Number 2 in my occasional series of things I love and why: Cheap food.
And I don’t mean the kind of cheap food extolled by gastronomes in the Sunday supps – not for me home made scotch eggs or a hundred ways with chitterlings. No, I mean genuinely cheap, processed food, that comes ready wrapped in aluminium or plastic as brightly coloured as the sauce it contains,preferably with an ingredients list in an obscure language, the sort of stuff you can only buy in bulk, 5 for £1, generally from a late night corner shop or discount store. In fact they have to be from here- when I see these beauties on the shelves in Tesco – I feel a sort of regret, I can’t look them in the eye. They look out of place, like porn would in a doctors surgery.
So what am I talking about? I’m talking about cheap packet noodles, tinned breakfasts, Fray Bentos pies, tuna mayo in a can, campbells meatballs, dusty smash packets, crusha milkshake mix. Gorgeous, the taste of youth, real youth, not in the poetic sense of apples from the tree and tiffin. I mean real youth. Nostalgia food – my overriding childhood memory? Eating noodles on a Friday night watching Golden girls. Rock and roll.
I was an adventurous child and am still happier to eat something that resembles nothing than something that resembles something too closely (Pigs ear? No thank you. Bacon grill? 2 slices!) I appear to have given up most of my adolescent savourings, but I still get excited in corner shops at the strange things you can get on shelves – I swear that the pickled eggs over the road are the same tin from when I first moved here. I’m going to put a small undetectable-to the-human-eye mark on said tin and follow its movements….
One thing that has stayed with me is my love of the packet noodle, particularly chicken or curry flavour. Basically because they taste the same – brothy chicken bovrily goodness wrapped around the slinkiest blandest of wheat based wiggles…delish. I’m happy now. I had them earlier. With this in mind, I’m goin to share with you my classic recipe for eating these noodles, Aldi Ramen (giving provenance – Aldi – and style, Ramen – after Wagamama)
1 x packet noodles (Koka are good, not super noodles)
1 x tin tuna in oil
Spinach leaves (or if you’re really going for the cheap food angle, tinned chopped spinach works well).
Cook noodles according to packet instructions. Add tuna (drained if preferred). Add spinach (drained). Keep heating for a bit till its all mixed in and lovely. Add soy sauce if you want.
Pour into serving bowl. Leave to cool for a bit. Switch on Murder she wrote, eat noodles and enjoy.
My guilty secret.