Given the nature of my job, people generally expect me to have a certain level of refinement when it comes to eating. And while this is generally correct – free-range meat, Buffalo mozzarella, dry-aged steak etc etc, there are also those little indulgences that I would prefer to keep under wraps. Actually that’s not true, since I’m about to share them with you all.
Because, no matter how sophisticated your palate, there are times when haute cuisine is not called for. There are times when only a packet of pork scratchings will do. Even the cheap, badly seasoned ones. And I’m not ashamed, because I also love all the acceptable bits of pork. When it comes to eating the noble pig, I’m all about equality.
And don’t tell anyone, but I actually went to Nando’s last night, and what’s more, I really enjoyed it. I think the trick to it is to have realistic expectations – don’t expect a taste explosion if what you’re going to eat is popping candy.
Other guilty pleasures, hmmm. There’s peanut butter with beans on toast – picked up in childhood from my father and never forgotten. Tinned tuna melted in a panini with cheese on a hangover. Heinz tomato soup with a little milk stirred into it when I’m feeling poorly. The reassuring hot chickeny blandness of a cup-a-soup on a bleak day in the office. I’ve even been known to munch a packet of Scampi Fries after a couple of drinks in the pub. Anti-social, I know.
Although people tend to gawp when they see me tucking into this sort of rubbish, I don’t mind. There’s something irresistibly comforting about processed food. In reality, I have a feeling it’s the e-numbers, but I prefer to haze it with nostalgia and say it reminds you of being little, when complex flavours didn’t really exist and these simple foods shaped your palate. Although I can’t imagine my mother ever EVER fed me tuna with cheese, but that’s hangovers for you.
Would anyone care to share their guilty pleasures with me?