In 1913 a dunked biscuit sent Marcel Proust – or at least the fictional protagonist of his epic work Remembrance of Things Past – tumbling back to childhood.
A similar experience befell yours truly the other day, although rather than a tea-soaked madeleine triggering a flood of reminiscence it was some Findus Crispy Pancakes (mince).
Happily, I did not have to actually consume the things to cop full effect, merely stumble across them in the shop and gaze upon the serving suggestion (two on plate, diagonal slice out of foremost allowing brown mince to belch forth).
A blessed relief, in retrospect, for there can be little doubt the food art adorning said pack was a ruse.
The depicted golden crumb would be orange, the free-flowing meat a lame film of gravy.
Exactly as they were when I thought them, the height of human culinary achievement and would literally beg Mum to pick some up on the big shop.
All of which understood, it required incredible willpower not to drop four in the basket. Why? Why this unheralded desire for a platter of processed goo?
Why was I suddenly in a modern frozen food aisle thinking about its smaller equivalent in GEM, Preston’s first (to my knowledge) supermarket?
Is this what they mean by comfort food? If so, am not wholly comfortable with the designated verb.
More often than not my own roster of such fodder – a list which includes Soreen, Goblin Steak & Kidney puddings, and those tinned ‘pear’ hams you only ever had at Christmas – is purchased in celebratory spirits rather than as some form of oral therapy, and it’d surprise me to hear this is in any way unique.
Why, only last week I chuckled for a solid five minutes on discovering the meat to jelly ratio of a Tulip ham, and anyone who can penetrate a Goblin pud without laughing at what lies beneath needs a sense of humour transplant – although the first forkful will quickly wipe the smile off their face.
Nostalgia food would be a more fitting monicker, perhaps.
Something akin to digging out an old photo album and laughing at the trousers rather than hugging your legs on the sofa while chewing on a baby blanket.
And on that note am off to try and find a shop which sells Memory Lane cakes.