Every time I visit my parents I am plunged back into a longing for the food I grew up with. But unlike many people who love food, I did not grow up picking blackberries and making crumbles with mother. I have no happy memories of licking the cake mix off the spoon or shelling peas while lambs gambolled happily in the next field.
Instead, I grew up on Birdseye fish fingers, value beefburgers, Wall’s sausages, Pot Noodles, plastic supermarket sliced bread and tinned macaroni cheese. And there’s absolutely no denying it – I still love them.
I know the sausages are made of lips and arseholes. I know macaroni cheese really shouldn’t be mushy. I know Pot Noodles probably have the power to actually physically leech goodness out of your body and replace it with salt. Which is why I never get to eat them nowadays. But every now and again, just once or twice a year, I’d like to sling proper food forth and binge on microwave chips and Bernard Matthews turkey drummers (the reformed meat “chopped and shaped for your convenience”). I want spaghetti hoops and individual cheese and tomato pizzas and tinned rice pudding for afters.
And so sometimes I do. Not often, mind. But when your dad offers you fish fingers and chips for tea, you just shouldn’t say no.