TODAY I cried in the fish aisle at Sainsbury’s. Yes, I’m vegetarian, but it wasn’t out of pity for the poor dead mackerel. And I know it’s ludicrous. But this is what did it:
Seriously? There may be “traces of nuts” in a filleted cod? To begin with, I was irritated. Then I decided to ask the fishmonger fella behind the deli counter exactly what likelihood there might be of peanuts coming into contact with his fish. I knew he wouldn’t be able to shed any light, not really, and I guess I was being a little (politely) facetious. And, of course, he replied in exactly the way I’d expected: “We can’t guarantee no traces.” But in a bit of fish? Really? “It’s more the meat,” he added, helpfully. Like the stewing steak? Or the lamb chops?
Then I got a bit angry – not with him, I hasten to add, but with the idiots who think this is helpful information when, in fact, it is nothing more than a weaselly exercise in back-covering. How hard can it be to keep the fishmongering and butchering sections nut, seed, egg free? But when you can pussyfoot your way out of it with a prominently posted note warning of stark and present danger why bother? You’ve done your bit for the allergy bandwagon, then, haven’t you?
Actually no: you’ve made basic grocery shopping an anxiety ridden nightmare.
And then I cried, a bit. Very embarrassing and nobody saw me, I don’t think. I just pretended to be browsing the tuna steaks and feeding Sidney rice cakes while trying to pull myself together. It’s ridiculous – all I wanted was a bit of cod so I could make him a fish pie. The pre-packed shelves were all empty and the ‘from our fishmonger’ section was telling me I’d be taking a risk. Probaby not a huge risk, granted, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy any, just in case.
I took myself off to a corner to ring my husband, just to vent a bit (poor sod). Reception was awful but a few minutes later I got a text back from him:
Don’t be upset my darling. We’ll find nut free cod, even if I have to go fishing. xx
So I smiled, and pulled myself together, and went to buy Sid a bit of chicken instead.