Sunday, January 15, 2006

Trofie, bar-code readers, little girl with currant bun

We get hold of some pasta called trofie. It has a rough, porous texture that holds and absorbs the sauce you serve it with. It is easier to eat than spaghetti because it consists of little twisted strips about an inch long. It needs to be cooked in boiling water for about 20 minutes - longer than most pasta. It look a bit like bowl of white worms but, when served with a spicey sauce made with a little finely chopped red pepper flesh, shallots, toasted pine nuts, and chopped basil added at the last minute, the appearance and taste is seductive.

As I wait by the check-out points for the friends who give me a lift to Sainsbury most Sundays, I watch my fellow shoppers paying for and packing into plastic bags the goods, which they have collected. They remind me of the factory workers on the production line in the Chaplain film Modern Times. There is an urgency about the scene, as though there is some mysterious force driving on the cycle of purchase-and-pack-and-load-into-trolleys. In the background, there is the insistent, rhythmic bleeping of numerous bar-code readers,as the goods are scanned. It could be a piece of modern music, to which the shoppers and checkout assistants are performing a mime act or ballet.

A little girl runs in front of her parents eating a vast currant bun; she seems to stagger with joy while the sugar glaze, transferred to her cheeks, augments her smile.

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