Asda Hollingbury has a delicatessen counter. At the deli counter, they offer low-grade chicken cooked in a variety of sauces, at a fraction of the price of a sandwich or similar snack. As such their hot counter has become something of a lunchtime altar, where workers from around Hollingbury come for their 47p Reggae Reggae chicken thighs.
Today, to the shock and dismay of the devout, Asda failed to provide. The bags – apparently critically important to the smooth dispensation of chicken – had not arrived for two days. As such, the chicken counter stood empty and bare, with its normally bustling workforce stood forlornly in front of cold ovens.
We live in a consumer age, however. The congregation swiftly chose another aisle of enquiry, and at the ‘ready meals’ section there was umming and ahhing but, ultimately, we all found a suitable substitute.
I chose, from the Meal for One range, Cumberland Pie. Cumberland pie is a traditioal English dish, a pie consisting of three layers – beef, mashed potato, and a topping of cheesey breadcrumbs. It shares heritage with the cottage pie. The Asda example boasts “tender minced British beef in a rich onion gravy, topped with maris piper buttery mashed potato and a crispy cheddar cheese crumb”.
It was not unpleasant. The mashed potato floats as a sort of raft on a largely meaty gravy, without much onion or flavour but without any actually offensive content. There were a surprising number of carrot batons amongst the meat, and these had absorbed the “rich onion gravy” quite thoroughly. Beneath the stodgy meat lurked a slimy layer of congealed instant mash powder. On top of the characterless potato sat a layer of cheese, which offered a pleasant (if artificial) salty flavour that complimented the meat below perfectly.
The Asda Cumberland Pie Meal for One does not scrimp on nutrition, either. With 15.5 grams of saturated fat, the small tub I have just eaten represents 78% of my recommended daily allowance. It also contains 47% of my daily allowance of salt (2.8g) and 38% of my allowance of fat (26.8g). It provided me with 626 calories.
I’d give the meal two stars out of a possible five.