Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gingerbread Porridge




I was sitting on the kitchen floor the other day with my iPad, half-in and half-out of the doorway to get some of the feeble WiFi reception that dribbles down from the modem upstairs; my  husband was nearby, pushing tiny strips of fish finger into Kitty's sparrow-mouth followed by a spoonful of beans.

"Na naaaaaaaaa," said Kitty, her mashed-up food slowly collapsing from its position on the roof of her mouth to flop onto her tongue. She then keeled forward gently to rest her forehead on her highchair tray, her fat grubby hands splayed on the plastic either side of her face. She's been doing that a lot recently; I don't know what it means.

Then an email arrived from someone I used to work with at The Times, called Claire. That makes me sound terribly grand, doesn't it? Like we used to write long witty pieces about the increasing popularity of traditional parlour games at Notting Hill dinner parties. In reality I worked part-time on the Times Magazine's reception desk and she was the chief sub-editor, which meant that if everything went perfectly no-one thanked her but if anything went wrong it was all her fault.

It wasn't the easiest place to work, the Magazine, especially not when you were a) the receptionist and b) part-time; it made you officially the lowliest person at the entire newspaper because at least the messengers got a bit of paid holiday and knew their way around.

And there were some horrible people. Not horrible, horrible - people always think working at newspapers is like All The President's Men and working at magazines is like The Devil Wears Prada but in actual fact it's just some grubby open-plan office with towers of dusty paper and the faint smell of lick.

Most newspaper or magazine offices could be anywhere. And the horrible people were just boringly horrible. They didn't make catty, arch, comments that sent you racing to the ladies' to sob, they just sort of refused to acknowledge you because you were so lowly and shit.

But Claire was always lovely to me. She looked me right in the eyes when she talked to me and never did a thing where I'd say something and she'd look at me as if my chair had started talking. Among other people who were nice to me were Hannah Betts, (with whom I became obsessed and started copying the way she dressed), and my husband.

I only spoke to my husband once on the phone when I was working at The Magazine - when he had so much post that I had to send a parcel van to his house to take it all and had to ring him to ask when he'd be at home to receive it. We had an unexpectedly nice chat. He is terribly friendly, my husband - much friendlier than you think he's going to be and I was astonished at his bothering to make jokes on the phone. When you work on reception and send people their post, no-one bothers to waste jokes on you or or tries to be charming. And when they do, you notice.

So I hunted him down and married him. Ha ha! (No, seriously.)

Anyway, so Claire emailed me and said Hiya, I'm working in PR now - do you want some free stuff? I usually absolutely catagorically say no to any freebies because it makes all this feel far too much like work. And it feels so self-important and crass to mouth off in some kind of superior way about what I think about this brand of biscuits or that kind of oat-free snack.

But you remember people who were nice to you when you were really little and shitty and want to do them a favour, for what it's worth.

So: Dorset Cereal's Gingerbread Porridge is actually pretty excellent. It comes in a chic brown box with a cute picture of a runaway gingerbread man on it. In the box are 10 sealed paper sachets of porridge that you can mix with milk and cook in the microwave or on the stove. I thought it was delicious and I don't even really like porridge.

Although it says it's limited edition, which probably means that it is only available in a few select branches of Waitrose within the M25.

That's the thing about PR: 50% of it really works - you just don't know which 50%.




Amy I haven't forgotten about your request for child-friendly fish pie. Coming soon. Like, tomorrow.

25 comments:

  1. Yay the blogging is back!! And the porridge sounds delicious.. will try to hunt some down!

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  2. Hannah Betts went to my school. We were all obsessed with her then and copied the way she dressed (slightly vintage/Goth, if I remember rightly).

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  3. Oh, gingerbread! I'm a bit obsessed about it at the moment after some gingerbread gents I baked with the 3 year old actually worked. So I will try and track this down, although living outside of the M25 means I am likely to be scuppered in my quest.

    Thank you for reading, and acknowledging fish pie request!

