Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Food.

I woke up thinking about food this morning. I wasn’t hungry, it was more by way of reminiscing about things I have eaten, in a reasonably long life.

As a child, I had no options. I ate whatever my Mum decided to give me, and with few exceptions I always enjoyed it. That involved basic food. Filling food like dumplings, stews, and suet pudding with jam for dessert. And cake. Lots of cake. In many ways, it was certainly a very unhealthy diet.

What vegetables we did have were usually cooked until they were almost a puree, and many were tinned to start with. Potatoes were generally roasted in beef fat, and some of the meals, like spam fritters, were deep-fried in the same.

It had to be very hot out before salad of any kind was served. Then it consisted of just cucumber, tomatoes, and lettuce leaves. It was often accompanied by hard-boiled eggs, sliced ham, or tinned fish, like salmon. The only rice I ever saw was tinned, and in a sweet milk and cream sauce, usually baked and served as a filling dessert. Pasta was unknown to me until I was in my late teens, and no meal cooked at home ever contained garlic.

Like many women at the time, my Mum was also stuck in a cooking routine, with particular meals being served on the same days every week. So it was easy to anticipate what we would be eating on any given night. Eating out was rare, and a treat. Then it usually involved buying fish and chips, or meat pies and mash. When I was aged about thirteen, we went to a Chinese restaurant in Limehouse, and I had my first ever oriental meal. But even that was a ‘western’ version, with fried prawn balls, chow mien noodles, and sweet and sour pork.

This culinary tradition continued until I was old enough to make choices for myself, and had some money to spend on those choices too. My first hamburger and fries, in a local Wimpy Bar, and a frankfurter sausage in the same establishment. How exotic that all seemed to be back then. A taste of America, in a shopping street in Bermondsey. Once in my early twenties, and able to drive to different areas, I tried Indian food for the first time. Experimenting with curry that was so hot it made me ill, and finally getting the ‘dry’ rice that I had never tasted before. Unusual spices, huge Naan breads, and crispy accompaniments like samosas and bhajees.

I was soon on a roll. Italian restaurants in Soho; Osso Buco, Chicken Parmigiana, Tiramasu. Greek restaurants in north London, with endless choices of Mezze, Stifado, Pitta Bread, and salad with feta cheese. Authentic Chinese restaurants in Chinatown; crispy duck, steamed buns, tasty noodles, and spare ribs. It seemed like I was on a mission to try anything, and up for the challenge. Turkish restaurants with food very similar to Greek ones, and Spanish Tapas, when I had to ask the waitress to recommend her choices.

Then I got married, and started to travel abroad a lot. I had soon sampled caviar in the Soviet Union, and later feasted on smoked impala, in Kenya. I had eaten some amazing meals, and some pretty awful ones too. I declined to eat a deep-fried black scorpion offered to me in Beijing, though did struggle with a near-elastic duck’s foot, in the same city. Back home in London, the choice was constantly expanding, and I tried Ethiopian, Algerian, and Argentinian restaurants as they appeared. Moroccan food in London was even better than when I tried it in Morocco, and I eventually got around to trying Japanese food too. But uncooked fish was never going to be something I enjoyed, though I did like the cooked varieties on offer.

Now I am older, and can lay claim to have tried almost everything, (except insects) I sometimes miss the variety I once enjoyed.

But I can forget all that, by tucking into a nice full English breakfast.

69 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. When I was young, everything was fried!๐Ÿ˜… But now, I don’t ever eat at a restaurant unless a rare occasion. It costs too much and I save by making simple meals for a family of 7 but my dad goes out to eat twice a day with my stepmom and he says it saves money. I never understood that because what he spends on one meal, I can use for a couple days but to each is their own. But I understand restraints are easier and more convenient for people. No cleanup and worrying about the cooking process. I have to admit though we are not the healthiest eaters. I zap a lot in the microwave.๐Ÿ˜ซ But great post, Pete! Definitely gives me food for thoughts!๐Ÿ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dani. I cook most nights now, and we don’t go out much since moving to Norfolk. I could eat for three days for the cost of a restaurant meal!
      You do well to manage such a large family food bill on a limited income. Well done to you, honey. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. xx

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  2. I’m definitely in the live to eat category, not eat to live ๐Ÿ™‚ And seeing the picture of the full English has got the taste buds going. I have enough of our own bacon and handmade sausages to treat myself one last time this year and now I feel the time is right ๐Ÿ™‚
    Although I have to admit that since we started keeping animals we have gone to an almost all vegetarian diet, just eating meat on the weekend. BBQ’s are the exception and there are plenty of those this time of the year ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting to hear that you are mostly vegetarian, because of the animals. I doubt that applies to most livestock farmers over here. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I rarely have such a big breakfast now, and never at home..
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚ All that food looks great ๐Ÿ™‚ Tell me something – whenever you went out for breakfast, what would you order – I would order two eggs sunny side up, white toast, shredded potatoes, bacon, sausage links and ham – with a glass of orange juice ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, I do not go out for breakfast every day – only once a week ๐Ÿ™‚ Regards ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would more or less have what is in the picture, John, though I usually skip the baked beans. But I doubt I have such a big breakfast any more than four times a year now. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I imagine it contains a great deal of everything that is bad for you, Theo, including the mentioned purines. I rarely eat such a meal now, but some people have it seven days a week.. If I stay overnight at a hotel, I always take advantage of the ‘treat’ of enjoying a big breakfast. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! You are far braver than I. I have never tried many of the exotic dishes you mention. It was wise of you to pass on the black scorpion. I guess I eat traditionally American, with a few ethnic varieties thrown in the mix when we go out: Mexican, Chinese, Thai are my favorite of those.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The best Thai meal I have ever eaten was in Singapore. We actually have a Thai restaurant up the road in Beetley, and are regulars there. I don’t eat that much foreign food these days though, as there is not such a variety of choice in this area.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband cooks himself a full breakfast each Sunday morning. I just have tea and toast. But two years ago we stayed in a Quebec guest house with such a lavish and tasty breakfast that we didn’t have to eat again until evening. So I do appreciate such a gigantic meal on occasion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the idea is that such a big breakfast carries you through to the evening meal with no need for lunch or snacks. I rarely have such a morning ‘blow out’ these days though. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. When I started doing all the cooking many years ago, I soon realised that there are not that many practical options for an evening meal that do not involve some form of repetition. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have tried a lot of different foods too, Pete, and have refused fried mopani worms, a speciality in parts of Southern Africa. I don’t eat wild animals as I don’t like the idea, but I also like Indian food and Thai food. Best of all, I like my mom’s plain English cooking that I grew up on.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love food Pete, so I really enjoyed this trip through memory lane by way of your palate! I also grew up with fewer options, driving by the budget we had, and in my part of the Northwestern US, there was a lot of fish, oysters, clams and shrimp.

