The best foods in the world (pt IV)
Bacon roll (with milk)
Streaky bacon, grilled to the point of crispness, soft white bread rolls, a keen squeeze of ketchup and a glass of cow juice. A fine balance of the salty and the bland.
Dairlylea & Jacobs crackers
Dairylea triangles stopped being called cheese a while ago, but that doesn’t detract from how well they go with crackers. They have a unique taste, strong but mild, creamy but sticky, and are perfectly suited to the simply majesty of Jacob’s cream crackers. I don’t recommend sandwiching the crackers, you get a disappointing level of cheese satisfaction and unequal breakage.
If you’ve never experienced a Tunnocks, it’s very hard to explain. It looks like some kind of small fecund chocolate puffball funghi, and contains what can only be described as sweet shaving foam, all sitting on a overly soft biscuit base. It comes wrapped in foil, vaguely resembling the Japanese rising sun flag, which one is duty bound to try and make as flat as possible.
Australian KFC/Red Rooster chips
Drenched in chicken salt (the ingredients of which, other than salt, I have no idea) and packed into tight sweaty cardboard boxes, this side dish served in Australia’s two fried chicken chains is the real reason that you go there.
Caramel waffle (stroopwafel)
A wafer split in two and sandwiched together with caramel, originating in Holland, they are very sweet and weigh in at a hefty 180 cals a piece. Sadly it’s easy to do 3 or 4 without really noticing, especially with a hot beverage to hand.
Another member of the prevalent Asian food club, known by many different monikers – the potsticker, grilled dumplings, jiaozi. Essentially a mixture of pork and cabbage wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried, then steamed. Served with a dipping sauce made of soy and rice vinegar. Approach with caution as they can squirt red-hot juice at you if bitten without due care.
One bite of a Jamaican beef patty and you can feel the heat on your back and imagine how it came to be. Flaky and spiced, this disturbingly yellow pastry item is the perfect roadside vendor’s offering. It feels simple, yet regal.
These ‘loosely’ bacon-flavoured corn snack have all the greasiness and saltiness of their origin, but require none of the cooking complications. The best part of the whole packet is the crumbs that accumulate in the bottom of the bag, they are well worth the effort required to retrieve them.
The king of biscuits. Not because of their chocolate topping, the digestive has had that for years, nor the smashing orangey bit which was never as good as the Jammy Dodger’s jam splodge, but because they came in a cardboard box. Never underestimate the majesty of the cardboard box.
Pancakes with maple syrup
I grew up with English Shrove Tuesday style pancakes, rolled up with lemon juice and sugar, and as much as I love them I’m quite happy to have them only once a year. Whereas American style breakfast pancakes, topped with a shard of butter and a hefty glug of Canada’s finest export, I could eat every day.
I missed the meeting when it was decided that houmous/hummus/hummous should be stocked/served/added to everything. You can’t move without another variation cropping up, lemon & coriander, red pepper, morrocan topped anyone? The most annoying thing about it all, is that I really like it and feel myself Pavlov-like reaching for any new flavour they dangle in front of me. Curse you and your chick-pea-based dips, The Man!
Cheetos Cheese & Bacon Balls
One of those snacks where you wonder how they get so many in a bag, an Australian snack of endless proportions. These inch-sized balls of flavour are strongly-flavoured and even more strongly-coloured.
Whether you plump for a bag, or one of their seemingly bottomless boxes, after you’ve popped the last one in your mouth you’ll be left with the feeling that you didn’t quite try every way of eating them.
Mr Kipling cherry bakewell tart
Not the slices, not the little ones with the wrong pastry-to-icing ratio but the big family sized bakewell tart, well when I say family sized …
Contaminating all they come into contact with, and filling the air with their pungent perfume as they cook, smoked herrings, Manx style, are a breakfast delight. A salty compliment to eggs, toast and a strong cup of Earl Grey.
Here’s where I become a food snob. I love chocolate, but the more you eat the more you realise what you like and what you like even more. Having eaten a great deal I now know that I prefer chocolate from Venezuela, preferably single estate, criollo beans and between 60% and 70%. But any port in a storm!
Acidically tart, yet beautifully sweet and sharing no characteristics, except a vague resemblance in shape to real pears, these yellow or red sugar coated treats should always be sold in white paper bags, by the quarter.
Stew & dumplings
This isn’t any stew with dumplings, this is my mum’s stew and dumplings. If I’m honest this isn’t on here because of the stew, which is a perfectly passable affair, but not amazing. It’s here because of the dumplings, which are verging on the sublime. Light, crisp, soft and substantial all at the same time – I’m not sure how that’s possible either?
Originally made by Smiths and now kept alive, out of pity one feels, by the corporate might of PepsiCo’s Walkers, these potato/corn snacks come in ready salted and the mighty salt and vinegar. Due to their fragile nature and relatively small pack size it is perfectly possible to fit a whole bag in one’s mouth at the same time (crunching them as you go, obviously).
Barbequed rib eye steak
The Rolls Royce of beef cuts often gets overlooked for the Ferrari fillet steak, but with its beautiful marbling to auto-baste the meat, it runs very little risk of drying out like its flashier counterpart. Perfect for everything that steak is needed for, but on the BBQ it is unparalleled.