The best foods in the world (pt I)
I usually admonish people for deviating from my food rules, but when it comes to the triumphant fishfinger sandwich I find it hard not to take anyone, who has their own time-honoured way, by the hand and shake it warmly. Mayo, Tartare, cheese, white, brown there is no right or wrong, just variations on perfection.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup
I once knew a girl who maintained everything could be improved with the addition of tomato ketchup. The more I think about it, the exception that I came up (gravy based dishes) could prove that rule.
This crisp and piquant member of the ploughman’s lunch really is the star of the show. Homemade is easy and best, offering a chance to control the strength, bite and crunch.
Crinkle cut oven chips
Lower in fat than their deep fried counterparts, giving a fluffier mouthfeel, the crinkle cut holds so much more sauce, making it easy to get the correct condiment coverage. Deceptively hot straight out the oven and if consumed in large quantities, very quickly, it is rather like swallowing matted cotton wool.
Salt & Vinegar Discos
Round, piquant and packing a flavour punch which can dry out the inside of your mouth in seconds. Seemingly a constant in garage shops and available in grab bags which are obviously too big.
Bolognese toasted sandwiches
The magnificent Brevelle transmogrifies cold sandwiches into new and astounding foodstuffs, like some crazy gene-splicing scientist, simply by buttering the bread on the other side and adding things that have no place between two slices of bread, magic happens. There is no finer magic than Bolognese sauce, a slice of cheese and a sealed edge.
Chilli con carne
This ubiquitous bean-filled brown food has become a staple of British menus, whether atop a jacket potato, or smothering easy cook rice. It’s nearly always disappointing, but every time I see it on a menu I undergo a strange revisionist experience, believing that this time it’s going to be what I want.
I’m not stupid, I’m well aware that there is nothing beneficial about hot dogs. Ridiculously refined, and overly seasoned. These pink tubes of mechanically recovered meat nestling in pappy white bread rolls hold a special place in my heart. Top with cheese and chilli and close your mind.
The ultimate bread meat cheese combo, a one hand package full of happiness. This is not about creating a gourmet affair, it’s the blue collar burger, the stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap sandwich. Think White Castle, think McDonalds. Don’t, whatever you do, think gastropub with a rustic chip Jenga!
The official name for that overly sweet bakery item featuring a layer of caramel topping a biscuit base, crowned with chocolate. Named, I hope, because of its richness, not the belief that if you had that much money you’d make that your food of choice.
If you were to convert foods into algebraic equations the flapjack would balance perfectly. All the goodness and low GI qualities of the oats are cancelled out by the butter, sugar and lashings of golden syrup.
People bemoan the decline of the baker, but in truth most English bakers produced over processed, puff pastry based patisserie items which have very little heritage, such as the apple turnover. Scraping the top layer of pastry off the roof of your mouth is just part of the fun.
Wholemeal bread, a film of butter and packet ham. The only sandwich which actually taste better when cut diagonally into triangles. It takes me back to simpler times in my life, before ciabatta had ever crossed my lips.
Jam is like summer in a jar, full of sweet sunshine filled fruit. It seems criminal that it is celebrated so little, being almost an afterthought at the breakfast table. But when it meets toasted bread it comes alive and justice is done.
Whilst chocolate is the rescue remedy for everyday life, it’s at Easter that it transforms from a pick me up to a breakfast food. Hold the Egg in two hands, bite through the pointy end and inhale from that inner sanctum. It’s chocolate at it’s best.
Lemonade and lime
Remember a time before you were seduced by the syrupy mystery of Coke and the biggest treat you could have was a lemonade and lime with a bag of crisps? Happy days.
Could there be a more perfect self-contained freezer-based ice cream creation than the choc ice? The answer is no. Let’s go through it. Pull off the wrapper and marvel at the smooth taut chocolate skin enveloping its frozen cargo. Take a bite and listen to the exquisite crack of its delicate shell and feel the contrast of textures. Finally, let it all melt into a little piece of heaven in your mouth. Avoid the milk chocolate version – it’s just disappointing.
There is something exotic about eating something that you cannot recreate in your own home, especially when it’s bought from a man in a van and you can taste the diesel fumes. Whilst the yielding white whip and the crisp toasted cornet are made for each other, people get dazzled by the opportunity to embellish their cones with flakes, which is a mistake for several reasons. Chocolate at that temperature doesn’t melt in the mouth, leading to chocolate gravel, and should you choose the bite-the-bottom-off-and-suck method of consumption you run a big risk of blockage.
The national dish of Australia. My favourite pies are from Upper Crust in Collaroy, NSW, either a Mexican or Thai Chicken, although the steak and cheese is good and the chunky steak one. Actually I like them all, even a Mrs Macs from a servo is good.
Call it Cha-ree-tho or Ch-ritz-o it doesn’t change the fact that this paprika spiked sausage is probably the finest thing to come out of Spain (along with Naranjito!). It adds so much flavour to any dish it’s almost a condiment.