Sandra Dick: Appalling retro food back on menu

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It was sometime in 1972, arithmetic class and Mrs Marshall – who worked a well-upholstered tweed suit and tight bun with all the style of the deranged headmistress from Matilda – had spotted a naughty girl with what may have been a packet of sweets.

Terrified, I (for that girl was, naturally, your disaster-prone columnist) decided to destroy the evidence. With a gulp, back went the sweet and I braced myself for interrogation.

Unfortunately said sweet was a fizzy cola Spangle. Much as I still enjoy the occasional boiled sweet, even now I can feel it lodged awkwardly at the back of my throat, fizzing away merrily while my eyes watered, mouth foamed and Mrs Marshall’s imposing figure loomed.

Today the mere mention of Spangles makes me want to cry, but they weren’t the worst the Seventies had to offer. That honour goes to Black Jacks and Fruit Salad chews, handy only if you had a particularly stubborn but loose milk tooth which required immediate extraction.

From Vesta curries which competed with their cardboard packaging over which was more nutritional to Rise and Shine’s powdered E numbers which you mixed with water for something orange in colour but which tasted like I imagine diesel might if licked from a stagnant dirty puddle, Seventies food and drink was dire.

Theory: we were all relatively thin back then simply because the food was so rank, you couldn’t bring yourself to eat, which makes it so odd that Seventies’ nosh is tickling so many folks’ taste buds now.

Retro favourites are flying off supermarket shelves. Sales of tinned sponge puddings, snacks like Space Invaders and Skips and staples like chicken Kievs are outselling fancy modern offerings.

German Riesling wine, glugged by students to the sounds of Yes albums droning in the background, is trendy again. Some foods have even been recreated to meet demand, like Funny Feet ice cream and Burton’s Fish ‘n’ Chips snacks.

Stranger still is that when offered the option of any dessert they might want from the chill cabinet, a rising number of shoppers opt instead for modified starch, hydrogenated vegetable oil, propylene glycol monostearate and sodium pyrophosphate, aka Angel Delight.

Some say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. But I do wonder if this love affair with all things retro suggests we’re not exactly in love with the present?

Or maybe a boiled egg curry followed by some fruit suspended in gelatine really will do us just fine?