I spent the first 25 years of my life being a very fussy eater, I had no desire to try new fancy foods and I did very well on a diet of simple foods, in fact very well in terms of weight control, though I didn’t think of that at the time. I was very skinny back then eating whatever I wanted when I wanted but only what I liked.
I was (and probably still am) very much a creature of habit especially with breakfasts, I went for very long periods of time when my breakfast was either Cornflakes with the ‘top of the milk’ or beans on toast. The ‘top of the milk’ was the cream from the full fat milk that we all drank back then it was delivered by the milkman and the cream sat nicely at the top of the bottle; that was what I had poured over my cornflakes with a good sprinkling of sugar – delicious. As for the beans on toast, well I had my perculiarities there too (and still do) I would only eat Crosse & Blackwell beans, a far superior sauce in my opinion to Heinz.
My poor Mother. I was insufferable if neither were available for my breakfast. I still wince when I think of my behaviour.
Teenage lunch was almost always saving school lunch money to buy chips from the nearby chippie. It was rare to eat school dinners once I had got through the ‘good girl’ phase of being in the 1st year of senior school and the regular skipping out of the school grounds at Midday to rush down to the chippie for a bag and occassionally a fag were the order of the day. Once I started work there was lunch (or dinner as we called it) in the work restaurant. I was lucky enough to work where we not only had a waitress service restaurant, a self service restaurant, a sald bar, a burger bar and a fully stocked pub on site so choice was always good but invariably it was burgers for lunch followed by a cinzano & lemonade in the bar. Classy eh?
Evening meals were good hearty home cooking. Mum made the best meat puddings, beef chunks in a rich onion & beef gravy cooked in suet, wrapped in cotton, tied with string and boiled on the hob for hours. So delicious. In fact all her meals were lovely; simple but lovely. She never once weighed her ingredients, she just knew what was needed. I learnt to cook from her but could never, at the time, get the idea of just knowing how much flour was needed for the batter (we didn’t call it Yorkshire pudding), or how much of any other ingredients were needed to make a dish. It is something that I have finally got the confidence to do after many, many years but I still resort to the scales in most instances.
Food, and my waistline, changed once I had moved away from home and started to go out for meals with new work colleagues/friends and I was introduced to the delights of mushrooms (yes I know!), curries and then more exotic foods.
I now eat a huge variety of foods but there are still some that I won’t entertain like hearts and kidneys. I had one bad experience in France when my french was not so good and I saw Bouef and thought that’ll be what I have, the dish was served and the beef looked a bit unusual, and had a dimply outer. I struggled with it for a while and finally gave up and said to my husband (now my ex though that may not be related) ‘I really cannot eat this’. He then told me I had ordered and eaten tongue. Yuk. I am not sure I ever forgave him for keeping quiet when I placed the order.
It is now a treat to have good old fashioned simple foods and something like a rich cottage pie or sausage and mash are the rarer, but much loved, dishes served at mealtimes. I am still a bit of a creature of habit with breakfasts going for years having the same Monday to Friday breakfasts, currently a fruity granola, and at weekends having bacon & eggs. So some things never change.