Saturday, May 2, 2015

Island Paradise: The Vesta Chow Mein Shortage of 2015

In February, I was listening to BBC Radio Orkney's Bruck Program.

For the uninitiated, the Bruck Program is a sort of unique Radio Orkney offering that originated as a venue for "swaps and appeals" - e.g., islanders requesting surplus goods, or offering them up for collection or trade. It's the sort of thing that only a remote place like Orkney, which must make the utmost use of its local resources, could come up with. The Bruck Program has grown to include music and interviews about a variety of topics of general interest. I've even been interviewed for it a couple of times! Radio Orkney has a variety of great evening programs during the Winter season (including Whassigo, about which I've written before), and Bruck is their general interest program.

Anyway, on February 9th, BBC Radio Orkney power-hitters Dave and Andrew hosted the program, and Dave began to randomly wax eloquent about Vesta Chow Mein, which he remembered from his younger years and hadn't seen in a great long while. Within minutes, Dave and Andrew received multiple E-mails and phone calls informing them of various vendors throughout Orkney (including William Shearer in Kirkwall!) where Vesta Chow Mein could be obtained. One intrepid listener even showed up with a package of it!
(Dave) Last night's Bruck discussion about Vesta Chow Mein attracted dozens of phonecalls from folk confirming that it was still available and where it was possible to get it. It was something that I remember from when I was peedie and we used to have it as a bit of an exotic treat for tea. The other night I just took a 'gee' to have a Vesta Chow Mein for tea but couldn't find it anywhere so mentioned it on Bruck last night. Lots of Radio Orkney listeners phoned in to point me in the right direction for where it could be found but Neetie Rorie went one better (see pic). Thank you very much to all the folk who phoned in and thanks to Neetie for coming in with my dinner :) Note from BBC lawyer - Other 1970's reconstituted Chinese inspired ready meals may well be available.
I ran a Google Image query for "vesta chow mein", and found some photoshopped goodness: a package of "Vesta Squirrel Curry", pictured above. As I began writing this post, I reached out on Facebook to Gray 1, a fellow BBC Radio Orkney aficionado. I posted the picture to his timeline and asked, "Hungry?", to which he replied: "I prefer Vesta Possum Paella but a free meal is a free meal."

And then, Andrew played a song that will appear in the next edition of The Songs That Remind You!

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