Saturday, November 08, 2008

Possibly blowing my culinary credibility...

Well, not many people stop by on a weekend anyway...

I thought I'd share a little French packaging icon, rather the equivalent Oxo, or the Golden Syrup tin, though nothing is as fine as a Golden Syrup tin.

KubOr. Essentially a stock cube. I am a stock cube user, I'll come clean. Mostly I use Lidl's chicken stock cubes, quite attractively packaged in their own right, in fact I rather like quite a lot of Lidl's packaging, it's got a rather homespun, old-fashioned and somehow slightly German look about it. Oh dear, not only am I sending my foody readers packing in disgust but also my greener ones, admitting a fondness for packaging ... and probably any German ones I might have too, who would probably not want anyone to think Lidl was representative of their cultural aesthetic.
But I also buy KubOr. Old sheet metal advertising plaques from the last century, (the one you and I were born in ) for KubOr grace the walls of many a Bobo Parisian home, I know because I had a subscription to 'Art et Decoration' once. Its design is bold, and unchanged for decades.

Lidl's chicken stock cubes have a soft, smooth flavour and texture, KubOr is actually quite rough, completely vegetarian, with a fair dose of celery salt about it and even a whiff of curry which is puzzling, though that may be just the processed celery taste. A little goes a long way, and they come in gold-wrapped double cubes. I don't use them a lot, but recently I have discovered a spin-off product which is giving me further guilty pleasure.
KubOr à saupoudrer. Sprinkle on KubOr. Magic, on roast chicken, with or without paprika, or risotto (or the lazy cheaty version which is really fried rice I often resort to), really.

There, it's out in the open. I am a culinary slob and a philistine.

Anyway, tomorrow I may post a photo of a year's supply of Bovril, which I don't actually use for cooking, for it has a separate destiny. Now I must go and serve roast chicken, with, guess what, chicken stock cubes within and Kubor without.

Read this and weep, oh arbiters of good taste! (Your quiz question, who was the original Arbiter of Good Taste? No cheating on Google, now. Clue Quo vadis)

I added as an intro to the last post a couple of quotes and links to friends whom I admire very much, and who I wanted to work into it but didn't at first.


Pam said...

Oh - just catching up. So sorry about your car and glad you've managed to become more philosophical about it. Money is only money and a car is only a car, which is easy to say when one hasn't recently had a prang (but I've had my moments, like everyone else).

Beautiful autumn leaf pictures!

christopher said...

What Drew Me Out

I had to climb out,
Packaged like that, broke the seal
Jumped down free but smeared
With the bottle's red contents,
Looking for a bath, looking
For a larger home,
Looking for your constant heart.
That's what drew me out.

Zhoen said...

Have Better Than Bullion, a vegetarian paste stuff. Perfect for hot-dog-soup.

(Brown cut up Hebrew National Polish Sausage, put into hot broth, easy comfort food when ill.)

Lee said...

No slob or philistine; practical realist! (I swear by a chicken stock powder I buy from an asian grocer. Sssssh!)

christopher said...

I am truly sorry for the stutter. My puter acted out. We argued. I lost. Again.

vicki johnson said...

Hey Lucy, we all have our culinary secrets/shortcuts. i think i survived for most of one year on those bouillon cubes. i found them very comforting. And now, i have no idea what i would do without ramen noodles...the packets with the oriental flavoring packet. Sometimes, when i want to go all out, i'll chop up some cilantro to throw in it.

i love wonderful packaging, as well and agree totally re the Golden syrup tins. And i've only recently parted with dozens of nifty bottles that various food or drink stuffs came in with beautiful shapes, or labels or both.

Lucy said...


Isabelle - the car could have been worse, both the damage and the bill, and at least we've had distractions. I wouldn't have been able to say 'only a car' if I'd written it off, but nothing was bent or anything, and a new set of tyres is no bad thing. Thanks for coming!

Christopher - that's all right dear, made me think I'd got a nice lot of comments! It's a cool, funny poem, but I'll delete the spares if that's OK.

Z - I wish I could get that sausage, no such thing for 300 miles at least. I like the fact KubOr is veggie, even if I'm not.

Lee - yes, some of these things are better than others; I get the impression authentic peasant cuisine doesn't eschew these things, and though MSG is not exactly healthy, I'd probably use too much salt otherwise. Putting the cube inside the chicken with fresh herbs, lemon and garlic is a trick I got from an Italian cookery programme which showed a very authentic country family cooking up a feast.

Zephyr - yep, I love quick Chinese noodles, with leaves, parsley, rocket, etc, and sometimes other quick veg like peppers. The curry flavour ones are fab!

Golden syrup tims I keep to put pencils and things in, or anyway they're totally recyclable material. Agree on jars and bottles, my friends even keep them for me. Useful spring clip bottles I keep for slow gin and stuff. The most attractive throwaway packaging is usually the old-fashioned simplest stuff made of fairly low-grade low impact materials, I think, the card in the Kubor package is really rough stuff, and the shape as economical and compact as it could be...

Anonymous said...

Oh I love the syrup tins. Wonderful things.

I have never tried Lidl stock cubes. I might give them a whirl. I am a rubbish cook - the only thing I ever make successfully is soup as it doesn't really matter what soup looks like. With everything else my children always say it either looks good or tastes good but never both at the same time!

Roderick Robinson said...

Only a supremely confident, successful cook would admit to Lidl. Similarly only someone at ease with their preferences would confess to liking such a terrible film as you did when you discussed honesty in profiles. As usual the French have an apt phrase to cover things bien dans sa peau.

We too are a stock cube family. For ages you could only get Knorr pot au feu cubes in France and we took back kilos. It's one thing to be stopped at the douane for smuggling fine wine. Quite another to be done for stock cubes.

Unknown said...

Sometime ago I commented with mild surprise at your use of stock cubes in a cock-a-leekie. I have been looking for an opportunity ever since to retract. I confess to having avoided them in the past, and relied, instead on on toffee nosed but often too delicate home-made stocks. I have since learnt better, and would now not be without them. The principle established, I will refrain from commenting on preferred marques.

vicki johnson said...

OK...i want to know your favorite way for concocting cock-a-leekie...i just checked out your recipes category and didn't see it there...

Jen said...

I've never been to Lidl (or even Asda!) but you have somehow made it sound bohemianly coolio.

I do love a bit of retro packaging and yes, the syrup tin is an absolute icon.

christopher said...

Lucy, thank you for your kindness and for deleting those extras.

Some Other Way

I wonder what route
I should now take to reach you,
Now the bridge's washed out,
Now that the horse came up lame,
Now that I must limp
Some other way to your house.

Lucy said...

Cheers, all.

RB - you could use the stock cubes to make a nice soup!

BB - your remarks about Lidl and oblique reference to my fondness for 'Conan the Barbarian' may prompt posts in their own right... I think perhpas KubOr is Knorr, not sure. Maggie and Knorr I tend to find a little rough and bitty, but perhaps that is part of their charm. We have people smuggle Bovril cubes over in hand luggage.

Plutarch - I do make real stock too, and Tom is particularly good at it, as he's prepared to go to more trouble with saute-ing the vegetables first and all kinds of things which make for a better flavour. But we don't tend to over season our stocks, so I often add cube too!

Zephyr - oops! I need to overhaul my tags I think. I'll put in a link to that one in the next post.

Spiral - cor fanx!

Christopher - aw, that's sad...