Plank – Mark II

Posted on June 17, 2013



Yesterday, in an unexpected window of sunshine, we spent the evening in the garden. George was even more buoyant than usual with the prospect of the next 3 days ‘outward bounding’ in the Peak District. He devised various activities including decorating himself and his bike with tree branches and becoming ‘Tree Boy’ and his trusty tree-cycle.

Anyone would think that it was him drinking the fizzy wine, not us.

We lit the fire pit and spread a selection of antipasti on the plank that Ed made for just such occasions.

When I was a kid, the sight of some of the things we eat now would have sent me running. At the age of 11, in the early eighties, I think I might have just about ventured into the vicinity of a lasagne and possibly even a boil in the bag chicken supreme, but ours was far from an adventurous diet. The most thrilling thing would be to convince Mum not to cook casserole today, but allow us to have Findus Crisy Pancakes; a fake orange breadcrumbed parcel of mouth-searing goop. A similar coup would be to score a Heinz Toast Topper. A tiny tin of savouriness that you spread on toast and grilled until it reached the temperature of the sun. We had simple needs.

Interesting food had not reached middle class, middle England. It was quite an event buying great long packets of spaghetti wrapped in faded blue sugar paper. I can’t even remember what we ate it with, but it all felt very foreign. My brother remembers Mum and Dad occasionally returning late at night from a dance with indian takeaway that they had picked up on the way home. They had no idea what they were ordering so returned with bags of vindaloo and madras curries. I must have blanked this out from my memory as I don’t recall it at all, I just remember raiding the cupboards to try and pep up our evening by making bowls full of icing, colouring it blue with food colouring and covering it with silver balls and hundreds and thousands.

Children (especially children of those that love food the way we do) are exposed to so many different cultures, tastes and textures now. George declared last night “I’m going to try everything that’s on this board tonight, even the things I don’t normally like” so he ate piquante peppers stuffed with cheese, Serrano ham, nocarella olives, pepper berries, all sorts of things that I would never even had heard of at his age, let alone been able to try without gagging.

My point is…I think I had a point. Oh yes, it makes me wonder what our children will have experienced when they are the ones preparing dinner. What new food and drink will they have discovered when we are the ones that become set in our ways? Will they look back and think us narrow-minded and strange with our ‘eating off a plank’ phase?

While we are still in the antipasti phase though, Ed has developed the new improved: Plank II.

Do you like it?

I like it.

I wish it was mine….but it was made as a present for my brother Mark’s birthday.

Maybe future generations will find it and ponder what on earth it was used for as they laugh at our old-fashioned ways and tuck into their crazy space food.