Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - Forward to the past

By guest blogger Pete.

I read a newspaper article the other day that maintained nostalgia was not only alive but actually thriving in ways that are more than a little surprising. This renewed nostalgia takes the form of not only reminiscing about life in the past but brings the tastes of the past back to life through the introduction of food from past days. I thought that if the food in mind was fat soaked cholesterol ridden chips then our local chip shop is about to make a fortune because that is their specialty. However, the revival of nostalgic food doesn't embrace fat sodden cholesterol ridden chips.

Pam and I first noticed this reverting to food from the 70s a few weeks ago. There in the supermarket freezer was "ARCTIC ROLL"!!!!!! Some friends of ours had been reminiscing (you wait until you're a CRINKLY!!!!) , and this particular product was mentioned. There it was before our eyes. In a sudden rush of blood to the head we brought two - one for them and one for us. I'm sure that in the supposedly "good old days" a firm called Walls made "Arctic Rolls" but these before our eyes were produced by Nestle. For those of tender years or who have been unfortunate enough to spend their lives away from the U.K., an Arctic Roll is a tube of ice cream surrounded by a thin layer of sponge. Why such a concoction should then be called "Arctic Roll" escapes me but then I suppose it had to be called something. Even in the prime of my 3rd decade, though, I always thought the ice cream was spoiled by the layer of sponge and when we tried our sample a few weeks ago I saw no reason to revise my opinion.

I can remember how my mother was addicted to making me mustard sandwiches. It's not that I had unusual taste buds that responded unnaturally to "Arctic Rolls, chips, jelly, trifle, etc. etc.. I think my mother's addiction to filling me up with mustard sandwiches was brought about by the fact that they were cheap to produce. She thought that they were just the thing for a growing teenage lad. When ever I complained about this staple diet I was invariably told, " we can't afford anything else so try imaging you've got a slice of ham in there as well. There are plenty of boys your age who would love to eat them". I wish I could have found those boys; I'd have kept them happy for years.

If you are of a nervous disposition or are medically trained then turn away at this point, look at the pictures but read no more. My mother also thought that another essential for growing teenage boys was slices of pork dripping (on a good day we'd have beef dripping!) with a liberal sprinkling of salt to bring out the flavour. I must confess that, although I preferred them to mustard sandwiches, dripping slices never became the sort of delicacy that I have hankered for since; nor were bacon rashers that were 90% fat hiding 5% lean and boasting 5% rind. Oh, the "good old days"!

I'll remind you of some more nostalgic joys next week so keep on eating the lettuce.


florcita said...

Hahaha you made me laugh! Good thing Im argentinean and we didn't get to those english delicacies! ahahah And I am deeply sorry for the fact that you got to eat that canned mashed up beef...thing...which we exported (because we didn' t eat in a million years!).
I think the revival for old foods (and I would go way back, before the 70s) maybe has to do with a general tiredness for all the fast food in growing, dyeing and coming to our tables.... with no taste at all. And the fast food from chains too...
Maybe paired with the "grow your own food" movements (or slow food movements), people turn to granny's recipe book. Im not going to go back to victorian times... or eat pork dripping...all yours. But I do join in the will to eat better, healthier and yummier products... even with mustard. :)
Always like reading your posts. Sometimes I just don't have the time to comment!

PeterB said...

Thanks for your comment, Florcita. Interesting to know that you wouldn't eat dripping even though you produced so much.
Very wise of you.