Thursday, March 31, 2005

ryanair and gastronomic value

we flew in from semana santa last night. as we checked in at the airport, the man at the ryanair desk informed us that we were 6kg over the checked-in baggage limit and would be subject to a fine. it is not unusual for us to carry a lot of baggage home, but it is unusual to be charged. appeals to logic (that we were in fact 14kg under the total baggage limit) and emotion (that i had hurt my back due to consuming too many tapas over the weekend and couldn't carry any hand-baggage) failed and ryanair became €42 richer as a result.

this is not going to be a disgruntled blog, but on looking at the contents of our bags i realised that we had imported enough for a small delicatessen. i thought it would be interesting to take the food contents of our baggage and compare their gastronomic worth to the value that ryanair ("the hidden cost airline" ... ok, i'm allowed one dig at them) puts on them ... €7 per kg.

spanish cheese: 1.5kg = €10.5

the price would seem about correct. within this assortment we have manchego (flor de ebuega) and membrillo (quince paste). this is perhaps the finest combination made with cheese in the history of man.

random sushi products: 0.3kg = €2.1

again, this would seem fine. we cooked sushi one night in guadix. we managed to burn the seaweed and i managed to burn my mouth when i thought that the wasabi was a guacamole dip. as someone who is spending half of the year in tokyo, this was pretty embarrassing. for anyone ever caught in a similar situation, mcgee recommends breathing out by the mouth (sparing the nasal passage) and in through the nose (avoiding drawing irritants into the lungs).

gin: 1.2kg = €8.4

this was a present from my father-in-law so i don't know the real price. the history of gin goes a long way back in menorca. the website is worth it alone for the interesting us of english that they adopted seem to have.

paracetamol and back pain gel: 0.1kg = €0.7

and a snap at that. you may not feel that this is food related, but in the wrong hands it may be required.

spanish tortilla turner etc: 0.7kg = €4.9

pretty much on the nose. the ancho chiles are from cool chile co in london, they are excellent in a chicken recipe that i'll blog in the future. they expired last october. to be honest, i'm not sure what the other bag is for, something to do with wheat. they will expire in august 2005 so we better eat them fast.

aceitunas (olives): 2.1kg = €14.7

expensive, but it is true that these are some of the best olives that you can get. i hated olives before i had real spanish olives in las alpujarras (hanging village in the sierra nevada). now i am a completely dedicated fan of stuffed manzanilla. i need a little more work on black olives; they will be a subject of a blog in the future.

assorted food products from el salvador: 1.1kg = €7.7

in terms of value, it seems that europe has put a high premium on what would otherwise be quality imports from latin america (hmm). there is a good explanation of horchata at we also have packed coffee fro el salvador and tamarind concentrate.

food related books: 1.8kg = €12.6

you can never put a price on knowledge, but this seems fine. we have packed the man who ate everything, casino royale, gazpachos, sopas y ajos blancos, nueva-clasica cocnia andalusi and la historia y cocina siglos xiii-xv. you may wonder why i include an ian fleming book. well, for a special agent, james bond seemed to really enjoy his food. he never seemed to be restricted by a kg limit, "the trouble is," he explained to vesper, "not how to get enough caviar, but how to get enough toast with it".

48 aluminium muffin tins: 0.1kg = €0.7

and a steal at that. these retail at €8.88 excluding tax.

all in all, 8.9 kg and a cost of €62.3; but not bad for the products. mr. o'leary (ceo of ryanair), if you ever have time off extending the reach of the ryanair network and manage to come across this blog you can send mails to me at the usual address ...

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