..this little book is likely to recall memories - good & bad - of a certain era!
And measuring in around 20 cm x 13.5 cm it is a much smaller book than I was expecting, but delivers a lot in its 128 quality shiny pages, with illustrations throughout. The contents list at the front of the book doubles up as the index and the products appear, in no particular order, as far as I can see! Averaging two pages, each tells a story, and is accompanied by a 'Marks out of 10' table, divided into three categories:
* Trolley Embarrassment Factor
The 2-page introduction from the authors sets out the stall and hints at the odd disagreement amidst the harmony as the pair debate the various foods and ultimately suggest that 'we forget about fusion food and tuck into a nostalgic British feast instead. It's your family history - on a plate.'
With the 'look inside' facility above, one gets a real feel for this book where all the comfort foods from the 60's and 70's mingle, with everything from a bottle of CAMP COFFEE to a tin of SPAM, with a packet of SMASH in between!
Talking of the latter - as I mess around with the various gadgets cluttering up my cupboards and drawers in my quest to obtain a consistent lump-free mash - those irritating Martians from that TV advert spring to mind! Not surprisingly, there is one of them grinning out at me on page 15 of this book!
Even worse.....not only has this now powder ingredient been given a Trolley Embarrassment Factor of 10/10, but the spiel plays out with an added insult:
'....But it still can't quite capture the exquisite taste and texture of the real thing. Were we really so idle 30 years ago that we preferred eating this stuff to wielding a potato-peeler? Maybe re-visiting your culinary past is like sleeping with an 'ex'. Try it again for old times' sake, by all means, but you probably won't want seconds. Some things are best enjoyed in the memory.'
Forget 'cheating at cooking' then - back to the peelers and mashers!
If, after this trip down Memory Lane, you realise that you simply can't live without your:
* Fray Bentos Pie in a Tin
* Rose's Lime Cordial
* Mr Brain's F*ggots
don't despair - most of the 65 products in this book are still there.....in an aisle near you!
Although it might have to be off to a well-known online auction site if you particularly want to find that familiar red & white tin with the gold medal, aka 'Campbell's Condensed Soup'!
If this also comes as a shock, do not despair further!
The soup is still there, allegedly unchanged, under a different guise!
On a personal level, this book certainly brought a smile or two to my face, along with some hastily disguised horror!
I have some ghastly childhood memories of a horribly milky cup of tea, courtesy of 'Carnation Evaporated Milk' - THE key larder ingredient, if the corner shop had run out of fresh milk! My grandparents were also very keen to make a 'lovely' milky jelly concoction with the contents of that same red and white tin. I have always thought that this was a unique pudding invention - a special 'treat' for me. This little book certainly shatters that illusion:
'..We also like to be fully prepared for any unspecified civil emergencies that might require the immediate preparation of an evaporated milk mousse whipped up with a table jelly........'
And as I struggled to keep my pudding in situ, so to speak, as the car wound down the cliff road later the same day, I can honestly say that....despite my career path, I have NEVER EVER (knowingly) touched the stuff again!
All credit to this colourful little book - memories, good and bad, came flooding back on every turn of the page!
That is an achievement!