{24/01/2012}   Childhood Food Memories

Leftovers curry with apples, sultanas and banana slices on the side.  I believe it was surrounded by a moat of rice.  I wasn’t a big fan.  But I really quite fancy recreating it one day.  I reminded my mum of it recently and she declared that was the way to make curry and that she’d had it for lunch at an (older) friend’s house for lunch recently.  I recall only once eating more conventional Indian food with mum.  I’m surprised she didn’t ask for a side of bananas!

My mum was amazing, she made pretty much everything, including puddings.  So a ready meal was actually a luxury to me.  My favourite used to be Vesta chow mein.  I remember not liking it hugely because it was very salty but those crispy fried noodles, I LOVED THEM!

I only ever had a Viennetta at a friend’s house.  She wasn’t at all excited as that was her usual pudding, but for me this was truly the height of sophistication.

We would regularly have steamed ginger pudding, lemon meringue pie, various fruit pies and crumbles, Dorset apple cake (didn’t like that, it was hard and dense), my favourite, lemon layer cake (known as lemon surprise to others, the surprise being the delightfully runny, lemony bit hidden below the sponge), treacle tart and baked apples (bit boring).  I didn’t appreciate the time and effort that went into creating homemade meals every night.

As for dinners, one thing I really disliked was (as I remember it) dry slices of leftover chicken with lemon juice and coated in breadcrumbs and fried.  Always dry and made me cough.

I didn’t like vegetables, but mum always got them on my plate and usually hid them under cheese sauce because I actually liked that.  I believe a few vegetables got consumed this way.  I think I objected most to spinach under the cheese sauce.

We hardly ever ate out, only special occasions.  I have extremely fond memories of dad driving us to Hyde Park, where we parked, under some trees in the midst of the park, and walked to Harrod’s.  We would look at the food hall in wonder and mum loved going to the sale and the Christmas shop.  We would then go through an alleyway that led between the park and Harrod’s.  There we would have take away sandwiches, the fillings chosen from bowls or tubs behind the counter.  We would pretty much always have packed lunches so this was a massive excitement.  I eat out quite a lot now.  As a rule it’s for going out purposes or if I’m out and get hungry so need fuel.  I often feel guilty about how much I spend/waste on eating out.  I also wish I still felt like it was a treat, which is what it should be.

Another treat, interestingly one that was Folkestone-based, where I now live, was to go to Garfunkel’s for a salad bar buffet lunch.  I guess it must’ve been what is now the Garfunkel’s chain but it didn’t seem like a chain then, and it probably wasn’t on a grand scale.  Can you imagine how exciting it was to not only eat out, but eat as much as you possibly could?!  Then it went down hill, then it was taken over and we never went again.

The final food memory I think I will share is to explain why childhood escapades led to my enormous dislike of sweetcorn.  One day I was “made” to eat sweetcorn with my dinner.  I didn’t like it.  So I swallowed the pieces whole so as to minimise tasting it.  I had a friend round, we ended up under the dining table (because that was a funny thing to do).  I then laughed so much that I was sick.  You can probably see where this is going.  All I remember is being in great discomfort as pellets of sweetcorn were forced out of my nostrils (and my mouth) as I was violently sick.  My vomit was a pool of dinnery fluid with chunks of whole sweetcorn and my nostrils were sore!  I have never been able to get rid of that memory, or even dulled it with the passing of time!


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