Food Fads


I was watching a TV programme the other night featuring Jamie Oliver the English celebrated chef. It concentrated on his futile campaign to improve the luncheon diets in English Schools. What an uphill struggle he was having, even to get the class that he had selected to base his efforts on. No way were they prepared to depart from their fast food they considered their norm, even taste the food that he had prepared, was a no no. You would think he was trying to poison the young tykes. We have had in our family, odd members who also have had some very strange fixations with food. One cousin had a regime that was definitely not normal, and caused his family much anguish who worried it could cause him serious harm because with his unhealthy diet. This young man as I remember only ate fried Chips and tomato sauce. Well in spite of all the various families dire predictions, he is still living, well into his seventies and as far as I’m aware, still in reasonable good health which says a lot for tomato sauce and potatoes. I’m also not in a position to say now if he ever expanded his diet to include some regular food. He is not alone in his fetish, as over time we have come across various neighbours and friends who continue to survive on a very restricted food intake. In one case all greens were summarily dismissed as ‘Rabbit Food’. Others their intake could be regarded as exceedingly Bland. Another survived on burnt bacon.


We ourselves have been very fortunate in our life to have met many foreigners in our travels who have introduced us to the many culinary delights that were available in this world. I can remember back in my youth Sunday lunch was predicable with usual cold cuts of either Beef or Mutton, served up with cold Beetroot in a vinegar dressing and mashed potatoes. A lettuce salad cut very fine with a dressing made from condensed milk mustard and vinegar. Maybe a topping of hardboiled eggs and tomato. Looking back on what we considered normal food or diet then was very restricted too. It was very plain, meat and three vegetables but all this was soon to change as the Country opened it’s doors to other races. However as a family we did eat a lot of offal, something few others did.


Now if I spot something new or different while shopping, I just have to buy and try it, with the result have ended up with some very strange encounters with the Checkout Girls. Their lack of knowledge of their product in some cases is surprising. Once I was asked when pushing forward a large green savoy cabbage, ‘What’s that?’ I replied a large green tomato. However I must confess that to date I have never tasted a ripe fig. I did see some for sale recently, but at $29 a kilo, I’m afraid that’s a taste sensation that has been reserved for the future, I will just have to stick with the dried variety. Another surprise is the narrow bank of meats that are eaten by most people. All Offal is out, people today won’t even try it, I’m sure that they are not hungry enough. Our ancestors certainly were, as they found a use for and ate every part of a beast, fish, or fowl. Anyway, back to the Check Out. ‘What’s that’? said she, Holding up a plastic bag of tripe. Being told, Yuck! ‘I wouldn’t eat that’. I replied to her, ‘You do’. Do you like Sausages? On receiving an affirmative reply that she did. I inquired, ‘Do you know why they are known in the trade as Mystery Bags?, ‘Where do you think all the unsold tripe ends up?’


In our town we now have Eastern, Chinese/Japanese Indian, Supermarkets and often I enjoy a browse. The importers are learning too and often there is an English translation on the back of each food item. We now enjoy exotic items such as fish sauce, garlic, and many other foods forty of fifty years ago we wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole. I have to go now and see if my seaweed has dried out,


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