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apshelbourne

Tesco Cassoulet - shun & avoid

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Sorry to bring down the tone of this august forum, especially halfway through Tim's superb review of HB's MG, but I simply had to get this off my chest.

On the way home from work today, I dropped into the local Tesco to pick up a bite for lunch. In the chill cabinet I spotted something described as "Tesco Finest Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet". Reader, I bought it.

Look, I was in a hurry, and I was hungry. OK? Didn't have time to look at the ingredient list. And I'm a cassoulet freak. Love the stuff. Maybe it would be as good as the fancy tins you get in French markets or, at worst, like a supermarket own brand: ponced up beans 'n' saus. Mmm... cassoulet, I mused, homerically.

Got home and heated it up. Well, it didn't smell too appetising - a bit medicinal. But I know that the smell of food, especially pre-prepared, can be misleading. It was. The actual flavour was far, far worse. It was disgusting. Absolutely fecking horrible. I'm sorry, but even the professional food writers who haunt this forum would be lost for words to hint at how utterly, abysmally appalling it was. I'm sure they've never met a dish of such horror in the restaurants they review.

The overall taste was of TCP mouthwash mixed with stock cube. I cannot be more specific or analytical; it was all I could do to keep it in my mouth for two seconds. Slices of mushy sausage floated in a translucent mid-brown glop. The beans were leathery on the outside, mushy within, nestling against pink lardons and lumps of onion and courgette (?!?).

I gave it to the dog. She turned up her nose. My six month old spaniel has a better palate than Tesco's food technologists.

Again, sorry to lower the tone, but if I have saved just one person from going through this ordeal, it will have been worth it.

- Tony -

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Sorry for you troubles.  Did you think that's how they actually meant it to taste - or do you think something had gone wrong at manufacturing or during transportation.

I refuse to believe that something so ghastly in every possible way could be the result of mere accident or random mutation; there has to be a controlling intelligence behind it. Warped and fiendish, but intelligent, I swear.

I eventually summoned the courage to read the ingredient list, and think that "Smoke Flavoured Bacon (11%)" may be the technology behind this WMD.

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thats a load of rubbish - it is exactly the same as all other supermarkets, apart from Waitrose.

Just don't buy ready meals. Or rotisserie chickens. Or bread. Or meat.

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Tesco does seem to nestle somewhere at the scummier end of the supermarket spectrum. Though previous posters are right, knowing what to avoid is key to a happy supermarket shopping experience. Ready meals are the work of old nick himself wherever they come from.

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I cycle to work. If I want to buy food on the way home, I have three possible routes. The first takes me past the Tesco Superstore; the second is via the Tesco Local; the third involves the One-Stop (owned by... guess who?... yes, you got it in one). The Tescoan hegemony is complete on the western side of my town.

And I know I shouldn't buy ready meals - honest. I do try and plan ahead and freeze up remains of curries and casseroles, or make a sandwich with farmhouse Somerset cheddar and that yummy spelt bread that the apocalyptic Christian sect up on the Blackdowns sells at the farmers' market.

But I was tempted by the word "cassoulet". I succumbed and was punished.

- Tony -

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Lucky for you that it was Tesco that shafted you and not the apocalyptic Christians, or you'd really be in trouble now, the kind of trouble that not even egullet could solve.

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Lol, Jon. I don't think they're the sort of sect that hordes munitions and plans to blow up government buildings. OK, they believe we're living in The End Times and that they'll be saved by The Rapture from rule by the Antichrist, but it doesn't seem to interfere with their ability to make the best blueberry muffins in the South West.

But I am doomed, I fear. I am marked with the Number of the Beast. It's on my Tesco loyalty card.

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If it's any consolation, I've never eaten cassoulet from a package, can or bottle that I'd be tempted to buy a second time. In fact, I could put together an instant cassoulet with a can of baked beans, a hot sausage and a barbecued drumstick that would taste better.


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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Tony have you thought about sending that post to Tesco via email or something?

I'd be interested to hear what their reply is!


I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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M&S have a ham hock and toulouse sausage cassoulet in their Gastropub range which looks very tasty.

Tinned cassoulet with nice fatty bits of duck and sausage is one of the wonders for French convenience food. Immeasurably better than our equivalent which I suppose is HP All Day Breakfast*. I stock up whenever I'm over (bit of a pain to lug home though).

J

* Actually All Day Breakfast isn't all that bad at midnite after a couple of pints. I swirl in some mascarpone to enrichen it a bit :raz:


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Tesco does seem to nestle somewhere at the scummier end of the supermarket spectrum. Though previous posters are right, knowing what to avoid is key to a happy supermarket shopping experience. Ready meals are the work of old nick himself wherever they come from.

That's a little too harsh. Tesco's "top end" pepper chicken with naan and lime and chilli rice (if memory serves) is actually pretty acceptable, I think.

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Acceptable to you maybe ;)

Where is the chicken sourced from? Some hellhole battery farm no doubt, not sure that fits my definition of 'acceptable'

But horses for courses, if you want to eat that shit, who am I to say anything :)

(Note: Edited cos I missed the 'S' off courses :))


Edited by fisherman (log)

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Re: Fisherman's reply

The response I'd expect on this site about where chickens are "sourced from" etc etc

Oh if we could all eat poulet de Bresse whenever we chose. (Think, still, of the food miles just for a yellow chicken!)

