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A shudder ran down my spine . . .
, 28 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Battenberg Britain: A nostalgic tribute to the foods we loved (Hardcover)
What a jolly idea. The patent, factory-made foods we gobbled up before we discovered pesto and the supermarket aisles filled with sustainably-sourced smoked salmon, sourdough bread and organic milk. The yoof of today don't know how spoiled they are.
Now I am not a food snob. I relish the kind of grub the "Hairy Bikers" do; big pies, solid fruit cake, and such like. But this is a real horror story of food. I did enjoy reading it, and all the background information is fascinating, the original adverts bring a smile to the face. It's cleverly written and the "trolley embarassment factor" ratings are sweet. It certainly brought back memories of my childhood; much in the same way that my small brother once "brought back" Heinz Sandwich Spread on a coach outing; a product which as it leaves the jar, already looks and smells like what you take care not to step in on the High Street pavement on a Sunday morning.
And this was my problem. Many of the foods featured - Worcester Sauce is a fantastic recipe dating back to the 18th century, and what's wrong with Golden Syrup, essential ingredient in many cakes and the only "junk food" I know to have a quotation from the Old Testament on the tin, not to mention the great undated Atora Suet without which a steak and kidney pudding would not be pukkah - these are absolutely fine and notable only for their long survival as brands. But for all it's jolly, ironic tone, it did too good a job of conjuring up the worst of those days gone by. In my mind's tastebuds I could taste, only too clearly, the nauseating blend of colourings, artificial flavourings and preservatives which made up 90% of the ingredients of so many of these patent "foods". That night I had a terrible nightmare about Kraft Cheese Slices . . . I do still have Marmite and Worcester Sauce in the larder - both very wholesome in comparison with the vile horror that was toffee-flavoured Angel Delight - but all in all I shan't read the book again. You, of course, may love it, and, as the saying goes, "chacun a son gout".
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