Cheese and Pickle Double Crunch Coated Peanuts

Brand: Branston

Cost: £0.99

Found at: Lidl

 

My old boss, Alex, was the kind of British man who always seemed like he just wandered out of the Boer War. A classic old imperialist, he liked nothing better than disparaging the locals, winding up millennials, and proudly declaring the joys of being British. He was not the worst boss I’ve had by a long shot, but he was definitely one of those people that were best taken in small doses. After 15 minutes, I would feel like I was suffering a chronic case of Englishman poisoning and would have to throw some tea leaves in a nearby puddle to feel better.

But one of Alex’s great loves was “pickle” which he used to describe a jar of dark chutney that he spread on just about everything: “This is the kind of meal that the empire was built on.” He would say, holding it up for us to admire. I thought it was just an archaic idiosyncrasy, but once I moved to Britain, I realized that people here really do eat “pickle” – and not just the Empire chasers. Young, educated, enlightened classmates would pull out their jar of chutney with the same enthusiasm as that hardened old Brexiter. “It’s OK,” they would reassure me as I braced myself, in a Pavlovian response, for a lecture on the virtues of colonialism, “its just Branston pickle.”  But I still avoided it – “pickle” and I had too much history together, and after a vegemite incident years ago, I was not ready to open myself up to another unfamiliar jar of preserve.

But the good Lord knows I love a flavored peanut. And these are excellent: like a slightly more briny and cheesy version of salt and vinegar chips. They are just the right blend of sour and salty and with a little lime seltzer, I can almost pretend that I am back in the pub. It almost makes me willing to give Branston pickle a chance – maybe I can eat pickle and still be a strong modern feminist.

Just as long as no one tells Alex. I’d never hear the end of it.

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