by Sven Triloqvist
Wed Oct 5th, 2011 at 12:23:30 PM EST
Living, as I do, in one of the few remaining places on Earth where the inhabitants perceive themselves to be free*, I'm surprised, in spite of my fundamentally optimistic scepticism, to experience a considerable number of examples of personal behaviour demonstrating, anecdotally, that I am not free*.
(* Definition required)
I can't live without Marmite. It's not really a choice. The simple explanation is that the brainwashing of a barely connected 60 billion neurons in the endorphin-rich environment of parents and child makes it a non-choice.
I can't live without British workman's tea. None of your Lapsang souchong nonsense. PG Tips - well brewed, milk in last and half a teaspoon of sugar can solve many problems - mostly of the type "What to do next?" The rules for Marmite apply - with perhaps an element of misplaced socialist solidarity to them.
I can't live without red wine. An empty wine rack, to me, is a place of infinite sadness. I only buy one red wine, mostly, and that is Painter's Cove - an Australian Shiraz Cabernet that seems to go with almost everything that I cook.
I can also be shirty if Jallu one star or Gin + ingredients are not available. It's not that I am a lush - I just need to know they are around.
But why on Earth do I need that hymn to e-numbers, Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts?
I cannot find in my memory bank any reference to a related childhood habit. Nuttall's Mintoes and Fox's Glacier mints were my breath-enhancing sugar-bombs. Allsorts were an occasional pleasure thanks to aunts or uncles. Perhaps hypnosis might reveal the possible dysfunctional sexual experiences with relatives that still drive my passion.
I thought perhaps that the visual leitmotif of stripes - one of my other inexplicable passions - in Bassett's, might have an influence on my judgement. The fact that I obsess for the Finnish versions, which have the look, but not the taste, would seem to bear this out. There also seem to be more nude liquorice than I recall from England.
I've never been a sweet-eater - probably in itself a behaviour outcome of 1950s rationing - and I never ever buy sweets for myself. Not even a packet of Xylitol gum. But when there are guests, I feel it incumbent upon me to provide a bowl of the aforementioned confectionary.
Contrary to popular opinion, I live a modest, almost eremitic life on a small but adequate income. I have also adopted the Finnish cultural survival mechanism of inconspicuous consumption.
Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts WTF?
Naturally, you will reveal your own obsessions....