I was having a conversation with some friends recently about our favourite desserts. Some people favoured quite fancy desserts, some liked nice comfort desserts like warm sticky toffee pudding with ice cream.. then someone said two little words… Angel Delight.
Yes, Angel Delight, that flavoured powder found in a packet, mixed with milk. It sounds disgusting when you describe it, but it is, quite simply, lovely. I have long been derided for always having a couple of packets of Angel Delight in my kitchen cupboard. Friends always seem to be disgusted/amazed when they see it in there but I won’t hear a word against it. I love it. It takes seconds to make, its cheap as chips and its tasty. I’m not sure how much of that is down to actual taste, or nostalgia though.
Angel Delight evokes wonderful childhood memories for me. My brothers and I loved when my mum brought it out after our dinner. My favourite was, and still is, butterscotch, although I also love strawberry. I don’t eat it regularly, but when I’m feeling a bit down, it always makes me feel better.
The Irish comedian Dylan Moran, was quoted as saying, “You know it’s a sad day when your child looks at you and asks ‘Daddy, are these organic?’” “Organic? I grew up on Angel Delight. We didn’t have anything in the house if it wasn’t neon!”
Angel Delight will always have a place in my kitchen cupboard and a special place in my heart. And I defy any 80s child who doesn’t at least have fond memories of it, even if they don’t eat it as a grown up. Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion. For those of us who grew up in the 70s & 80s, salt and vinegar crisp packets will always be blue, and cheese and onion will always be green…
When I think back to my meals, growing up, there always seemed to be some kind of alphabet-inspired aspect. Be it, Heinz Alphabetti Spaghetti or Bird’s Eye Alphabites…
Many a meal was spent with my brothers, trying to spell our names on our plates. Bird’s Eye Waffles often made an appearance on our plates too…
I also loved my 90s biscuits. Trio’s and Orange Club’s would often pop up in my packed lunch box.
And lets not forget Party Rings and Iced Gems…
There were also some great sweets in the 80s. I don’t really have a taste for sweets nowadays but when I was very young I loved taking my pocket money to the corner shop to stock up on sweets. I would skip down the road with my 50p burning a hole in my pocket. I would buy a 10p mixture (that would get you quite a lot for your money in those days), a Double Dip, some Space Dust…
I adored Wham Bars but I think they were the main contributor to my dental problems! I ended up with a lot of fillings as a child and I blame Wham Bars entirely. Oh yes, and Irn Bru bars. I doubt these were found outside Scotland but I ate my fair share when I was young. If you’re feeling nostalgic by now, I know you can still buy some of these sweets from specialised websites.
Saying that, I haven’t been able to find one of my favourite sweets anywhere…Dinosour Eggs…
They came in a black box (one per box). They were very hard, came in different colours and shaped like eggs. As you sucked on them, they turned different colors and at the end you were left with a little egg that had a powdery/sour tasting centre. Amazing. When I mentioned them to my brother the other day he said, “Perhaps the greatest sweet ever, I’d kill for one!”
When it came to crisps, my favourites were pickled onion flavoured Space Raiders which were 10p. I still love them and buy them whenever I see them, although they now cost 20p. Space Raiders have even made it to Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Raiders which explains the outcry when the makers raised the price.
When it came to ice cream, my favourite was a Feast. In those days my family used to take our summer holidays in the West coast of Scotland. We had a tiny holiday house on one of the islands and we would spend six weeks there, cycling, playing crazy golf, building sand castles on the beach…we loved it. Every Friday night my dad would go to the local cafe and buy ice cream for the family. Everyone had different requests. Mine was the same every time (I’m a creature of habit)…“Chocolate Feast please dad! Not the mint one, the chocolate one!”
Other ice-related delights included Funny Feet, 2 Ball Screw Balls (the balls at the bottom were bubble gum…amazing!), Artic Roll and Vienetta. My dad still eats Vienetta now. Every time I go home to my parents and peak inside the freezer, it warms my heart a little bit to see a box of Vienetta in there.
Talking of ice cream, one of my favourite childhood memories is Ice Magic…
I absolutely loved Ice Magic. There were different flavours but I liked the plain chocolate and the orange ones best. I would always dig little holes in my ice-cream so I could have pools of Ice Magic hardening into little nuggets of chocolate. I didn’t even need ice cream to enjoy it. My mum would often enter the kitchen and find me, head back, holding the bottle above my mouth and squeezing the chocolate directly into my mouth. Yes, I was a pig! God knows how I didn’t get fat.
Another very 80s treat was Battenburg cake. A sponge cake covered in marzipan. When cut in cross section, displays a pink and yellow check pattern. I am not a lover of marzipan so I never liked this but I have been
made persuaded to add it to this post for my lovely friend Carmen.
The 70s were the decade where convenience food really came into its own. Suddenly, mashed potato was available in packets…
Even fizzy drinks were able to be made at home with the invention of SodaStream…
This was one of the most exciting things my dad ever brought home! With its “Get busy with the fizzy” tagline, every house had a SodaStream. I loved making Coca Cola and Irn Bru at home, but like most gadgets, we soon lost interest and it ended up collecting dust at the back of a cupboard. SodaStream seemed to disappear when we entered the 90s but a retro-revival brought it back in 2010.
Another product to ‘return’ was Cadbury’s Wispa…
Wispa’s were launched nationally in 1983 but were discontinued in 2003, as part of a relaunch of the Cadbury Dairy Milk brand. It was relaunched as ‘Dairy Milk Bubbly‘ and reshaped as a standard moulded bar, similar to other Dairy Milk products. However, in 2007, an internet campaign was launched to bring the Wispa bar back. It worked! In 2008 , the Wispa returned to shops in the UK.
And then there are the drinks we all used to love, and their adverts!
And this, my favourite advert for Coca Cola. I actually recorded this on a VHS tape so I could watch it over and over, before the invention of You Tube.
When I first had the thought to write about foods from my childhood, I emailed my brothers and my friends asking them for their favourite childhood food memories. I also asked on Twitter and was promptly deluged with emails and tweets from friends, family and fellow food bloggers, all taking great delight in telling me what they loved. I found it really interesting that most people mentioned the same products, most of which are mentioned above. The oddest reply was from one of my brothers who used to love St Ivel Gold on his bread!
Personally, I always hated St Ivel Gold. To me it tasted like liquid plastic. But I said I would add it to this post for him.
I hope I’ve managed to make you smile with this post, I certainly had a lot of fun writing it! And I hope I’ve included some of your favourites.