I’m going to cut straight to the chase here and tell you that I won a basket of food as a part of a promotional campaign for Wales. I have since come to two conclusions:
- As a matter of fact, yes I do want to visit Wales
- Wales’ basket-assembling people need some educating on how to pack gift baskets
As an American, Wales means one thing: Sean Connery. Except that I just looked it up on Wikipedia and Connery isn’t from Wales at all, and I’ve been telling people that he is for some years now — it is genuinely one of my favorite pointless facts to bandy about at parties. It just won’t be the same when I inform them that smugly that Ioan Gruffudd is from Wales.
Additionally, it appears that what my boyfriend’s Norwegian/Swedish grandmother called “pikelets” are actually Welsh cakes, and that the word “pikelet” is not Norwegian, Swedish or Welsh at all. It is with a deepening sense of dread that I realize I know nothing at all about Wales other than that they seem to enjoy the letter ‘y’ to an exceptional degree.
It isn’t often that I find myself at a total loss regarding an entire country’s cuisine, and yet here I am. The internet tells me of laverbread, which sounds like something I’d be eating alone and cockles, which I’m pretty sure are made up.
There is little in this world that titillates my ocelot more than boxes full of pantry goods, I tell you what. DHL on the other hand needs to invest in some sign-reading skills, because this looks all the world like a box that was dropped on it’s damn end, am I right?
I opened it up and was greeted with an ominously sour odor. But more on that in a minute. First, look at this! It’s like a wicker Christmas morning.
Need the tiniest spoon in the world? Just ask, I’ll loan you mine.
So, let’s talk about that odor. I’ve tried to think of how to word this, and I even temporarily decided I wasn’t going to talk about it because you know, this is a gift, but also I think that Wales is in all likelihood an awesome place. But I think we’re all adult enough to understand that this basket does not represent the country of Wales. That being said: this is exactly how it came “packed”. It was a mix of paper boxed goods and glass jars loose inside a basket with a thin layer of shredded paper on the bottom. More than one thing was quite effectively smashed to pieces.
Most sadly – and I’m dead serious here, I was actually depressed for the better part of an hour – the three jars of peculiar pickled things – PICKLED THINGS! – were ruined. All three jars’ seals were popped, and two of the jars had leaked juice all over the basket. It was with a deeply heavy heart that I dropped them into the trash, untasted.
It is possible that this was all cleverly set up to lure me to Wales with promises of condiments, and if so, it’s working. Or as the Welsh call them, cyndymynts. Meanwhile a lot of tasty bites survived the journey, but more on that later. I need a moment of silence for the plum conserve, ginger chutney and farmhouse piccalilli.