King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Tuesday, October 21

Culinary Nostalgia

Isn't it amazing how things have changed to what we now feed our kids? When I was a child I was fed all sorts of things that are either very different or not even available nowadays, and yet some things that were a treat are now very common place.
Quite often, especially in half terms, my mother wouldn't want to cook much at lunchtime. This meant that the obligatory can of Heinz Tomato Soup would be heated in a saucepan (no microwaves here) and served with two triangles of buttered mother's pride. Other days if I was left alone in the house, lunch would be left on a plate for me. Something like some cold meats, a couple of silverskin pickled onions, a few full size cheddar biscuits and maybe a packet of salt and shake crisps. This would all be washed down with a plastic cup of some brand (maybe Robinsons, BLS might help me out here?) Orange squash. No fizzy pop here.
Evening meals, or 'tea' in my house, would consist of the staple meat and two veg. One of the veg, admittedly, would almost always be chips, made of chunks (instead of chip shaped chips) of potato deep fried after soaking in a bowl of cold water all day. We'd also have the sides of baked beans (always Heinz) or Bird's Eye garden peas which haven't changed at all, except for the old pervert on the plastic bag.
The main feature would be something like Cheese Triangles. I was describing these to someone recently, and they looked at me as if I was lying. They weren't the Dairylea fare of today, oh no. These triangles were made of potato (I think) and processed cheese inside, and all covered with yummy breadcrumbs. I don't know what happened to them, probably culled in some massive e-number revolution. We'd also have pork or lamb chops, something I'd eat the 'medallion' of meat at one end, and the dog would be treated to the rest of the thick wadge of fat left behind. My mother would insist that "it's the best bit," but no amount of persuasion would have me eating it.
Sometimes the chip pan would lay dorment, as my mother would make Spaghetti Bolognaise or Beef in Beer Casserole. Every Friday night would be a McDonald's night, where we'd get either a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder and 'big chips,' and a root beer. All in all, a good wholesome diet.
Puddings would consist of straight from the freezer mousses, or that 70s wonder loaded with sugar and bad-for-you chemicals, Angel Delight. In the summer we'd get the ice cream with cornets, and later on we'd also get "Ice Magic," a chocolate sauce that would harden. There was a myth that someone drank it neat from the bottle, and died from the hardened chocolate that formed in the stomach.
Of course, the main dietary requirement of any 9 year old was sweets. BLS and I were very diverse in our choices. We went through Sesame Snaps from Safeway's in South Norwood, and packets of Jelly where we'd bite a chunk off and chew away on the gelatinous mass for 10 minutes. Chewing gum was a strict taboo in our house, but when we were away we'd treat ourselves to Bazooka Bubblegum (two would make me gag) or Curly Wurlys that it was proven were bigger in the 70s when they got an original wrapper for an episode of Life on Mars recently.
The other main treat in our life was the only fizzy drinks we'd have. Except for the McDonalds, we'd only have coke in a pub, and maybe a bag of crisps. This changed to Blackcurrant and Lemonade later on, in the search for a sugar fix.
Our trips abroad would be punctuated with breakfasts involving croissant or pastries like Belgian Waffles and drinks would be cans of Lipton Ice Tea or cups of Perrier, or maybe supersize(500ml) cans of coke. This was done because we hadn't seen them before, and the novelty was the value. I can now pop down to my local supermarket and buy most of these things.
Oh how things have changed.