Thursday, 21 April 2011

How Do You Eat Yours?

When I was growing up, this question was always asked by my peers. Sometimes it led to tears, for in eating a Cadbury's Crème Egg, there were quirks. My novel approach best so I thought. Treating it like a boiled egg – top bitten off, inner fondant goo scooped out with a spoon, its solid chocolate shell saved till last. Every sticky bit a massive sugar hit. Next on my list, Kinder Surprise. The combination of milk and white chocolate really worked. A delicate and creamy texture, one was simply never another. The incentive, the toy contained inside. The DIY kit, no father's delight. What child, (or adult!), has the patience to create the ridiculous tiny toy? They got it wrong – the chocolate was the prize.

You get the idea, I was a child chocoholic- an 80s chocolate fiend. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory's Augustus Gloop does not compare. I'm ashamed to admit, chocolate was almost in everything and everywhere. Chocolate Buttons, Animal bars, Maltesers (chocolate nibbled off first), Spirals, Flakes, Aeros (frothy bubbles on the tongue), and Dairy Milk Tray Orange Cremes. Polishing off half a Sara Lee Gateau, a well-known feat. The source of gentle ribbing. I remember the taste and smell so well, like it was only yesterday, not 15+ years ago. My indulgence too much for I gave it all up, on course with going veggie.

Why all this talk about chocolate? Because the Easter Parade is here – it's been in the shops for a while. Easter bunnies, fluffy chicks and eggs of all sizes, hollow or filled with candy. I know it's not what Easter's about, but this is commercial enterprise. In a kid's mind, Easter equals chocolate and treasure hunts. Vegetarianism, a new healthy start, changed all that for me. Gelatine, a typical ingredient in candy. A boiled gruel of animal ligaments, skins, tendons and bones. I wasn't impressed it contained this and alternatives then were few. I weaned myself off, discovering healthier snacks in the process. Now a matter of choice, a preference to go without. My sweet tooth AWOL. Not missing the taste, a chocolaty smell enough of a fix, and feeling saintly for it.

Now when I ask: “How do you eat yours?”, I'm referring to proper hen's eggs, not those wrapped in gold paper. I have a reply, but it throws up a whole new dilemma. Boiled, poached, scrambled, fried, with ketchup, soldiers or eggy bread. I enjoy an egg on the odd occasion, reminding me of Summer Holidays by the sea. A breakfast wasn't breakfast without an egg, so Nan said. Buying what she thought was free-range from her local farm shop, until one day she chanced behind and saw not all those laying roamed free. Misled by these antics, she voted with her feet and didn't buy there again. Eggs are a whole other debate. Is free range any better? A contribution still made to the meat trade. I don't have the answer. Eating eggs less, but unable to, I confess entirely separate the yolk from the white.