Take heed of the unremarked but insidious pestilence of raisins. They get into everything! Nobody else seems to be concerned about this. Personally, I have an abiding hatred of them. This may not seem at first glance to be an issue of pressing importance, but you have obviously never been in the same vicinity as me and a raisin at the same time.
Once a boyfriend of mine offered to get some cake to accompany the afternoon coffee we were enjoying at the time. “Anything particular you’d like?” he asked.
“Oh, anything, as long as it doesn’t have raisins,” I blithely replied. Said boyfriend already knew of my intense raisin aversion, but you never can be too careful so I made sure to remind him before any cake was purchased. Trying to head the raisins off at the pass, as it were.
A few minutes later he returned bearing an innocently self-congratulatory look and a plate of tea cakes. Tea cakes that were rife with raisins. One look at my face and he knew instantly that a raisin-related doom clouded his immediate future. A friend witnessed this episode and ever after referred to it as Raisingate.
Similarly, there was the Incident with the Mince Pies. Being American I was unfamiliar with the raisin rampage that overtakes Britain during the Christmas season. It may be a bit early yet to mention that festive time of year, but now that September is nigh upon us Christmas decorations and foods will begin to appear in shops. Only a few at first, but by the middle of October Christmas displays will be in full swing—complete with all manner of raisin-laced treats. I knew mince pies were a particular Christmas treat of the British Isles but I was ignorant of their contents, thus I was very excited to try one for the first time when I arrived here four years ago. I imagined cinnamon, sugar, and maybe some orange peel under the cheery pastry top of my first mince pie. The look on my face as I bit into it caused my companion to double over with laughter. “This is FULL OF RAISINS!” I gasped in horror.
“What did you think was in them?” she asked.
I paused. “Christmas-y goodness?”
To be fair, it isn’t so much the raisins themselves that I abhor so. I could eat maybe four or five of their shrivelled little forms before the Raisin Rage descends. What I actually hate, rather, is their sneaking, furtive habit of invading all foodstuffs, there to be unearthed at the most unexpected times.
In the world of confectionary one is all too apt to find that whatever delightful treat one has been anticipating has been invaded by this raisin scourge. Carrot cake, sticky toffee pudding, mince pies. It’s no longer confined to sweets; they’ve now made their way into savoury goods. Pizza Express currently features a pizza with raisins—pizza with raisins! If that isn’t evidence of this veritable raisin infestation, I don’t know what is. (And woe to ye who suggest that a sultana is not the same thing as a raisin. They are both desiccated, shrunken, humiliated products of the same type of fruit. It’s only the colour that distinguishes them. Where I come from, there’s no need to glorify this particular division of the raisin family with a special name, they are known plainly as white raisins.)
What can be done about this profusion of raisins? Nothing, of course, since no one else shares my fervent concern. I stand alone in my constant vigilance against this expansionist raisin conspiracy. Beware the raisin. Beware.