23 August, 2007

It's kinda like, different

An adventure in couscous.

Couscous. A word many people are familiar with. A food product fewer are familiar with. But ask them what it is and you'll usually get the same answer.

"It's kinda like rice. Or pasta."

Of course it's neither, but I'm sure that you knew that already as by now you've gone and looked it up in the Wikipedia (all hail the mighty Wikipedia).

Anyway, one day while foraging for food on the weekly hunting and gathering trip to the local Dunnes, I went in search of couscous. Naturally I headed to the area of the store which contained the pasta and the rice (due to the dried wheat based goods nature of the product - not because it's kinda like rice. Or pasta). The rice section was a couscous free area, and the pasta section (dried and fresh) proved likewise. I returned to the hunting party empty handed.

Then, during an inspirational moment, I returned to same area and tried a different tactic. I asked one of the guys stacking shelves in the area if they had couscous.

"Couscous?!" he pondered, "that's rice isn't it!?" he exclaimed.

"No, it's not actually" but failing to have a mobile device with the entry from the Wikipedia (all hail the Wikipedia) my words were in vain, and I foolishly followed him to the rice section, where I watched him search in vain. With that, I followed him to the pasta section with similar results. Again I returned to hunting party empty handed.

Desperate times can make people do desperate things, and I wasn't going home now without couscous. Inspiration dawned again, and the party headed around the corned to Tesco, and straight to the dried wheat type goods which are some what healthier for you section. There was a selection of 3 (three) different types of couscous. A box of instant couscous was quickly felled and the party returned to base camp satisfied with the days outing.

Some days later during lunch, the Better Half hands me the box and asks me if I notice anything strange with it as I'm "good at that sort of thing". She's too polite to call me pedantic that early in the day.

Not one to shirk a challenge, I read the serving suggestion recipe on the back of the box. I studied the photo. Nothing there, so I read the instructions on the side of the box.

The instructions from the side of the packet are:

1) Place unopened bag of rice into a large pan containing 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of boiling water.
2) Remove from heat and allow to stand for 90 seconds allowing grains to swell. 3) Lift out bag by loop and drain well before opening bag and serving

Serves 2, (650 Watt or 750 Watt) 1) Place unopened bag of rice into a non-metallic bowl. Add at least enough boiling water to cover bag. 2) Cover and cook on full power for 90 seconds (650 Watt and 750 Watt) 3) Lift out bag by loop and drain well. Allow to stand for 2 minutes before cutting open bag and serving.

So what did we learn from this adventure
  • Most people don't know what couscous is
  • It's not just an Irish problem (the guy I asked in Dunnes wasn't Irish. Of course it might just be that their on the job training is so good that they teach them the answers that the customer wants to hear).
  • The problem isn't just with Joe Bloggs, or Joe Dunnes, it's also with Joe Roma Foods (the makers of the couscous). Read their instructions again and you'll see that twice they called the food stuff rice (which is twice more than they called it couscous). On the plus side, I've since re-examined the carton and there is no mention of pasta.
  • Cooking instant couscous in the microwave, in boiling water, takes 2 minutes longer than just putting it in boiling water.

No comments: