21) Faddy Food Fetishes - Just Eat It! When I was a child there was no such thing as Food Intolerances. I'd like to add that as the aforementioned child, we had central heating, indoor plumbing and 3 channels on the television. I am not a dinosaur! Food fell into two distinct categories - what you liked and what you didn't. And in my house you ate what was put in front of you or sit at the table, little legs swinging for as long as it took you to clean your plate (One time I sat there for 4 hours, cutting miniscule portions of cold, gelatinous egg white and holding my breath as I shoveled the hated protein into my mouth. Oh how I longed for a dog back then.) I wasn't allergic to it, I just loved the yolk, all gooey and tasty and loathed the white.
Okay, so I'm not saying intolerance's didn't exist. I can't be the only product of the late seventies who still bears scars from headbutting the door frame after one too many glasses of the Tartrazine laden Kia-Ora at her seventh birthday party. Can I?! Every kid back then had peanut butter sandwiches and I'm fairly certain no-one went into anaphylactic in the playground. Before anyone complains, I do realise peanut allergies are serious. To the point that I keep an Epi Pen in my office just in case one of my colleagues goes into shock. Poor girl had an episode over Christmas due to a poinsettia and it was horrifying, she could barely breath. So no, I am not mocking the true allergy sufferers. Now stop huffing and keep reading. It seems to be a modern phenomenon, lactose, gluten, nuts, berries. The list of foods people can no longer metabolise for fear of death is alarming in its increasing length. And it worries me how quickly it can occur. I could wake up tomorrow and no longer be able to eat Sun Pat (The company would fold I tell you!) What's happened in the last *cough* years that makes people so allergic to every day things like milk and bread? Is it the GMOs in our diet, the pollution in the air that erodes our immune systems or something less sinister? I genuinely don't know. I'm lucky that I have the constitution of a Sherman Tank so I can (and do) eat anything... for now.
What really pisses me off are those people who claim to have intolerances when really they are just fussy. "Oh I can't eat any fish unless it's Lobster. Allergies darling!", "Oh you made me a cake? How sweet. Did you use dairy free protein and gluten free flour? No? Oh how awful, I can't eat any of it due to my allergies... And you went to all that trouble!" I have genuinely had people over for dinner and when presented with their meal, one person looked up at me and announced that they can't eat it because they are allergic to one/all of the ingredients. Now this could be that I am a shitty cook *¹ but more likely that they just weren't in the mood for what I'd made. Which would be annoying as hell but preferable to the former. Had I been forewarned I could have made something different but no, I spent 4 hours prepping and cooking to find out Miss Food Allergy was allergic to gluten. Which when you've made Salmon En Croute using HOMEMADE puff pastry that almost gave you RSI rolling out all that bloomin' butter is a bit of a pisser. And she couldn't just pick off the pastry and eat the fish, "Because there may be residue left behind and it could kill me!". Alas I had no gluten free bread in the house so she had a plate of asparagus and new potatoes. I bet her pee stank that night. Funnily enough, she wolfed down 2 slices of the coffee and walnut gateau I'd made using almond flour and declared it amazing. "So much tastier than using normal flour as well. May I have another slice?" To this day, she still asks me to make that cake for her as it's one of the few desserts she can safely eat and to this day she has no idea that the "almond" flour is actually McDougalls plain white. Gluten allergy my ass. Bitch just wants to eat cake! *²
*¹ I am not, I am actually an epic cook and an even better baker. My mum told me so. High praise indeed.
*² You may be thinking that I am a cow for potentially risking her life but this same friend also claims to be allergic to strawberries and milk yet can frequently be found downing White Russians with abandon. After at least 3 White Russians she once ate half a bowl of chocolate covered strawberries before someone (not me) reminded her she was technically committing suicide. She stopped then proclaimed that the chocolate covering must have saved her life. I need new friends...
22) It's (Not) My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To. By now you should probably have established a few things about Cate. I am in my thirties, childless, with some truly awesome friends, a few shitty ones and a bad dye job. I am also single, never married, never engaged and I own my own home (which in London means I'm leaving this house in a box). This outpouring of information is less about gaining sympathy and more to give my next rant some context. As a single childless woman who hasn't changed addresses in the last 20 years I have never held an engagement, hen, wedding, baby shower, christening or housewarming party. I have never been the reason my friends and acquaintances rushed out to Argos/M&S to buy vouchers or toasters or L plates. No veils emblazoned with condoms or chocolate penis's has ever adorned my head *³, no pastel hued "cakes" made from toweling nappies and baby powder have ever graced my doorstep. And I am completely fine with that.
However.. the number of these hellacious events I have been invited to over the years is immense. So what does it all mean, aside from the fact that I am officially an old maid? It means that I have spent thousands of pounds over the years on shit for other people. Flowers, cards, photo frames *4, romper suits, cuddly toys, helium balloons, champagne, coffee machines, bed linen and a never ending list of novelty crap which I have lovingly arranged in baskets, boxes and various vestibules and then wrapped in sheets of clear plastic before finishing with a bow. And not just one of those metallic stick-on bows you use at Christmas. On no, these are the fancy ones you find on arrangements in Florists, that you buy as a ribbon and then pull the strings and POOF! Super snazzy fancy bow!
