I ate the 80s

Retro Food Week was a great success in our household!

My hubby and I have been on a nostalgic journey through childhood gastronomy.

Arctic Roll was a scrumptious throwback. It had been almost 30 years since I last bit into an Arctic Roll, and I am delighted to say time had not diminished its sweetness. I recalled how as a nipper I would always chomp the sponge first, then scrape the raspberry jam off the ice cream, then finally devour said vanilla ice cream at the centre of the wheel.

We enjoyed Alphabetti Spaghetti for breakfast one morning, childishly spelling out our names on the toast. It was pure baby food: soft, simple and tasty. I was transported straight back to lunchtimes watching Rainbow with a tray on my knee.

Neapolitan ice cream was another delight. Thankfully this tricoloured dessert comes in user-friendly tubs these days, as opposed to the impractical cardboard blocks that used to house it in the 80s. What was the point of those cardboard containers anyway? They would never fold back together properly, used to get all sticky, and the ice cream would slither out of them. Was there ever a receptacle more unsuited to its purpose?

Ice cream is pure comfort food to me. Mum would feed it to me when I suffered from sore throats as a tot – until my tonsils were whipped out at the age of four – and I remember its soothing qualities.

As with the Arctic Roll, I recalled a kiddie ritual I had forgotten all about: I used to eat the chocolate Neapolitan stripe first, then the vanilla, then my favourite, the strawberry. I had some peculiar foodie routines back then. I used to eat all my fish before my chips too.

My coq au vin (steady!) was absolutely delicious, if I say so myself, though I chickened (no pun intended) out of making a chocolate gateau for pudding and indulged in a frozen Tesco beauty.

These 80s dinners set us both reminiscing about Angel Delight, Fish & Chips crisps, Ice Magic, Walls Vienetta and the like. And what about Slush Puppies, those radioactively-coloured ice drinks inexplicably sold over the reception desks in leisure centres? A nice E number-laden beverage to quench the thirst after a swimming lesson. The raspberry flavour was blue, for some reason (never quite understood that).

So viva the 80s – the decade of garishly artificial colours, cod-French names, cod in sauce and inventive food that was just FUN, something often lacking from plates these days!


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