What is that stuff?

Every now and then my husband and I (ooh hark at me sounding like the Queen) take ourselves off for a ‘date lunch’.  We like food, and it is good to spend a bit of quality time together now and then, so we find ourselves somewhere nice to go and pig out (it may be a date lunch, but we don’t stand on ceremony… well, we’ve been together for over thirty years now so we should just about be used to each other’s sloppy eating habits).   Yesterday we ended up in a really cosy pub, the log fires being just what we needed after being out in the gale force winds and unseasonal blizzard that suddenly appeared from nowhere.

All the food was yummy, as was the real Ale that we washed it down with, but what stood out for me was the chips.

Now, I’m not usually a big fan of chips.  They can be a bit soggy, or in French fry form, a bit burnt and over crispy.  I don’t have them often, but when I do, I drown them in salt and vinegar to give them some flavour, or if I’m feeling fancy, a bit of mayo a la Francais way.  I’m not a big fan of tommy k (tomato ketchup to you), so never that big red blob on my plate thanks.  Yesterday’s chips didn’t need anything though, they came ready seasoned and really crispy on the outside and soft in the middle (like an Armadillo as we say in our house…don’t ask… there was an advert once I think), 10 out of 10 for the chips then!

Of course, we ended up discussing what constitutes a ‘proper’ chip.  Do french fries count??

Anyhoo, what with the chips/French fry debate an’ all, it got me thinking about foods that aren’t like what their supposed to be, and how sometimes they are really yummy despite being completely weird and unrecognisable.  Like these goodies:

  • Tinned strawberries – now I don’t know what they were in a past life, but they look and taste nothing like the real thing. They are pink, sploshy and sweet.  Sometimes, I confess, I think they might be better than a freshly picked one that makes your mouth purse like a cat’s bottom because it’s a bit hard and tart or worse still, completely tasteless.
  • Pot noodles – does anyone know what that stuff is made from? Oh, I know what it says on the label – dried veggies and meat, but really? Nevertheless, who doesn’t love a naughty pot noodle from time to time? They are slurpily scrummy.
  • Vesta Chow Mein – I guess this is along the same lines as a Pot Noodle, being some sort of dried stuff with noodley thingys. But this is more of a meal. It’s crispy noodles a delight of crunchy oiliness, and it’s soft noodles, covered with the other…well, stuff, is again, a slurpers heaven.  Love it!
  • Crab Sticks – They are very pink. They are sticks.  They are not made of crab. I could eat ten of them in one sitting.  What more do you need to know?
  • Spam – Another pink food! Jellified meat that comes in a tin.  Sounds delicious doesn’t it? Spam is apparently ‘pressed pork and ham’, it tastes neither like pork nor ham, it tastes like Spam. It is amazingly versatile, in our house we have spam hash, spam kebabs, grilled spam, spam fritters, spam sandwiches…  I am a Spam fan. Many are not.
  • McDonalds fruit pies – Peculiar sort of sugary pastry stuff containing killer goo that will take the skin off your mouth and tongue unless you leave it for at least two hours to cool down. I think they are related to pop tarts. Yep, still good!
  • Cadbury’s Crème Eggs – Yes, it’s the time of year when all our thoughts turn to how many of these little devils we can stuff in our gobs before Easter. Hooray!! Chocolate ‘eggs’ filled with errmm…what is that stuff…?

These are just a few examples, off the top of my head, of weird yet wonderful foodstuffs that are filled with e-numbers and calories to start you salivating. I’m quite sure there are many more (I bet I think of them as soon as I press the post button!). I’d love to hear your favourites!