You have to be careful with nostalgia. It’s all too often just a rose-coloured telescope looking lovingly and longingly at a past that was never there.
Take the 1970’s. Yes, the summers were all long, hot and sunny. And children’s television was the best it’s ever been. Scotland even made a World Cup finals. But the food could be truly awful.
Supermarkets were experimenting with convenience foods. Dehydrated dishes started coming in packets and ready-meals from the freezer section. The frozen crispy pancake made its first appearance, filled with a super-heated goo that seared the tastebuds. The Vesta packet curry was considered the height of culinary sophistication.
Eating out was even more of an oddity. A glass of fruit juice was offered as a choice of starter, deep fried roast chicken was served in a basket, everything came with chips and the frozen pea was the only vegetable you saw.
The star of the 1970’s eating out show was the prawn cocktail and everywhere served it. It came, always, in a Paris goblet. If you were lucky, it was passable, but all-too-often it was prawns in battery-acid sharp, heavily ketchuped sauce on a bed of soggy iceberg lettuce. And as if the pH level wasn’t enough to burn a hole in your stomach, a wedge of lemon was plonked on the top.
But anything that lingers so long in the memory eventually makes a come-back, gets a re-boot or a re-make and is tarted up for another go. Just so the prawn cocktail. And it’s great! What’s not to like about prawns, a deliciously zingy sauce and lovely salad? Just how we remember it…