OK. So growing up I was lucky enough that I was never served frozen food. It was always home made or when the mood struck, decent takeaway.
I never had the chance to taste fish fingers or chicken nuggets and the like (I know…poor me). Consequently, it has always been somewhat of a curiosity to me. Because we never had it, I always wanted to try it.
So, not so long ago…perhaps a year or two ago I had the night to myself and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with my frozen food fantasy.
Off I went to the local super market and purchased a box of fish fingers, chicken chippies and various other accoutrement.
I warmed up the oven. I waited patiently for the frozen fair to thaw and bake and brown.
I placed a selection of the oven baked contraband on my plate and sat down, armed with a dipping bowl of tomato sauce.
And what do you think happened?
Did my eyes roll about in my head in delight?
Did my stomach awaken with joy at the opportunity to finally digest the food it had always dreamt of?
No they didn’t.
No it didn’t.
I was bitterly disappointed with the entire experience.
Not one of the items on my plate did I enjoy.
It was all rubbish. I hadn’t missed out on anything after all those years of wondering.
My mother had known best all along.
I wondered where had I gone wrong?
How do millions of people the world over consume this kind of food many nights of the week and not recoil in disgust?
The answer is simple. It’s the same reason why no one but Australians enjoy the salty solace of Vegemite.
It is an acquired taste.
In my wisdom I am grateful that I never acquired a taste for frozen and processed foods, because in the end it is not ideal. It is laden with fat, salt, sugar and preservatives.
And here’s an idea, don’t let your kids acquire a taste for it either. You will be doing them a favour.
It might mean a little extra work for mum, but I think that it is the least you can do for your children. Start them with brown bread not white, don’t let your prejudice influence their palette. Try to use fresh veges and avoid frozen, you can taste the difference. Give them good cheese, not the processed plastic cheese we assume children prefer.
Let them acquire a taste for good food.
‘in response to the gastronomic apathy and consequent lowering of standards nationally…the Minister of Culture initiated la semaine du gout (The National Tasting Week). He set up a body expressly to go into schools and other institutions, not to teach anyone how to cook, but how to eat. This group might take with it a perfect baguette, an exquisite cheese, some local specialty cooked comme il fault (according to custom), some fruit and vegetables grown properly and picked when ripe, in the belief that if pupils, if people generally, tasted what was good, what was right, they would respect these traditions; by eating good food, they would want to cook it. And so the cycle continues.’
Nigella Lawson, 1998, How to Eat