Retro Food Week

It’s Retro Food Week, folks!!  That’s not a national thing, it’s just in our house.  A silly scheme my hubby and I have come up with.  Because we can!  Because we’re Rock ’n‘(Arctic) Roll like that.

Our inspiration was a recent Hairy Bikers show (I love the Hairy Bikers – and, as an aside, their Mulligatawny soup recipe is something else), in which they paid homage to 1970s cuisine, cooking up classics such as Chicken Kiev and Beef Wellington with a modern twist.  It got me all nostalgic.

Although this was a 70s-themed episode, I vividly remember such menus in the 80s, particularly on our holidays in Guernsey and at Berni Inns.

For starters there was the inevitable agonising choice between prawn cocktail, melon balls, a wedge of grapefruit with a cherry on top, or fruit juice.  Fruit juice!!  What was that all about?  A tiny glass of orange, grapefruit or tomato juice presented on a saucer, not as a drink to accompany the meal but an hors d’oeuvre, a prelude to the steak au poivre (with onion rings!) or coq au vin.

While we’re on the subject, this was the era of pretentiously bestowing dishes with French names to make them appear exotic.  “Oh, it’s not a cake, it’s a gateau.  Not a stew, but boeuf bourgignonne.”  Nowadays we are cynical enough not to be blindly impressed by trumped-up foreign titles.

When I was a kid, my idea of a heavenly meal involved fish in sauce with croquette potatoes, followed by the aforementioned Arctic Roll.  Or maybe fish fingers, with Angel Delight for dessert.  A Saturday night treat for our family would be smoked kippers and lashings of bread and butter in front of The Generation Game.

Forming rude words out of Alphabetti Spaghetti whiled away a few hours too.  I loved spaghetti hoops on toast, and embarrassingly I was well into my teens before I twigged that spaghetti was pasta and not a tomato sauce-drenched invention that came out of a tin!

One thing I drew the line at was Cadbury’s Smash.  Whilst I enjoyed the humorous adverts, featuring Zippy-esque aliens, when I was a tot, I was never a fan of the product and am perfectly able to peel a potato and cook it for “20 of my minutes.”  Actually these days I tend to avoid ready meals and “convenience” foods in general.  I am a big fan of home cooking.

Having said that, on the shopping list this week are Neapolitan ice cream, fish fingers, spaghetti hoops and Arctic Roll (which these days is known as ice cream roll but it’s essentially the same product).  I shall also be rustling up prawn cocktail, coq au vin and chocolate gateau.

Bring on the 80s…

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