Current work: revisions on fairground book
Listening to: Kate Rusby
Reading: next on TBR
Amazing storms yesterday evening – went on ALL evening, so that nixed work time. We watched them as a family, including the dog, and the kids were enjoying counting the seconds between the flash and the bang to see how far away the storm was… until there wasn’t a gap. That spooked them a little, bless.
By the time the thunder had stopped and it was safe to switch on the PC again (I have a surge protector, but I’m paranoid as I happen to know three people whose computers have fried in a storm), it was too late to work, so I was a bit self-indulgent and watched the Supersize programme about the food of the 80s.
This was the decade of my teens/very early 20s, so I remember the trends. They did skip around an awful lot rather than presenting it sequentially through time, but it was fascinating to see how much I remembered. All the different sorts of mineral water (but they missed out the ‘flavoured’ ones such as Sao Rico and Aqua Libra, both of which I loved… or maybe that was early 90s). Double espressos (I shudder when I think how much coffee I used to drink – heart attack city. Nowadays it’s likely to be a skinny latte, maybe once a week if I’m out). Nouvelle cuisine (pretty, but definitely not substantial enough). The rise of the foodie (oooh, now I’m very guilty there, but I really do enjoy experimenting and cooking).
And then there was the processed stuff. Sure, everyone ate microwaved meals at some point, but in general I cooked from scratch – always have done. It doesn’t exactly take a long time to prepare beef in red wine, jacket potatoes and steamed veg. (Maybe I should write a low-maintenance cookery book. Cooking for people who hate spending time in the kitchen. Nope, wouldn’t work, because the kitchen is the heart of my house.)
DH used to like Pot Noodles (WHY? They were so vile – they smelled horrible and they tasted worse). He wouldn’t admit it last night but I suspect he liked Ice Magic, the gloopy chocolate stuff that set hard when it hit the ice cream. (And urrrgh, ice cream that tasted of powder. OK, foodie tendencies out here: we made our own or bought the posh stuff. I am desperate for one of those really posh ice cream makers, but I know how bad I’d be with it.) And Pop Tarts… never tried them because they sounded vile. Potato waffles for breakfast? Eh? Don’t know anyone who did that. (Feel free to confess here…)
I definitely remember 80s dinner parties (that’d be late 80s, after I graduated and when we had our first house – umm, they would’ve been quite foodie, too). And drinking way too much wine. Hilarious to see that Pinot Grigio was trendy back then – I still like it. And Chablis. Oaky chardonnay (ick). Hmm - wasn’t that when Aussie wine made it big over here? But I never, EVER did wine boxes. Didn’t do the cocktail thing either (though I did add Kahlua or Tia Maria to coffee – ohh, how could they forget floater coffees? I had some really posh glasses especially for liqueur coffees). I also remember Archer’s Peach Schnapps being trendy. Don’t think I’d touch it now – too sweet, and post-kids I’m an utter lightweight when it comes to alcohol. Two glasses, and it’s hangover city.
They mentioned ciabatta bread (one of my favourites but I read labels now and it presses too many buttons). And then there was garlic bread. In my second and third year at uni, I was in self-catering accommodation. Someone was always cooking garlic bread (often me, I admit – I’d go to the cinema with my best mates on Mondays and we’d eat at mine either before or after, depending on the time of the film).
Eating out. The programme concentrated on yuppie restaurants. As a student, that kind of stuff was way beyond my means. I remember that Pizzaland was a big treat. And obviously Leicester had wonderful curry houses, so that opened my eyes to a whole new area of food.
They barely touched sweets/candy in the programme, with the exception of Opal Fruits. Matchmakers used to be quite trendy, but I have to confess that this was when I discovered Thornton’s Viennese truffles. And Lindt selection boxes. (DH liked Milk Tray – though he used to remove the hazelnut whirls from a box and scoff them before giving the box to the recipient, i.e. his mother or me. He has better manners now.) I remember that chocolates used to come in really pretty boxes you could re-use…
So what are your big food/drink memories from the 80s?