Saturday, 17 December 2011
And the only way to make it palatable was to toast it and add some sauce - brown, red or, latterly, chilli. The tangy, spicy, vinigary-ness made up for the total blandness of the bread and cheese.
Now there is choice! Wonderful, exciting, confusing and adventurous choice. Black bread made with rye (hopefully without its lunacy-making fungal pal), sweet Jewish white bread studded with poppy seeds and breads with spelt or oats mixed in to make them, well... more spelty or oaty.
And that cheese - once there was cheddar and, if you were posh, red leicester and stilton. Now the table heaves with cheeses of every kind imaginable - soft cheeses made to spread on the bread, crumbly ones that make your mouth water with anticipation and fabulous blue cheeses, that perfect entwining of fungus and milk.
So we choose - sometimes we go with what we've tried before. But now and then we take a punt, we try something different - listening to the man at the counter we dip our toe into explosive welsh cheddar and the bread lady persuades to to try some bread made from a Croatian recipe. And we combine them, perhaps with a pickle or other condiment from an equally bewildering array, another fantastic choice.
And they try to tell us choice is bad? That we don't really want choice? And that someone else knows better what is good for us!
Right now, in education, health and social care most people are getting that barely digestible bread and that chewy cheese. And others - who can buy their way out from that absence of choice - tell us this is the right way, the only way. And that choice is a bad thing.
They are wrong. Bread and cheese tells us they are wrong. Bring on the choice.