I have an entire built-in wardrobe at home dedicated to gift wrap. Rolls of paper to commemorate almost every occasion, gift bags (Oh god, so many gift bags), matching tags, cards and enough ribbon to stretch from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I am the Candy Spelling of North London. All that time spent planning and shopping, arranging then taking it all out to rearrange it again at least 4 times before it looks just right then the wrapping. If it’s baby related and they already have a child, you have to buy something for them so they don’t get left out. If it’s an engagement you can’t just buy her a bottle of Zinfandel and a copy of Magic Mike on DVD, it has to be a something they can both enjoy *5, which leaves what? He’d love a game for the PS4 which he doesn’t realise she’s going to “accidentally” break next time he goes to play football and she’d love a day at a spa which he’ll get out of by claiming at the eleventh hour that he has absolutely got to work that day or his boss will fire him. Minefield. I tend to cop out here and go with food, hampers or vouchers for a meal work well and for a housewarming, a subscription to Netflix is a nice gesture, just get 3 months and then leave it up to them. Not stupidly expensive and thoughtful enough that they’ll appreciate your gift without realising you are screaming on the inside.
Come Christmas it’s gifts for your friend and her partner (booze) and their little darlings, at least 2 gifts going out and one coming back in if you’re lucky. Children’s birthday parties when all little Tamsin/Albie wants is the latest on trend item which takes hours on eBay to hunt down and costs the same as your first car. Literally thousands of pounds and months of my (not so) young life spent on other people’s festivities and because I am the aforementioned old maid, not one artfully wrapped or carefully thought out gift in return. No one celebrates that you don’t have children. They don’t make cards celebrating your single status and not one bugger brought gifts for me to my cat’s first birthday party, although he made out like a bandit. No one has thrown me a party because I redecorated my hallway or given me champagne to celebrate my biggest commitment so far in life. *6 Honestly guys, I truly am happy for you and your loved up/sprogged up lives but if I’m going to blow my hard earned cash on crap, I’d much rather it were for me.
*³ Never has, never willie. I mean will :)
*4 For some reason photo frames work for almost every celebratory situation, aside from funerals. Good to know.
*5 And while Magic Mike is a great movie, if they both “enjoy” it she’ll have bigger issues later on than you did pondering what to buy in the first place!
*6 Signing up for Amazon Prime took a lot. That’s 12 months people, that’s longer than some marriages. *cough* Kim Kardashian.
23) The King Is Dead, Long Live The King – Cover versions. Urgh! Definitely not a fan of plagiarism in any form. However in some cases there are bands or directors that lovingly take something and make it better. Oliver Stone, I am not talking to you! The Fugees covered “Killing Me Softly” and took a classic and made another classic. Placebo, now that is a band that can work miracles. Kate Bush, The Pixies... nothing is intangible. The irreplaceable Joss Whedon remade Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, using Shakespeare’s original text and Kenneth Brannagh’s spirit and made a stand alone classic. Baz Lurman’s “Romeo and Juliet” works beautifully. “High Society” takes the “The Philadelphia Story” to its musical echelons. William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of The Shrew”, from the BBC revisiting to “10 Things I Hate About You” – perfect. But for every genius re-interpretation there are countless piss poor covers that retract from the original genius. In my mind, it is just lazy. You aren’t capable of writing something original so you take something established and try to make it “original”. At this point I discount charity singles, they almost always suck, except from the Gareth Gates “Spirit In The Sky” which was all kinds of awesome. I understand the yearning to take an established track/film and put your own spin on it. I really do. Who wouldn’t want to improve on perfection? Except you can’t. The percentage of great covers opposed to the number of shitty wannabies is infinite. Just don’t do it. Try to be original. Learn from Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams. It ain’t worth $7.3 million.
24) Butt Flossing - G strings Are The Devil. You wear a G-string so no-one can see your panty line. Men like your panty line. It makes them horny and lowers their levels of intolerance. It’s uncomfortable and undignified. Case closed.
25) LMAO... Errr, No I'm Not Actually - Text Speak And The Destruction Of Humanity. Okay, I do actually use LOL. And TMI. But that is about it. The word is “SEE” not C. It is “YOU” not U. I want 2 C U is not an acceptable sentence. From my earliest recollection, my parents taught me how to speak. Big words, correctly used and pronounced properly. I get that text is fun, and easy, but for the love of all that is holy, please don’t use annotated spellings to save time. It’s not only annoying but it makes you look lazy and uneducated. Pre-emptive text pretty much does the work for you so there really is no excuse. You don’t look cool, you look brain damaged. English is such a beautiful language, words for everything, nouns, verbs, pro nouns, adverbs. You literally can say anything you want to. Don’t bastardise it.