If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the stain-remover pen and the tongue-cleaner. We asked comedian Romesh Ranganathan — whose book As Good As It Gets: Life Lessons From a Reluctant Adult is out now — about the instant noodles, hair powder, and card game he can’t live without.
Hair powder is something I discovered quite recently. I’ve got really thick hair, and you just can’t put stuff like gel or hair wax in it because you end up looking like a sculpture. If you even touch your hair, your fingers end up greasier than a kebab wrapper. I started using this hair powder — I think a friend showed it to me. You just sprinkle a bit in your hand and run it through your hair, and it gives you a wicked bit of hold, without your hair looking greasy. It’s incredible. The only problem I’d say is that if you apply it liberally, your bathroom can look a bit like you’ve had a “showbiz party,” if you know what I mean.
I’ve got such dark skin that, naturally, it gets really ashy. So it’s important to just stay on top of your moisturising; sometimes I’ll remove a light jacket and my elbows will look like a rhino’s kneecaps. Or, because I often wear cuffed jeans and an ankle sock, I’ll look down and my ankles look like they belong to a different person — they’re just so grey and dry. In fact, I’d say I moisturise my ankles more than anywhere else; they get so much attention. This is partly because my brother once saw them and started giving me the nickname Ashy Ankles, and I didn’t want that to stick, so I made sure I kept applying this stuff. I like the scent, mostly, and I have this on me at all times wherever I go.
I specifically get the curry-flavoured ones, because the sachet of curry seasoning you put in with the noodles is like crack. If they sold the curry sachet by itself, I would buy that and just eat it. But the noodles also taste unbelievable. And the thing is, between me deciding to have Maggi noodles and me actually eating the noodles — that process is about two and a half minutes, max. I think some people take that for granted. But, to me, this is a lovely little lunch. I typically buy them in bulk, like a box of 30 of them, and the best thing is nobody else in my family likes them, so I can have them all myself.
Katherine Ryan actually got me on to this stuff during lockdown — I’d never heard of it before. They’re a company that does different flavours of seasoning that you add onto your own popcorn. Katherine swore by the dill-pickle variety, but that sounded absolutely appalling to me: the thought of pickles on popcorn? Rank. But she said, “Trust me. It’s a game changer.” I ordered it, and when it came, I took a sniff of the bottle. It smelled awful. But I persevered; we had some popcorn one night, I sprinkled some on, and … it was a game changer. Honestly. We also bought the Chile Limón one, which is also absolutely on the same level. Trust me.
I should qualify this choice by saying: They definitely are mega expensive. But I’m really into my music, and the noise-cancelling on these are unbelievable. What takes them to the next level are the external controls, so on the left side, if you want to fast-forward, you just drag your ear across the outside of the headphones. And if someone’s speaking to you, rather than just take your headphones off, you just place your hand over the left side, and it cuts the noise-cancelling element, so you can hear what they’re saying. I just love them, and I’m absolutely distraught if I forget to put them in my bag when I’m going somewhere. I’m no music snob, but the music I listen to is predominantly hip-hop, and you pick up different things in the production when you’re listening on proper headphones.
Our family is addicted to this game. They usually put a new version out every couple of years, and there’s a lot of arguments in our household about what song to put on. I have three boys, the youngest of whom is 6, so there’s a lot of pop and the kind of poppy hip-hop that’s big on TikTok on there, as well as playlists, but our favourite to dance to is the original Ghostbusters theme tune. The best part is, after you’ve done your dancing and you get your score, they show you this high-speed footage of you doing the dance, and it never fails to make us laugh.
Our kids also love this card game at the moment. And there’s a few ways you can play it, but we do it this way: Basically every card has symbols on it, and every card has something in common with every other card. The objective is to figure out what the common theme is, and the quickest person to get it keeps the card. The person with the most cards at the end wins. I just love the fact that it respects age; our 6-year-old was on a real hot streak the other day, but another time, our middle child, Alex, was just on a roll — he could see the patterns before anyone else. Two of my boys do after-school activities on Zoom these days, and so sometimes me, my wife, and our youngest will just go upstairs and play a few rounds while they’re on the laptops.
This is for pouring a pint at home, although my wife is a little bit upset at how much counter space it takes. It’s basically a pub pump on the front, and you put a keg inside of it. It only takes 30 seconds to connect, and it cools your beer to your desired temperature. Each keg lasts about 30 days, and you can buy different kinds of beer for it — I have Golden Goose, but they also do IPAs. We were having a debate about it … Leesa thinks it is making me drink more beer, but I think it’s more effort than just getting a can from the fridge. There’s more steps to it. But it’s constantly on the go; in the evening, I’ll often pour myself a pint and watch Netflix.
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