Thursday, 10 February 2011

Oil, Oil everywhere and not a drop to saponify...

It is a little after 1am I have the dream. Every night it is the same; I am jolted away from a fractured unconsciousness into a frenzied state of alacrity – Kate tries to comfort me and all the while, I silently mouth two words again and again “Coconut Oil”

Coconut Oil: it is what drives a soap maker, what gives a bar its lustre – without Coconut Oil a bar will not lather luxuriously; it will not be as durable a bar. In short, soap without this oil is simply not the best soap it can be; it is a pale facsimile, a sweet smelling lump of matter pretending to be hygiene product… an abomination.

In my dream I am a man of wealth and means, it is my simple desire to buy 12.5 kg lumps of coconut oil fairly and without deceit. Now, since its invention some 5000 years ago, money has allowed transactions like this to take place thousands upon thousands of times a day simply and without occurrence. However, in my dream I walk the labyrinthine streets of Manchester searching for this product – I am turned away from supermarkets (Asian and domestic), met with blank faces when I ask about kitchen suppliers at restaurants (Asian and domestic) and internet resources quote astounding prices; prices that make you forget that this is a simple compound that’s formed by hitting coconuts with hammers – there are loads of coconuts in the world and there is no shortage of hammers either… why the price disparity?

What compounds my dreams is that most mornings I get out of bed only to find the nightmare world and the material world have colluded and there is, in fact, no reasonably priced coconut oil to be found in all the land.

People sympathise; they advise me to search on the internet, seemingly mistaking me as someone who comes from the past who hasn’t heard of the internet. Unfortunately, it is what it is; the rather blinkered tone of this blog is endemic of a wider problem: food prices are up with bread, wheat and oils all being affected by a poor global harvest – I suppose in the face of this, two soap maker’s problems don’t add up to a hill of beans in this crazy world but really… £30 for 12.5 kg? Really?

Daniel Burt

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