Sunday, 28 February 2016

Those wonderful days (part 1)

It's all coming back to me now, with its nauseating odour and chemical-crammed contents, all to be found in a foil sachet which looked like something astronauts took with them whenever they went on another mission in space.

I am talking about that wonderful culinary creation of the seventies - Vesta boil-in-the-bag curry - which was a regular Saturday night feature back when I was growing up.

Sold in dehydrated form, this beef curry was about as good as it got if you were looking for exotic food to eat in, when you couldn't be bothered to get off your arse and get a takeaway from your local Indian restaurant.

I can still see the powder being poured into the saucepan, before water was added, to create before my eyes that wonderful stodge, which was as curry-like as your imagination could make it seem.

Vesta ruled the kitchen back then, when this was all that was needed to give us some much needed feel-good factor, in a time when life was grim and all was not wonderful in the garden.

This magnificent meal could have ruled for a thousand years, if it had not been knocked of its perch by that other example of haute cuisine, the Pot Noodle. Another dehydrated dog's dinner, this time brought to life by pouring boiling water directly over the chemicals which were contained in a plastic pot. After a good stir, before one's eyes came to life another Saturday night classic, to be consumed in one's favourite armchair, whilst watching Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game on BBC1.

But how many times, as we got halfway through eating our Pot Noodle, were we alarmed to find that no matter how hard we had mixed in the boiling water, there always remained lumps of powder concealed in the plastic pot? End of Pot Noodle, we said, as we put the uneaten remains in the bin, knowing that a starving dog would think twice about eating this rubbish.

Oh what fun we had mixing powder with water on a Saturday night, in the name of cooking. Fun these foods were to prepare, but unfunny is the fact that we actually ate this stuff.

Still, the chemicals never did me any harm, but for a decent curry these days, nothing can beat a chicken vindaloo from your local indian restaurant.


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