This week, Tesco made the Hall of Foodstuff Infamy by launching a limited edition sandwich which has the fat content of two McDonalds cheeseburgers. Somehow I thought that The Butterfield Diet’s ‘Treat Day’ dish of ’20 Cheese Omelette’ was going to hit the shelves.
What a way of celebrating the Coalition Government’s abdication of responsibilities in terms of healthy eating! So much so that Feast of the M60 has been inspired to do a Crimes Against Food blog post. We are not using this to make pot shots at their lasagne butty (which I may review at a later date), so count yourselves highly disappointed if you expect me to.
1. The Pie Butty
Pastry on pastry? Is that supposed to work? It depends on the type of pie, and whether it is hot or cold. The best pies for this delicacy have to be those with shortcrust pastry. The Hollands Meat and Potato pie is probably the best. As for bread, a barmcake, bap or oven-bottom muffin should do the trick, as they are more likely to fit the pie comfortably. Puff pastry pies are best avoided due to their consistency (try a Pukka Pie by all means, if you are willing to burn your fingers in the process).
2. School issue beef burgers/hamburgers
Before Labour reintroduced nutritional standards (which were gleefully reneged by the ConDems, after being scrapped by Thatcher in 1980), the typical ’80s child saw patchier school meal provision. They either had a full service with a limited menu and few vegetables, or they scrapped school meals altogether. A common icon of that period for me was the School Issue Hamburger.
For some reason, they tasted nothing like the Birds Eye ones, or the cheapo ones from your local Fine Fare store. They had a texture akin to Spam or luncheon meat. They were often served with gravy. Whom in the age of McDonalds had hamburgers with gravy? Even my Wimpy on Staveleigh Way didn’t make these concessions. For some reason they were quite tasty. In later years, I realised how grateful I was for this compared with fellow pupils my age whom were educated under Tory councils where school dinners were abolished.
3. The Deep Fried Haggis
True confession: this nutritionally incorrect delicacy was a favourite of mine whilst I stayed in Blackpool on holiday in 1993. Countless words have been written on the Deep Fried Mars Bars and the deep-frying of other sweetmeats. The Deep Fried Haggis raises the bar that much further!
Haggis itself is made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs combined with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, lined in the sheep’s stomach. The suet and salt is enough to get the nutrition experts cock-a-hoop, before one decides to deep-fry the thing. My deep-fried haggis was devoured with chips from a rather good chippy on Dickson Road near Gynn Square in the resort.
4. The Meatball Marinara (and its imitators)
Popular among Subway aficionados (£1.99 for a 6″ one at the time of compiling this article), this sandwich and its imitators is highly addictive whilst placed in the wrong hands. A toxic mixture of salicylate heavy tomato sauce (possibly with MSG), even with lashings of salad and South West sauce makes for a most addictive sandwich. It’s place in the Crimes Against Food category are justified by means of its salt content, salicylate heavy Italian style sauce, and (ABH type sentence jobby) Mystery Meat (unless it does state if real lamb or pork is used). Indulge only in moderation.
5. The Pot Noodle:
Introduced in 1979, this plastic potted snack is seen by many epicureans as the very nadir of all foodstuffs (as if the 19p Hot Dogs weren’t bad enough). Little or no cooking skills are required for this other than finding a suitable kettle and a fork.
I prefer Nissin’s Cup Noodles by a long way off. Golden Wonder’s version to me have had that artificial taste (Beef and Tomato – we’re looking at you!). I’m amazed as to how many flavours and spin-offs it spawned, such as Pot Spaghetti, the short lived Pot Mash, and Pot Rice. It’s packeted cousin, the Batchelors’ Super Noodles are infinitely better, as are Nissin’s Cup Noodles.
What are your (food-related) crimes?
I could have listed another five examples, but I am counting on you to come up with some other valid suggestions. It could be the Cheese and Tomato sandwich with mayonnaise, food filed under ‘nutritionally incorrect’ yet tasty (KFC and its imitators for example), and of course culinary dumbing down.
Bon appetit! Mine’s a deep fried Malteser with chips and cheese (not advisable if you want to live beyond retirement).
- The Butterfield Diet (The Peter Serafinowicz Show, BBC Two);
- The World’s First Lasagne Sandwich (Daily Mail, 13 July 2010).
S.V., 13 July 2010.