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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Being a father definitely has its advantages. I took Amelie to Taj the Grocer yesterday for a some ethnic foodstuffs. They're still refusing to stock Skyr on the grounds that I'm the only person in Brighton who eats it, but I like to pop in from time to time for some guanabana juice and a bit of quinoa. Unfortunately Lisa's about as keen to visit Taj as she is to walk through the doors of Lidl, so I tend to go alone.

Yesterday however, I insisted on taking Amelie with me. She spends a lot of time with her mother, so I wanted to prove to her that not all foods are made by Walkers and Cadbury. And what better place to go than a shop which sells goat yoghurt, soya cheese and giant jars of pickled peppers. It was like Diversity Training at work, but with less food.

Hello Panda. Goodbye weightloss.So anyway, there we were, standing in the queue next to a water butt filled with olives, when what should I spy across a crowded concourse, but a shelf full of Hello Panda. I'm surprised Amelie didn't see them - she's meant to able to spot a monochrome bear from twenty paces. Obviously I had no idea what Hello Panda was, but I didn't need to know. I was quite happy to pay 79p just for the name.

The problem was that I had a queue of hippies and Arabs behind me, all of whom were just itching to move forward the moment I left for the panda aisle. Which is where fatherhood comes in handy. I simply parked Amelie in the queue, and wandered off to say hello to the pandas, safe in the knowledge that no one would dare move her for fear of being branded a child abductor.

Within seconds (well, minutes - I couldn't decide which flavour to get), I was back in the queue with my daughter, having taught her some valuable life-lessons, not only about food diversity, but also independence.

Hello Panda turned out to be "Fun Filled Biscuits Treats" (I'm not sure all those esses are strictly necessary) from Japan, the home of the giant panda (I think). According to their Wikipedia entry (because obviously they have one), "Printed on the biscuits are cartoon style depictions of giant pandas; presumably this is where the product derives its name".

I'm not sure you can make such wild assumptions. Personally I think it's because they taste of bamboo, and you can't find them anywhere. I've eaten the whole box already, so they're not so much endangered as extinct.