Monday 18th April 2011
THAI cuisine is a favourite treat of mine… although there are times, mind you, when it has to be an Indian curry, or a Chinese take-away. The noodle dishes in a certain Japanese restaurant in Covent Garden are exemplary. Then there are the tapas bars, the pizza deliveries, the on-street kebab vans, the waft of Jamaican jerk at an open-air festival.
No wonder I’ve put on a few pounds in recent years.
Of the four of us, Mum would have said I was the fussiest. Hindsight allows me to regard her pre-natal craving for cornflakes as a genetic condition I was bound to inherit. And it was nothing to do with me that the cereal packets of my childhood happened to contain free plastic toys. I still often enjoy a midnight bowl, thus getting breakfast out of the way early.
The standard West Riding diet was meat and two veg, one of which was invariably potato. Rice could only be served as pudding. School dinners didn’t help: gristle, cabbage, turnips, with prunes or semolina for ‘afters’ – culinary sweetmeats we could only tuck into after praying that the Lord make us truly grateful.
Gleefully, Friday meant fish’n’chips, ideally with ‘scraps’: small fry batter that had jumped ship in the moiling sea. Most of the week’s pocket money went on gobstoppers, sherbet lemons and liquorice allsorts.
I grew up with a healthy appetite for the unhealthy.
At university, I soon realised those planning a Sunday joint would not be baking Yorkshire puddings. I mastered in macaroni cheese and risotto. The world was no oyster, but I would dive into a tuna salad and lick my chops at the thought of pork with apple. My taste buds have been growing ever since: pesto, olives, tofu, chilli, falafel… yum.
We now choose from a worldwide menu, are served by a global kitchen.
Meanwhile, those who’d ban immigration must be denied these succulent varieties. For you surely can’t agree with kicking out foreigners while chomping on a vindaloo, can you?
Or is that just wanting to have one’s cake and eat it too?