door are playing, at top volume, the music from Riverdance. It doesn’t get much worse.

  • permanent expat

    Verity:
    Dunno……don’t drink it so didn’t even look.
    If it’s so bad, why the hell are you there?
    If you’re a fish person this is one of the best places to be…….but they don’t hang the meat. I live on fish & chicken for protein, Basmati rice & noodles for carbs. Loads of excellent olive oil & inexpensive but good tinto. I want for nothing foodwise at home.
    Paradise it isn’t but near enough. Seldom see a tourist because this place hasn’t been discovered (yet) thank god.

  • Verity

    No, Mexico’s not bad. There are things it doesn’t have, eg, balsamic vinegar (I’m sure it’s available, but not in the normal supermarkets). But fairly cheap whisky, wines, including wines from France from around the corner from my ex-village for around $5, and really good wines from Chile. Gas is cheap, as in, I can fill the tank of a gas guzzler for $25 – or £14. Mexico’s a beautiful and varied country with the magnificent Sierra Madre, and deserts and jungles and beautiful coastlines. By and large, the people are pleasant and polite – i.e., if you hold a door open for someone, they never fail to say, “Gracias” – unlike the French who whisk regally throughout without even acknowledging your presence, never mind your role in holding the door open for them.

    Unfortunately, their courtesy and kindliness do not extend to honouring appointments and that is a great elevator of blood pressure. When you furiously ask the contractor why he didn’t turn up yesterday, he says, “Oh, I’m sorry. I couldn’t.” The universal excuse: I couldn’t.

    And, of course, no Marmite that I have ever detected – there aren’t enough Brits living here.

  • Kwame

    Kwame Owino has nothing against Whisky. Just admires Scottish ingenuity.

    And while at it, they (Scots) have not deemed it fit to further raise prices artificially by establishing the cartel in the name of Organization of Whiskey Producing and Exporting Countries. That’s the “So what ?”

  • permanent expat

    Everyone’s a foreigner somewhere and locals tell foreigners what they think the foreigner wants to hear.
    It is the most widely used custom in the world but foreigners, everywhere, are unable to accomodate to it
    Kwame: Saturday’s child & supposed to be lucky. Fingers crossed!

  • permanent expat

    I never heared the name Owino in Ghana. Spoof for sure.

  • Verity

    I said: O’Wino. Give me some credit!

  • permanent expat

    Verity: “Give me some credit.”
    I am not high-horseable, Verity, so spare me your disdain. I was referring to the Kwame Owino in Perry’s original thread…….and to the poster at 12:24am who gave a name Kwame. Were you not so quick to rush in, arms flailing, you would have realized that my posting at 01:23am was addressed to the 12:24 poster & not your esteemed self. That said, I admire your commenting greatly & congratulate you on a wicked, though sometimes not too accurate, punch.