What is it about sweets and biscuits that they can evoke the most potent of childhood memories? And yet one person’s vivid recollection is another person’s “eh nup, can’t recall that at all”!
Last week I was thrilled to discover a packet of biscuits called Romany Creams in a local shop (bizarrely this was a butcher’s shop that caters for the Caribbean community). Gypsy Creams were a staple of the biscuit box when I was a kid because a) they were cheap and b) us kids were enthralled by any chocolate biccy (custard creams and tea biscuits were the usual alternatives). I don’t recall when Gypsy Creams disappeared from the supermarket shelves but I’m certain I haven’t seen one in at least two decades. Seems others have been searching for them, too.
So despite the hefty £2.66 price tag (and what should have been the red flag warning of transfat free), I snapped up the Romany Creams. Reader, they were rank. They smelled like Gypsy Creams – what a tease – but tasted dry and flavour-free. I was gutted. The aroma was so tantalising, transporting me back to the early 70s in an instant, but leaving me flat when the taste failed to ignite my tastebuds.
I started reminiscing on Facebook about another great sweet treat of my childhood, Bunty Sponges, and was met with blank reactions by just about everyone. Anyway, I remember them! They were like Farley’s Rusks, only not for babies, and my mum used to break them up to use as the base for her trifles.
So in the spirit of remembering great food (and other things) that you no longer get, here’s my (current) top 5 things I’d like brought back, if only for a wee while.
1. Texan Bars A great big chewy, chocolate covered treat, Texan Bars were a superb sweet to buy cos they were so chewy, they lasted ages. The advert was cracking too. They also gave rise to one of the greatest comedy moments of my entire life, involving an Austin Allegro, my sweet-toothed dad, my wee sis and a Milky Way.
2. Top of the Pops BBC Four is keeping the Pops alive with its Friday night re-runs but come on, we need this show back and we need it now. Fair enough, I’m now at the age where I’d do that annoying running commentary so beloved of our parents: “That’s just whining, not singing.” “Has she lost her hairbrush?” “Is that a boy or a girl?” But who cares?! Give me TOTP on a Thursday night at half 7 and I’ll be a happy bunny.
3. Pacers A spearmint chew that was a mint version of Opal Fruits (and don’t get me started on renaming stuff!). White with three green stripes, they were a refreshing and cheap treat.
4. Robinson Crusoe during the summer holidays Everyone under the age of 50 will instantly know this theme tune. An absolute staple of telly viewing during school holidays (in the days when telly used to start at 11am with Playschool, then shut down until teatime!), Robinson Crusoe was dialogue free and in black and white – and yet we loved it. While we’re at it, we’ll have the Banana Splits and Daktari too. Oh and Tarzan with Ron Ely. It’s not much to ask, there’s a million channels out there – let’s have one called Nostalgia TV.
5. Trio chocolate biscuits – another biccie with a brilliant advert, a Trio was really chocolately and had to be consumed with a very large cup of tea.
Seriously, I could be here all day but over to you – let me know what stuff from your childhood you remember most fondly and would love to bring back.