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  4. Gingerbread porridge sounds interesting - was it very gingery?

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  5. I'd say it was just gingery enough...

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  6. sounds like it will give a good start to a particularly chilly morning!

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  7. They have this for sale in my Waitrose in Glasgow, which is very far from the M25. I'm going to get some, on your recommendation Esther, no pressure. Elaine x

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  8. p.s. It's not my own actual Waitrose, it's just the Waitrose near to my flat.

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  9. Gingerbread porridge sounds so awful that it's got to be delicious. Am off to try it (although near the sea and not in London might not work in my favour. Child-friendly fish pie? Yes please. Mine pick the salmon out and I eat it whilst drinking a lukewarm cup of tea. Not a vintage match, admittedly.

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  10. I notice that despite going to the effort of making jokes on the phone when I didn't even know you, I didn't get any of this fucking porridge.

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  11. Love it, as always. "...if everything went perfectly no-one thanked her but if anything went wrong it was all her fault": you've just put into words a feeling of general unfairness I've harboured for years.

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  12. Aw, such a sweet story, thanks for sharing - sounds actually like a film! Brilliant post too. Ginger and porridge are two of my favourite things in the world. Problem is I've not eaten carbs in ages. I might buy some of this and make it for my family on Christmas morning. Cheers.

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  13. ANONYMOUS, who is clearly Giles - the porridge is sitting RIGHT there on the worktop, you could just help yourself you know.

    Esther

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  14. C'mon, don't leave us hanging, what happened next in the getting together story? Did you hide in a large parcel along with all his other post and get delivered to his flat?! Melissa

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  15. Yeah I agree Melissa! Can you tell us about how you got together and how he proposed etc? Love a good romance story! Plus who cooked for whom first?

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  16. I almost thought "ooh, I quite fancy some of that" but then I remembered that I don't like sweet gingery things.

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  17. I've had Dorset Cereals porridge before! I won it in a competition on Twitter, because someone else didn't want the porridge, so they let me have it instead. I microwaved mine. They taste lovely! I've never had the gingerbread one though. Great blog post, by the way, and I knew the anonymous was Giles too. :) x

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  18. i'm so in love with the you and Giles story... he's such a charmer to have been so lovely to you, such a lowly maid... (see, i'm romanticising already...) or was it because (and I suspect this to be the truth) you looked pretty hot yourself and he quite simply couldn't resist you...?

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  19. Sounds yummy, but I'd guess the chances of me finding this in an Asda in West Yorkshire are slim to none. Keep your fingers crossed for me everyone, or I just know I'm going to end up driving half an hour to my nearest Waitrose and spending FAR too much money on yummy things.

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  20. Hannah Betts interviewed me for a place on the Times graduate scheme. I didn't get it. The main thing I remember about the interview though was how impossibly glamorous she was! And then I got a job (a real one, not graduate scheme) on the Telegraph anyway, so she probably did me a favour.

    I really wanted to try the gingerbread porridge so went to the Dorset Cereals site, but their minimum order is £15. So I now have rather a lot of porridge and cereal to get through! The moral of this is don't shop when you're hungry.

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  21. Ms Walker, I could not be more beamingly honoured. In fact, I was always in awe of your wit and beauty. Can we reunite pronto? I am remarkably soppy about babies and yours appears particularly sterling.
    I fear I'm going to have to post as Anonymous, as I am too techno inept to adopt any other monicker, but it is Betts, and I send you and Caroline and squeezedo'shore a mighty high five.
    Expect twitter stalking.

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  22. Hannah!! Omfg! Come and see us for gawd's sake. Giles is very excited. Please email me soonest Esther.walker@gmail.com.

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  23. Hey Esther - was I not nice to you on the Magazine??? Or was I one of the horrible ones?? Love to you and the baby, Lucy xxx

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  24. Oh god!! No of course you were a diamond! I said "among others"... Have you got two babies now? Xxx

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  25. Gingerbread porridge available on ocado. Pr worked and I ordered some!

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