I go inside Tesco to the perennially busy Meal Deal aisle. Today, six students have huddled round a spilled Fanta and are pointing accusatory fingers at one another. I skirt round and peruse the coolers for the Christmas offering. There is only one; turkey and trimmings, £2.20. I look back at the students, who are still arguing in a circle round the spilled Fanta. It all looks a bit ritualistic. I decide to make a meal of it, the most Christmas-y meal that I can, and add on an Orangina (Champagne) and Vegetable Crisps (which are actually roast veg, sort of).
The sandwich is disappointing. It’s just fine. The turkey tastes like chicken and the sausages are just the usual, 98% rusk affairs of all the other meal deal sandwiches. The cranberry sauce is nice, there just isn’t enough of it. I cry a single, salty tear. This is actually welcome as it adds some moisture to the bread. I open up the Orangina like the ersatz bottle of GH Mumm that it is and conclude: the only way to eat this sandwich is by taking a sip of it, then forcing the sandwich in my mouth to soak up the moisture. People are starting to stare at me, but I can’t stop. I finish the sandwich and the drink and think about the state of the world. It broadly reflects this sandwich. It’s just fine. OK. Middling.
5/10 – Deck the Halls with Boughs of Mediocrity
Bakery 164 is a strangely sweaty place. Inside, everyone is from Surrey and wearing one of two outfits; Canterbury of New Zealand trousers w/choice of branded Gryphons top or New Balance trainers with jeans and a jumper. I think Bakery 164 is the most curious sauna in the world. The Christmas sandwich is re-stocked just as I arrive and I touch someone’s hand trying to reach for them. It’s the start of a Christmas rom-com except the six-foot-four (Canterbury-sporting) rugby chap isn’t quite my type. He passes me one like a very well-built Santa.
I get it toasted. This costs money because it’s Cameron’s Britain, but it was actually Blair who introduced top-up charges for toasting. Come to think of it, Thatcher was the one who closed down the toasting mines. It comes to £3.70 total and it is worth every single neo-liberal penny. Bakery 164’s Christmas Sandwich is an unmitigated delight. Everything about it is wonderful. There is chicken aplenty, which spills out because it’s so full. The stuffing is rich and tender. There’s bacon, which just adds to it. The cranberry sauce is delicious. Every single bite tastes like heaven. Forget illicit substances, Leeds; this sandwich is the high you need.
10/10 – So, this is Christmas
No-one does Christmas like M&S, apparently. I develop a theory about this as I walk through the shop. M&S is good at Christmas because neither of them ever change. I mean for crying out loud M&S still call their perfume range ISIS, which is how resistant to change they are. As I go down the escalator I think I glance upon a range of suits labelled ‘KKK’.
The sandwich, which has an adorable little penguin on the front and promises to send a suitably vague “some” money to charity Shelter, is £3.30. For a bloody packet-bound sandwich. I try and work out how much will actually go to help the homeless. The sandwich is really nice; there’s some good trimmings and the cranberry sauce is a delight. There’s a touch of salad and it’s filled to the edges and it’s moist without being too moist. Frankly, mind, it’s a bit over-priced.
7/10 – Oh Slightly-Pricey Sandwich of Bethlehem
I have heard good things about Terrace’s Christmas sandwich. They are whispered to me, like prophecies from ancient ancestors and so I enter, excited and a little giddy, LUU’s very own Terrace. I don’t even mind paying £4.95. A very nice woman takes my order and we precede to wait a while. Both I and my prophecy-seeking companion are tired. Minutes pass. Twenty minutes pass. Twenty minutes of standing in Terrace. I am actively starting to age. The music is too loud. It’s hot. Terrace is too green. The nice woman comes back. “We’ve run out of turkey” she says and offers me a half-hearted refund or the vegetarian option. I take the vegetarian option and calculate I’ve lost about thirty pounds in sweat.
It arrives in two big boxes and we take it to hidden café. Inside, what arrives is best described as disappointment wrapped-up. It’s basically a big mushroom in a burger bun served with six sad potatoes. There’s a big slab of cheese in it and some cranberry sauce. How do I eat this? The mushroom is soggy and yet somehow the bread stays dry. The cranberry sauce is ok but for five pounds I could fill a bath with Cranberry sauce. Every bite is confusing. The potatoes taste sad. The whole thing is a wretched, tragic, festive mess. Christmas is cancelled.
1/10 – Ding Dong Merrily this Sandwich Should Die
I took Friday off. I needed two days to get over Terrace-gate. I think the Union deserves another chance so I head to Essentials. I think about the least essential thing in Essentials. Initially I focus on the ‘luxury’ items; iced tea, tampons, etc., but then I discover some fuzzy felt. When has fuzzy felt ever been essential? The shop doesn’t even stock milk sometimes. I go for the Urban Eat selection and wonder what exactly Urban Eating is. It sounds like a New Labour policy to give inner-city kids more of their five-a-day. It’s £3.29 for a trio of sandwich, drink and crisps.
It’s beef, which is a welcome change, and it’s pretty middle of the road, but I admire their capacity for change. Apparently it also contained some mustard, but it didn’t really do anything, just added a little moisture. I don’t know how to feel about this sandwich, but I think it’s ok overall. It errs on the side of good. I might get a Bakery 164 on Monday.
6/10 – Happy Christmas
Image: The Telegraph.