‘Nasty Pink Ones’

The blog is back, and this time Nick Johnstone from our business development team reminisces on football matchday grub and asks the question; if ‘guilty’ food gives us pleasure, should we feel guilty? 

The FA Cup Final was always a big day in our household while I was growing up. I still remember a time when football was not on our televisions 24/7, so even with no allegiance to any of the teams, we always made the most of it. The TV coverage would start early morning right up until kick off at 3pm.

Around 1pm on that day, my dad would always cook up some hot dogs, fry off some onions and with a hint of ketchup and mustard we would have ourselves a treat. These were frankfurters, often found in a can and would be reserved solely for cup final day.

You see, on cup final day we were replicating that walk to the ground, where you could always smell the hot dogs, onions and the burgers. If you were wearing a scarf on a cold night, that smell
stuck to you.

Much to my wife’s despair I still insist that I have hot dogs “The nasty pink ones” on cup final day.  The hot dogs give me a great sense of nostalgia and I have an emotional attachment to them. However there is no hiding the fact that these hotdogs will be viewed as politically incorrect in the modern culinary world we enjoy and are lucky to work in.

I will be honest, I felt slightly embarrassed when they were in my shopping trolley, I even headed for the self-service checkout upon purchasing them, so as to keep my dinner anonymous from judging eyes.

I am not alone in my struggle with guilty pleasures. We all have them. My wife likes nothing more than crab sticks (especially after a few gins) but wouldn’t want me shouting about it. She even apologises when she does have them. She first had them when she was little and would go to the pub with her grandad. Back then a seafood man would come into the pub and sell polystyrene trays of prawns, crab sticks and cockles, eaten with wooden forks and smothered in vinegar and white pepper.

One of my best friends is an officer in the army and loves a Fray Bentos. After he returned home from a recent tour, he admitted to me that he told his team he was going straight to his mum’s for a home cooked meal. What he didn’t tell them, is that he had asked his mum to cook one of his favourite pies!

So why the shame? Do we really think eating these foods and their imaginary traits will in some way have a negative reflection on our character? Perhaps, if it was all we ate. Or has the rise of healthy eating, led to us morally judging food based on nutrition? Does everything we put in our mouth need to be “healthy” or “skinny”?

Guilt about food is something we do well in this country, it is part of our tortured relationship with it. Be it little secrets like my hot dogs, or trying to balance the diet and clean eating with the occasional treat.

Food is to be enjoyed, everything in moderation and if something’s a pleasure, it shouldn’t be guilty.


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