    I love trying new cuisines, still do, and always remember fondly the early days as well!

    Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I tried to eat that duck’s foot to be polite. But it was like a thick rubber band, and still had the claws!
      Ollie’s foot was miraculously ‘cured’ as soon as he saw his lead, and knew he was going out for a long walk. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, I could have written โ€œAs a child, I had no options. I ate whatever my Mum decided to give me, and with few exceptions I always enjoyed it. That involved basic food. Filling food like dumplings, stews, and suet pudding with jam for dessert. And cake. mLots of cake. In many ways, it was certainly a very unhealthy diet. Although, to be fair we did have quite a lot of decently cooked veg…
    Once I left home, I experimented with different cuisines, and these days I eat tons of veg and salad…but wonโ€™t give up meat and fish!

    Liked by 3 people

                1. Interesting how Veal has fallen off so much – you are right that Italian restaurant still serve it as a Veal Parmesan, but Chicken is much more popular…and Wolfgang Puck still has his “Secret” Wiener Schnitzel dish on his menu at the famous Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills!

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Veal has been vilified here, John. Mainly because of calves in Holland being force-fed milk, to make the meat white. Many shops felt under pressure to stop selling it, so prices went up accordingly.
                    Best wishes, Pete.

                    Liked by 1 person

    1. We only tend to have a full roast when there is company. It seems like a lot of work just for two of us.
      I rarely cook a full breakfast since moving here. It used to be a treat in London, as I only had one Sunday off a month for most of my working life. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A full English breakfast is so filling and a no-go for us, yet it always put a smile on my face to see how many foreigners go for this version when touring the UK. ๐Ÿ™‚
    When we travel and dine out our first choice is Indian food if it’s well made, hot and spicy and yummy. Our favourite rice at home is an oriental one that I make with onions, garlic, coriander seed, cumin and a cinnamon stick and various vegetables. It goes so well with pork, chicken and beef.
    Our teacher once served us fried insects, frog legs, ants and even more creepy things. At the age of eleven I didn’t feel tempted to try any of them. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope you enjoyed your breakfast, Pete. Give Ollie lots of pats from us,
    The Fab Four of Cley xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I almost never have such a breakfast, Dina. Though I do have it if I am staying in a hotel. I have tried frogs legs many years ago, but I cannot face insects. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Ollie has a bad foot today, and is hopping around on three legs. But he won’t let us examine it. I will give him pats from you though.
      Best wishes, Pete. X

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No, we can normally do anything to Ollie, but he was growling when we tried to lift his leg. I suspect he has pulled a muscle, but if it persists, he will be off to see the Vet next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. Street food is excellent in every country I had visited. Especially in the Middle East and Thailand. Mondays were beans day because in the old days it was wash day so they would put them on and go about their :chores: and to this day I still eat beans on Mondays…..old habits die hard… chuq

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Because of my irritable bowel syndrom, I unfortunately canโ€™t everything anymore. That is I can, but usually when I eat something I know probably isnโ€™t going to cause me trouble, I end up regretting it later. Doesnโ€™t (always) stop me though. Iโ€™m a huge love of Italian food, and spaghetti is one of my favorite dishes. Chinese food comes a close second. An English breakfast, even though it looks very tasty, is one of the things I know I would regret for the rest of the day. But who knows, it might not stop me when I visit England at some point in the future. I might even try out those insects you havenโ€™t yet had lol๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You could probably digest the insects, Michel. And they are supposedly nutritious too. I just can’t face putting a grasshopper or locust into my mouth though! ๐Ÿ™‚
      (Maybe skip the baked beans on that breakfast!)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, trust me, I wouldnโ€™t be able to do that either. The thought alone makes me sick lol ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
        Yeah the baked beans will probably be the trigger for me, although the sausages probably won’t do me much good either๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I chuckled at the part about the salads. My dad was much the same with his salad making. I found them boring and wasn’t until I fled the nest that a salad could be a whole lot more enjoyable! Whilst my Dad did enjoy the odd (western style) Chinese, I didn’t sample a curry (of any description) until a few years after I moved to the Midlands, and could afford to eat out. The Midlands, probably behind London somewhat, has a lot of variety with all the cultures in the area, and like you I enjoy trying them all. I probably would have drawn the line at a scorpion though as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

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