Some favourite foods: avocado, chocolate, potato, chicken – OK, shades of Nigel Slater, but wotthehell, archie, wotthehell…
Hass avocado for choice – the ones with the knobbly dark skins. Richer flavour and texture, easier to peel, not so difficult to ripen, tending to have smaller stones in relation to the amount of fruit. None of the fancy stuff, thanks (if life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, then it’s definitely too short to torture an avocado). Spooned out with mayonnaise for preference, though very good in salads and sandwiches, of course. Mmmmmm…
Dark chocolate rather than milk or white, although I do love frozen Cadbury’s Caramel* bars and my newsagent keeps a consignment of them in the freezer for me! I’m enough of a chocoholic that I’m not that keen on things made with chocolate, either – there is no substitute for eating the real thing, though I have been known to eat chocolate sandwiches. Sachertorte, brownies, or a rich chocolate mousse are about the best of the exceptions; I don’t like chocolate ice-cream, and think chocolate yoghourt is an abomination!
*Caramel is another favourite, come to think of it
The potato is a wondrous thing, God wot. Chips, jacket potatoes, crisps, mashed, roast, steamed…though I do think getting the right variety for the purpose is important.
Marshall’s potato prejudices: floury potatoes for mashed and jacket (though Cyprus new are OK for jacket). I still buy King Edwards for choice, since if they’re sliced thin, cooked and drained, a lazy cook like me can add a bit of butter and milk and just turn a fork round the pan a few times to get mash, and none of all this cafuffle with ricers, mashers, processors etc. Waxy potatoes (Charlotte, Nicola, Carlingford) for everything else.
Potatoes to avoid, in my not-so-humble opinion: Arran Pilot, Nadine, Estima – all totally tasteless, and Estima seem to take forever to cook, too
I prefer chips to french fries (and definitely don’t count the reconstituted ones you get in burger establishments). I don’t eat crisps very often, but it’s usually salt and vinegar when I do – and no, not balsamic vinegar, for heaven’s sake, nor have I ever got my teeth round all this ‘smoked chicken tikka barbecue cocktail flavour’ rubbish. Mashed potatoes are wonderful provided they’re made with the right kind of potatoes and aren’t processed to death, and can always be added to with garlic, cheese etc. Roast potatoes aren’t actually my favourite form, as they are with so many people – I’d always rather eat baked garlic potatoes or even steamed spuds with mint and butter if we’re talking accompaniments to a joint of meat. Oh, and I always prefer to put some potato in a curry, since apart from liking the taste, it means I can use the water from cooking them in making the curry – nice glossy finish.
Chicken – as long as it’s been allowed to lead a normal life, that is, so it has some flavour and texture, as well as sitting rather better with my conscience. As a child I usually requested a birthday meal of cold chicken, with strawberries for ‘afters’, and I still marginally prefer cold chicken to hot. A good chicken curry with lots of turmeric takes a lot of resisting, though, as does chicken cooked in just about any white wine/ mushroom/ butter sauce.
This drool-fest has probably been brought on by a lunch consisting of convenient but not good quality food – some rather uninspired sandwiches bought in a hurry after a meeting that took up most of the middle of the day.