When I was a wee boy, I decided that, as soon as I grew up, all my meals would be sweeties. No more luncheon meat, liver or, worse still, vegetables for me.
Now that I’ve almost grown up, the same thought occurred the other day. Wondering what to get in for my tea, my mind groaned at the thought of the usual two or three meats that form the basis of my diet.
I was vegetarian, or pescatarian, for four or five years and never quite became comfortable again with handling meat. Not really a carnivore deep down, d’you see? But I can’t stand vegetables by and large, which makes vegetarianism a trifle – if that’s the word – difficult. Not really a herbivore, d’you see?
I’m a sweetievore. That said, I don’t eat many sweets now. For a specific health reason, but not lactose intolerance (which I don’t have), I avoid dairy products, and nearly all chocolate sweets have milk in them. Indeed, you might be surprised to learn that nearly all our manufactured foodstuffs have milk in them.
But, still, there are enough dark chocolates and whatnot for the occasional treat and, once my health picked up on the sweetie diet, I’m sure I could start to incorporate items with milky bits in them.
Back in childhood, I recall the vast, diverse, colourful choice that presented itself before us as we stood at the sweetie counter excitedly holding our coins.
Crunchie, Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Revels, Smarties, Fruit Pastilles, Caramac, Milky Bar, Macaroon Bar, Mintola, Munchies, Tootie Frooties. Jelly Tots, Bounty, Liquorice Allsorts, Spangles, Treets, Curly Wurly! Each had its own virtues and delights. There’s another one: Turkish Delight.
I even enjoyed a Twix, though it strayed perilously close to biscuit territory. Such fantastic, fun and interesting names. Milky Way! I used to wonder why they’d named the astronomical phenomenon after a sweetie, before I realised a couple of months ago that it was the other way around.
Mars Bars: always seemed something grown up about them. Tough, substantial, kinda macho, though they were knocked off that perch when Yorkie Bars came along.
I haven’t even touched on all the boiled sweets that used to be weighed into paper bags: pineapple cubes, soor plooms, toffee doddles, acid drops (ooh, bitter lemon). That was my 1960s: I never dropped acid, but I did do acid drops.
Just think: on the sweeties diet, there’d be no more cooking. No more gross lumps of animal or bird sitting dolefully in the fridge. And it would all taste so sweet and lovely. Alas, if it tastes nice it’s bad for you, and if it tastes bad it’s good for you. What a way to run a planet.
I guess there’d be a price to pay in vitamin deficiency and mangled teeth. But, counter-intuitive as it sounds, you might lose weight. Eating sweeties would put you off your tea.
Recently, after scoffing a massive bag of salted peanuts, I found I didn’t really feel like my tea, so just had a smaller portion. Didn’t even have any tatties: incredible!
What’s that you say? The sweeties diet sounds like a load of mince? Yes, I expect so. And I know that, after a while, I’d start pining for a sausage. Still, it’s food for thought, eh?