A gentrified Edinburgh suburb. Wednesday AM. With a soft plop, a package drops through the letter box and skids to a halt on the wooden floor. Squatting to pick it up, a woman inspects the label before waving the package aloft triumphantly.
“Ner ner na ner ner, I’ve got my graze box!” she proclaims in the general direction of her boyfriend who is drying himself in the shower.
Graze boxes – sorry, graze boxes (“We don’t do capitals man, they’re like so not chill”) – are clever contraptions designed to mitigate middle class guilt. No time for lunch between meetings? That’s OK – just pop a treat from your graze box. It’s completely healthy and full of complex carbs that release slow-burn energy to keep you fuelled for longer. Nature delivered to your door. Guilt-free snacks for the image-obsessed generation. Or “Faggotry” as my mate Ravi calls it.
“I’ve got some cookies and cream, some Thai rice crackers, some Moroccan olives and some popcorn,” continues the jubilant woman.
She’s jubilant because her graze box has arrived, but she’s also jubilant because her partner’s hasn’t. Graze boxes are supposed to be eaten as healthy snacks between meals, but mine usually gets eaten as a meal because it’s the only food I have in the flat.
Yes, I am that much of a douche. And yes, I am that impoverished. My £3.89 graze box serves as my emergency rations. Wednesday’s mail is Wednesday’s dinner.
Not this Wednesday though. My graze box hasn’t been despatched due to insufficient funds in my account. This is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence.
Reading my mind from the other side of the bathroom door, my girlfriend pipes up: “You eat anything out my graze box and I’ll fucking kill you!”
My girlfriend (‘princess’) is in high spirits today. She’s just gotten home from her abs class and is brimming with endorphins. I get dressed and bustle about the kitchen making breakfast. The water is taking forever to boil. Eventually, it dawns on me that the cooker is switched off. I curse and princess bursts out laughing.
“Aw, you getting trolled? Ha ha. Serves you right. You troll everyone else all the time.”
She does have a point.
I switch on the cooker and crack a couple of eggs into the pan. As I watch them drift amorphously, a plan begins to form. My girlfriend loves being healthy. When she’s not grazing on the sort of snacks that come in a Pringles can, princess is a ball of calorie-burning energy. In spite of being small, skinny and generally The Complete Opposite of a Ham Beast, she’s always banging on about her ‘chub’ and the need to lose ‘love handles’.
Well this’ll help her achieve those fitness goals. I’m going to pimp her graze box. I’m going to treat her to the healthiest box ever conceived – one that will kill stone dead the desire to snack between meals.
Princess clips in her headphones, grabs a bottle of water and heads out the door. Three hours ago she was doing crunches at the gym. Now she’s off for a run round the park – leaving me alone with her graze box.
Abs class? 5k run? New improved graze box? This could be her healthiest day ever. I wait a couple of minutes before walking through to the bedroom and picking up the biodegradable box lying on the bed. It’s time to get to work.
Pimp my box
- Out go the cookies & cream (mini cookies, white chocolate, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds). In goes a pack of Knorr chicken stock cubes.
- Out goes the tom yum yum (spicy Thai rice crackers with aromatic kaffir lime leaves). In go a handful of teabags.
- Out go the Moroccan harissa pitted beldi olives. In go a bunch of carrot slices. I make a point of cutting these neatly so they look as appetising as possible. If I do a good job on the presentation, she might even think they were part of the order sent by graze.
In my eagerness to pimp the graze box, I burn my bagel and overpoach the eggs, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a small price to pay for treating princess to the healthiest day ever.
After feng shui-ing her food, I stash the original snacks at the back of the cupboard and return the graze box to the bed.
Then I wait.
As the buzzer goes and I open the door to a squeak from princess, I feel a pang of guilt at the dent that’s about to be punched into her perfect day. Swapping out the contents of a snack box may not seem like a big deal, but I suspect princess won’t see it that way. Still, it serves her right for bragging about her graze box and ridiculing me for getting trolled by a cooker.
She puts down her iPod and wanders through to the bedroom, leaving me to contain my sides in the living room as I await the moment of truth.
“Get to fuck! You little fuck! AAAAAARGGH!!!”
Princess comes running through and hurls herself at me. “You dick! Tell me where it is!”
“In my bel-bel” I say, pointing to my stomach. (This is how couples talk after they’ve been together for a while.)
“Anon you wouldn’t be so stupid to do a thing like that” she scolds before running into the kitchen and flinging open cupboards.
“Anon, give me my fucking graze box. Now!”
She starts punching me on the arm. “I can’t eat bloody stock cubes!”
“Sorry, I was just trying to help,” I protest, fending off the blows. “I thought I’d put in some snacks you’d only be tempted to eat if you were really hungry.”
For some reason, my soothing words fail to appease princess. She hurls the graze box at me and storms off for a shower.
While the hot water works its magic, I return the original snacks to the graze box, because I’m a nice guy really. Besides, she’s been looking after me while I’ve been skint and between flats, and I really don’t wanna get booted out.
Her mood swiftly changes however, as female moods are prone to do, and a moment later a voice calls out from the bedroom: “Baby, can you make me some lunch?”
“Why don’t you try some of those healthy snacks I left out for you?”
“Get to fuck anon.”
It’s at times like these I wonder whether I could do more to be a better boyfriend. And then I think to myself “No, you’re pretty damn perfect the way you are.”
The next day, princess has to go away for the weekend, leaving me alone in the flat. I pour a glass of her fruit juice, plug in her wifi dongle, climb into her bed, open my laptop and write this blog. When it’s done, I survey my work.
Not bad. Now there’s just one thing left to do…
Disclaimer: In spite of what this blog might suggest, my gf’s actually pretty cool. When she left, she even gave me the Moroccan olives from her graze box. I’m lucky to have such a cool girlfriend – a woman so cool she surely won’t get enraged by this piece and phone me up screaming obscenities. R-right?