The fries I ordered tonight were served with ketchup. This will have pleased Nelson Peltz, a member of the board at Heinz who today explained to me the problems faced by the ketchup manufacturer. ” We are in almost every pantry in America” he told the spring meeting of the Council of Institutional Investors ” but people only put ketchup on their fries thirty percent of the time. Our problem is not market share but market usage” It will not have pleased Nelson that I asked for mustard: I am considering buying shares in Colman’s, now owned by Unilever, or Grey Poupon, owned by Kraft. Based on Nelson’s figures, it would be a mistake to invest in Worcestershire Sauce, still owned by Lea and Perrins. Angoustura Bitters and Horseradish are probably also foolish investments, judging by the gnarly state of the bottles and jars in the Blarney fridge.
I ordered the fries because my Farmer’s Salad tonight consisted only of arugula and so I was hungry when I finished the bowl. Sure, there were scrapings of pinenuts, butternut squash, goats cheese and pomegranate seeds but, as the waitress admitted, the kitchen had been rather taken by surprise by the number of Monday night diners seeking salad and choosing to eat in the open air. My bowl of gangly greens arrived after I had sat for 30 minutes hoping to attract the waitress’ s attention, and then another thirty minutes waiting for the salad to show. I waited an additional 30 minutes for my order of fries. ” Can I have one?” pleaded one of the men at the next table once they arrived ” we’ve been waiting for ages” I even offered him my ketchup.