Food, London

Number 67

I was handed a small, yellow piece of paper with the number 67 printed in black on it. I was told this was my very important raffle ticket for the “Trash and Treasure” Raffle to be held a later on in the night. The school staff was gathered at Ha Ha Bar near Oxford Circus, where most of us tipped back more than a couple glasses of holiday wine. The ‘buffet’ platters were brought out and after searching for some fried nibbles that didn’t include meat, it was decided that my belly would be fuller from wine than food, since there really weren’t any meat free platters.

I forgot about the raffle and dove into plenty of good chats and laughter with the gals — it’s true, I am finally making friends in London. But before I knew it, raffle time had arrived. Everyone gather round the table being laid with the ‘trash and treasure’ for the raffle. There were an assortment of cheesy holiday garb and headgear for the ‘trash’ winners and various ‘treasures’ including champagne, a going out bag (which a man chose, re-gift anyone?), a book voucher and some bread. Yes. That’s right. Bread.

The bright red, velvet santa hat holding the other half of all the yellow printed tickets began its journey to the hands of the various prize pickers. A (this could be one of three people since there are three women with names that begin with an A where I work!) and I were talking about what we would choose if we won. We both decided that we wanted the 50gbp book voucher, even though as I write this I recall my recent escapade at Waterstones and don’t want to be bound to one book seller when choosing my newest reading material. I digress.

Anywhoo, the item of want was snatched up and left on the table were two boxes of special Italian bread that I had no idea how it could compare to such a luxurious book voucher. But alas, it was a treasure and silly me not to understand why. The bright red, velvety santa bag passed overhead and paused beckoning for me to put my hand in and choose the next lucky ‘bread’ winner. I reached in and pulled out…wait for it…NUMBER 67. ‘That’s me! That’s me!’ I heard myself shouting. I was the lucky ‘bread’ winner. I, who have never won a raffle in my life, won a raffle for some special bread.* I thought it was quite funny that I should choose my own number. Someone didn’t as he boooed in my direction. Come on. Where is the Christmas spirit? I didn’t even want the bread. But I took it. Of course.

Ali and I ate this very special bread with our coffee this afternoon. I found it to be more like coffee cake than bread as the top is sprinkled with large bits of sugar and it’s filled with rasins and such. It’s good, but I hope it didn’t cost 50gbp. That would be ridiculous. A ‘treasure’ indeed.

*Italian Bread: Panettone.