We’re big fans of this series in which Giles Coren and Sue Perkins stuff themselves on food that has long gone out of fashion and this was the best edition so far.
What was good about it?
• Sue and Giles were as hilarious as their 1970s clobber, pulling faces, struggling to force in another mouthful, joking about food that may be been tasty but was largely tasteless (erect bananas anyone? or how about fish sandwich cake accompanied by Swedish birds nest with a nice raw egg in the middle?).
• The recreation of Abigail’s Party featuring Ritz crackers, a turquoise cocktail, black forest gateau drenched in kirsch, Joanna Monroe from That’s Life, a Pan’s People person and a man who used to be in Sailor (of course you remember Girls, Girls, Girls).
• To investigate wther the 1970s was “a decade of non-stop gateaux and indiscriminate sexual activity”, the pair popped in on some erstwhile swingers where asparagus tips were fed to each other and Rum Babas resembled fannies.
• Accomplished chef Mark Hix enthusiastically recreated the decade’s dishes, many of them based on Fanny Cradock’s crazy cookbook (her legendary blue boiled eggs didn’t make a showing; her green mashed potato did).
• The retro sweetshop scene where the pair stocked up on flying saucers, blackjacks and Golden Nuggets, Sue necked sherbet and they puffed on chocolate cigarettes which kids used to have to make do with until old enough to smoke properly.
• The recommendation from Len Deighton’s Action Cookbook that half a bottle of gin per two hours per person was the correct way to allocate booze at a party, stepping up to three quarters of a bottle afer four hours.
• Some fine music from the 1970s.
• Mmmmmm Angel Delight (which should have had Dream Topping dolloped on top to make it extra special). Mmmmmmm savoury pancakes. Mmmmmm boil-in-the-bag cod with Arctic Roll for sweet (it wasn’t dessert in those days).
What was bad about it?
• Seeing an X-ray of Giles’ stools wasn’t a pretty picture, even if it did make the point that 1970s folk ate 750 calories a day more than we do and defecated more.
• The best meals of the 1970s were missing. Where was Vesta Curry with its sultanas and yucky colouring? And how dare they overlook the delicacy that was bread and dripping!
• Giles’ manic chewing style, resembling a gluttonous bird.