Cows and Hens in Jelly – yum!

I have always liked things with foreign writing on. Even when I was a child. It may be something to do with being left-handed. Scientists have recently discovered that left-handed people have better integration between the two halves of the brain, and often superior language skills. Well, finally! As if we didn’t know that! But at least, something positive after centuries of being called sinister, clumsy, weird and (effectively) shit-handed. The left is the hand Arabic-type countries use for bottom-wiping, whilst the right is reserved for eating.

Which reminds me, obliquely, of sugar. Somewhere around the Sixties there was a rash of rumours in the UK – this or that was going to disappear from the shelves. In fact these rumours seem to have been started by cunning suppliers intent on causing panic buying and as a result selling lots more stuff. I am fairly sure we are in for a lot more of that, come Brexit. If Brexit.

Anyway, one of them was for sugar. Sugar was going to be in short supply. In those days Mum was working in an office down at the little local Quay as some kind of shipping clerk. I think the rough, tough dock foreman (or whatever they are called) had taken rather a shine to Mum, happily married though she was, to my Dad. I am not sure whether Mum had taken a shine back, but she did blush and giggle a bit the day she brought home a couple of bags of sugar which had accidentally fallen off a ship. And into her bag.

The paper packets were white, like all sugar bags, but they were in Polish. I suspect Mum must have told us it was Polish, and the fruity old foreman must in turn have told her. Even with my superior cack-handed language skills I doubt if I could have deduced it, then. I perused those sugar bags for hours, trying in vain to decipher the mysterious, wonderful stuff it was written in. Words are like honey to me. Or sugar. I am Pooh Bear when it comes to any kind of print.

Incidentally, and biting one’s tail a bit, the next ‘shortage’ was of toilet paper. Another round of panic buying ensued. My mother even bought Izal. Now, if you’ve ever experienced Izal you will know that it is hard, it is sharp. It is not an item that you would want about your nether regions. Torn up newspaper would have been preferable. Apparently that used to be a children’s task, before commercial loo-paper – tearing old newspapers into squares, making a hole in one corner and stringing it all together. I would have done that willingly. Anything but Izal.

Back to foreign writing. It has now seemingly become impossible to buy Felix in tins over here. I don’t think this is anything to do with – the B word – since it has been going on for ages. You can buy the very expensive, and indeed very convenient sachets, but you can’t get the same stuff in tins. Now, I am a squeamish-ish vegetarian (who occasionally eats fish and chips, sorry) and would love to use sachets but with nineteen cats I just can’t afford to. One answer might be not to buy Felix at all but my cats – perversely – love Felix. Felix is to my cats as words are to me.

So I buy Felix over the internet, and they are German. They arrive in great monster packs of 40 or so, which nearly cripple the poor little delivery lady. (I have offered to help, but she won’t let me.) German Felix makes both me and the cats happy. The cats rush to gobble it down. I read the tins and savour the words. For some reason they will not automatically translate themselves into the obvious English equivalent. Lachs & Forelle turn into Salmon and Trout – fair enough. But Rind & Huhn in Gelee insists on translating as Cows and Hens in Jelly.

Cows and Hens in Jelly, I murmur to myself, as I go about my household tasks. Cows and Hens… I can hardly wait for the next random batch to arrive. What might it be – Goats and Pigeons in Tomato Sauce? Dog Fish and Canary?

6 thoughts on “Cows and Hens in Jelly – yum!

  1. I remember the sugar and loo roll scares….and Izal and Bronco…the latter in use at my junior school to the horror of all. I am sure that kids developed supreme control of bowels and bladder rather than use it.
    When we had all the feral cats feeing at our place in France we used to buy tins of catfood packed in Poland which were on sale at a local end of line shop. It stank to high heaven and they loved it…well, I suppose it was catfood as I can’t read Polish either…but there was a pic of a cat on the label so it was either for cats or of cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Bronco. I had forgotten or maybe wiped (hah!) Bronco from my memory. It was on a roll, wasn’t it? whereas Izal lurked folded in squares packets. Reading of your Polish packed cat food reminded me – I’ve just gone out to the garage to get a tin – of a failed experiment called Bozita. I have a great tray of Bozita with only one tin missing. They wouldn’t even get near enough to sniff it, let alone ingest. It’s mostly in German (Pate mit Rind) but also proclaims in English that it is The Swedish quality cat food. Nightmare visions of herds of doomed moo-cows being driven back and forth across borders. Was thinking of offering it to Next Door for her Great Dane come Brexit, but it’s such a nice dog I haven’t the heart…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There could be a diplomatic incident if a Great Dane turned up its nose at Swedish cat food…
        We did try the feral cats on supermarket special…not interested. Hunting was preferable to Super U’s finest.

        Liked by 1 person

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