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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Food Perversion That's A Real Turn Off

Today I mentioned on Twitter that I had eaten banana on toast. I am sorry to bring this up, particularly because it will confirm the prejudices of those who think that Twitter is a stream of inanities such as "Just had banana on toast.", or "Off 2 work! LOL!!" or "Cutting up dead bodies is harder than you think." But in the end the need to share my story with the world appears to have gotten the better of me, so here we are.

My tale of banana on toast got quite a reaction I can tell you. Very soon literally* scores** of tweeters were sharing their banana on toast experiences. And there I was at the epicentre of it, like Nigel Slater at a greasy hair convention.

I'd like to be able to say that it was heartwarming and made me go all fuzzy inside, like when I see James McAvoy's forearms, but the truth is I was left rather disturbed by the whole thing. Why? Because of what it revealed about my fellow tweeters' eating habits.

For example, one person responded that they hoped I had put sugar on it. Sugar. On banana on toast. Er, yeah. Great idea. Why not go the whole hog and sprinkle it with DIAMONDS?!

This got me thinking about Great Food Perversions of Our Time. Not obvious perversions like a daylight kebab. No, something much darker which, once discovered, cannot be wished away.

You might be rubbing along quite nicely with some new acquaintance, discovering a shared love of the Doobie Brothers and candlewick dressing gowns, when they mention casually that they put garlic in their carbonara. There's just no coming back from that is there?

Growing up in Scotland the greatest barometer of food perversion was mince, for no two Mums' minces ever taste the same. It is also a truth universally acknowledged that one Mum's mince is another child's nightmare. It is the epicurean equivalent of the "smelly lobby"; that strange smell of "otherness" that hovers on the landings of certain houses not your own and enables you to experience anew the intoxicating, familiar scent of home.

For a child missing home, different foods only add to the heartache. When my Mum was in hospital having my little brother, my elder brother and I were farmed out to neighbours who, very kindly, gave us our tea. I remember well the look of anxious distress in my brother's eyes when we were given spaghetti hoops on toast. " This is all very well, " he whispered, "but where is the meal?"

It was an important milestone in our young lives to realise that not everyone ate oxtail stew with prunes on a regular basis.

I leave you with some of the food perversions which have made a lasting impact on me. I'd love to hear about yours.

When Sweet Turns Sour
Inappropriate sugaring looms large in my food perversions. Sugar on bananas on toast we have already discussed. Sugar on french toast (or "eggy bread" if you must) is another. I am not averse to french toast with, say, a caramelised pear or a wee bit of chocolate sauce, but a naked sprinkle of sugar is prime perversion.

Likewise of course sugar in porridge. If God had wanted you to put sugar in porridge he wouldn't have invented Ricicles.

Tommy Sauce; The Rules
Tomato sauce is acceptable thusly: on burgers, with chips and in macaroni cheese. That's your lot. Tommy Sauce particularly has no place near an egg of any description.

A Has-Bean Friend
I once went on a cottage holiday in the far north west of Scotland with a group of lifelong friends. Those of you who have done this will know that there is nowhere to hide a culinary peccadillo. I could only watch with horror as a woman I had known all my life tipped a tin of baked beans into, yes, you've guessed it, the mince. To say that it caused a rift would be something of an understatement.

Scotch Broth: Barley Making Sense
Scotch Broth without barley is like making love without hot buttered toast. I rest my case.

*by literally I mean not at all literally
**by scores I mean "one or two"


  1. Things that are important to me:

    Meat plus jam: turkey and cranberry, Lamb and mint, moroccan how-d'you-do with random fruit. Is good.

    Bacon sandwich: Must have no tommy k OR HP. Sauce is dirty.

    Air pie: My mum used to make a mince-in pastry job that was always so overcooked that the mince in the pie used to sublimate into brown meaty air that broke free as soon as the crust was punctured. It was aromatherapy meat. she could teach that Heston a thing or three.

  2. In my childhood - and now in my house - Eggy Bread must always be served with ketchup. For children, said ketchup must always be applied to resemble a happy, smiling face.

    And left over Yorkshire puddings make a delicious desert with golden syrup and ice cream.

  3. Okay, I was going to keep these secret for my world renowned deli, "Con-Fusion", but that hasn't happened so here goes:

    Lettuce and horseradish sandwich in pitta - don't skimp on the horseradish and nice crispy lettuce please

    Coffee and hummus - don't look at me like that, just try it. Good filter coffee.

    Whisky and Ginger cake - great length

    Sourdough bread and good olive oil - like suckling on mother earth

    Raisins and oatcakes - a taste of the highlands (just south of Marrakech)

    Cottage cheese and salami (evidently - can't vouch for that one)

    [All recipes copyright Confusion Ltd.]

  4. red sauce on bacon or sausage sarnies and burgers. THATS your lot. chips? good lord! im shaking with rage here. (nowt wrong with bananas on toast though)

  5. You are all terrible weirdos. But I like you.

  6. Totally agree re tomato sauce and egg, even worry a it about egg and tomato in any form.
    My mother told me that when staying in Holland in the early 50's she was given ryvita topped with mashed potato and sugar sprinkles. *gags*
    As for porridge, I can't eat it naked (either me or the porridge) it needs to be anointed with syrup


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