Thursday, October 21, 2010


Years ago my son and I were at a cafe ordering some coffee for me and a milkshake for him.

As we placed the order I looked up above the girl's head as I paid her and noticed one of those hideous bug zapper things attached to the wall behind her. At the same moment a fly got zapped and I was sure that I saw a body part shoot out from the zapper and land somewhere in the surrounding area.

I tried not to think about it too much as the girl made my coffee, especially as the coffee machine was almost in the line of fire of the zapper. But I did mention it to my son and we both found the whole cafe experience slightly diminished with the thought of dead fly body parts landing randomly around the cafe.

After that, every time we saw one of those zapper machines we would make a comment about dead bodies.

Well, the other day when we were at my favorite grocer's shop my son kindly pointed out to me the fly zapper that was hanging above the vegetable section. From where I stood it looked totally disgusting as it had numerous dark spots on the blue, glowing bars which indicated that much insect death had occurred over time. With this in mind I made a point of not buying any food that was situated in a ten foot radius of the thing - just in case some fly carcass was laying on a potato.

So, my son and I were getting the groceries and he said "this place stinks and makes me sick". I tried to explain that it was due to the huge variety of food here and how it catered for so many different cultures (in particular Asian and Indian) and that it may be a bit smelly for the average sanitised person. I said to him that it was nice to have all different cultures catered for in one place (they also have loads of Russian and Polish food) and that meant I could find something I liked as well (like the Black rye bread that I bought there that almost made me vomit and ended up in the rubbish bin).

We then made our way to the fish counter where they had every type of seafood you could imagine including a big tub of live crabs. There was certainly a strong fishy odour hanging around.

Not far from the fish counter was the fresh meat section. Nothing namby pamby and wrapped in plastic here. They had a couple of carcasses being cut up in full view. It was all spotless but it was not hidden.

"Do you want some fish? Or some meat for dinner?" I asked my son.

"You cannot be serious," he said.

I asked him why not.

"I cannot look at all that slimy fish and a dead cow hanging upside down and then think about eating it. And not after seeing live crabs and the bug zapper," he told me.

I tried to explain how great it is to see food being handled and fresh on show rather than in a plastic pack on a faceless shelf.

He just could not entertain the thought. He told me it looked just too gross and smelt too much for him to imagine eating. Which is fair enough I suppose.

So we bought what we needed and then made our way to the usual supermarket where he felt safe.

Prepackaged meat and fish all odour free.

No bug zappers either.

Oh well. One can but try to introduce different things to children.

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