Christmas is traditionally a period for looking back and unhealthy eating. There seems no better time to recall various unwholesome, even criminal, methods of eating I devised as a child, and some remarkable dishes I created along the way. I apologise in advance.
- Sunday Special K: every Sunday morning, I would dowse my favourite childhood cereal (perhaps I’ve always been middle-aged) in milk, but refuse to finish it until coming home from church. Special K is best enjoyed, it turns out, as soggy mulch, the milk having gained the flavour of the cereal – like it does with Coco Pops, but with a much headier, richer mix of grains. Mm, grains.
Biscuit dissection methods
- Kit Kats: break into two individual fingers; break each individual finger into thirds; handle each sixth one at a time, leaving the middle segments till last; whittle away the lower chocolate edge of each piece using lower front teeth; lick the chocolate away from the wafer stacks, first at the sides, then the bottom and the top (this will take some time); use tongue and teeth to break individual wafers away; after enjoying a wafer, lick away the sugary binding from beneath; within weeks, the whole Kit Kat will be gone.
- Jaffa Cakes; not “full moon; half-moon; total eclipse” (an abominable way of eating Jaffa Cakes and teaching astronomy, as discussed here). Instead, nibble the edges away all round the circle, making sure to leave the centre intact; use tongue to peel chocolate surface away, then separate orange blob from sponge base; lick base of the orange centre clean of sponge remnants; eat the sponge; savour the delicious orange blob.
- Spaghetti or rice: I did bad things with ketchup. Worst of all was my insistence on having a plate of plain spaghetti or rice for tea (Bolognese or chilli spoiled the pure texture), which I would then submerge in Heinz ketchup (far more than in the photo below), mixing thoroughly before eating. Looking back, I feel mystified social services never got involved.
- Ketchup sandwiches: first tried these when we ran out of turkey/ham slices one weekend – normally I’d have these with ketchup as an addition, but it turned out the ketchup was actually the main flavour I was after all along.
- BLT: had my first one of these in Year 5 and became hooked (also my first encounter with mayonnaise). One day I found we didn’t have any bacon or tomato in the fridge, so I made a sandwich with just lettuce and mayonnaise. I decided that would do, and the habit of eating them, lasted for several weeks in Year 6.
- ChuckleVision: an episode showed one brother eating a corn flake sandwich, which I tried to replicate, having not got that it was a joke. (It didn’t work.) The episode also showed the other brother trying to eat a whole apple in a sandwich. I realised this was a joke, but nonetheless tried a sandwich filled with sliced apple. Worse than the corn flakes. (Incidentally, as well as refusing to eat sandwich crusts, I would also refuse to eat apple skin for many years, picking pieces of skin out of my mouth and putting them back in my lunchbox; I compensate in adulthood by eating the skin and the core).
- Rich tea sandwiches: a return to biscuits, but I’ve categorised it here so it can serve as a grand finale, because it is the worst thing I have ever done. Enthused by custard creams and bourbons, I tried to create a rich tea equivalent when I was 10 or 11 years old. Chewing up a rich tea thoroughly, I would then spew this out onto a fresh rich tea, then put another rich tea firmly on top. The pressure pushed the rich tea-saliva fondant to the very edge, and I then ate the finished biscuit. Recounting this over the last few years has genuinely lost me two friends, and I agree with them.
Please once again accept my deepest apologies.