In that respect, I had my doubts about Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recent endeavour: the economic imperative (low-to-average income parents trying to service their family's needs or even just the basic human attraction to a bargain) tends to trounce the moral imperative most times. That's why Tesco gets richer and more powerful.

Anyway. Surely we shouldn't get too hung up on ready meals. What--are none of us guilty of succumbing now and again?

Maybe not. Maybe you all have haloes.

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I certainly don't have a halo, but I also somehow manage to never eat ready meals or battery raised chicken (and intensively reared pork for that matter) Yes we're all busy, and no, not many of us have quite as much money or time as we'd like to spend on our food, but it's hardly difficult to have some kind of basic standards regarding what we eat.

This site at it's most basic is for people who on some level give a toss about that they eat, quite how that sits with eating ready meals I'm not sure.

You mention the 'Basic human attraction to a bargain' we should never forget that just because something is cheap, that doesn't make it a bargain. Bargains rely on some inherent value in the product. And now you've got me going, since when were ready meals bargains?

As I said in my earlier post 'But horses for courses, if you want to eat that shit, who am I to say anything :)'

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I certainly don't have a halo, but I also somehow manage to never eat ready meals or battery raised chicken (and intensively reared pork for that matter)

I can only assume you never eat at restaurants then.

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Re: Fisherman's reply

The response I'd expect on this site about where chickens are "sourced from" etc etc

Oh if we could all eat poulet de Bresse whenever we chose. (Think, still, of the food miles just for a yellow chicken!)

In that respect, I had my doubts about Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recent endeavour: the economic imperative (low-to-average income parents trying to service their family's needs or even just the basic human attraction to a bargain) tends to trounce the moral imperative most times. That's why Tesco gets richer and more powerful.

Anyway. Surely we shouldn't get too hung up on ready meals. What--are none of us guilty of succumbing now and again?

Maybe not. Maybe you all have haloes.

Spanky – I don’t think anybody was suggesting that we need to eat poulet de Bresse everyday or indeed that we need to “source” products from overseas in general. I for one believe there is a sufficient range of products here in the uk without the need to import from afar.

What I was wanting to point out to apshelbourne was what did he really expect from a cassoulet, from a supermarket and in a tin. Whilst I understand his feelings of temptation (it happens to me every day when I am almost tempted to resist another drink) it was never going to be worth purchasing never mind eating. Forget the quality of the main ingredients for a moment just think of the additives, preservatives and fillers that you would be eating.

Fisherman’s point regarding the 'Basic human attraction to a bargain' strikes a piercing chord, a local market town (Pocklington) has just this week seen the opening of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket, interestingly this is the same supermarket that contracted with a food producer in the aforementioned market town. After a number of years supplying the supermarket Man from Sainsbury’s tells food producer thanks for producing food at x pence but we have found a supplier who can produce at half the price (overseas) Can you match the price?

Food producer : er…. No, not really thinks for a minute and tells them yes because he doesn’t want to make his workforce redundant. 6 months later food producer goes bust everybody in the town hates Sainsbury’s

How many of those people will still hate Sainsbury’s when they have their 2 for 1 offers or 30% special offer etc. Will they think about how Sainsbury’s can do this and still make a profit?  Time will tell.


Edited by David Naylor (log)

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I certainly don't have a halo, but I also somehow manage to never eat ready meals or battery raised chicken (and intensively reared pork for that matter)

I can only assume you never eat at restaurants then.

Of course I do, but I never order chicken or pork unless it's provenance is good.

Lamb and beef are much safer bets for anyone wanting to avoid intensively farmed meat in most restaurants.

It's much easier than most people think exclude such shite from your diet.

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I have done, or currently are doing, work for every supermarket group in this country.

I try not to shop at any of them, except for wine. (Just bought 2 bottles of Aldi Champagne and 2 bottles of Cremant)

I once bought a seafood cocktail from Asda, it was so bad I guess it must have been harvested from just beyond the sewage pipe at Clacton.

Tesco wants to rule the world; they would like us to get paid in Tesco vouchers so that they control every penny of our spending.

I did buy 5 pairs of socks and 3 pairs of pants from Tesco for £10, how do they buy them and sell them at a profit? I hate to think. A friend likes clothes made by children, such delicate little stitches and so cheap.

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But horses for courses,

...though preferably not for microwaveable curry.


Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Finding a dud clearly wasn't that difficult, courtesy of the Evil Empire. But has anyone ever found a decent UK supermarket cassoulet?

I mean of, or close to, the 'proper' version found in SW France with duck confit, Toulouse sausage and pork as the meat ingredients?

I must admit that I haven't tried that hard. Following advice on an earlier thread I stock up on French market days in my local area between trips to France.

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Some (french)tinned cassoulets are pretty good, the process suits the beans. Good ingredients in, good ingredients out. Certainly better than a homemade version with the wrong ingredients and limited understanding.


Edited by muichoi (log)

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