Have you ever noticed how we tend to sublime things we look back fondly on? How you always remember things as being so much better than they actually were?
The other day, I bought a 99 flake from an ice-cream van. The flake was rock hard, the ice-cream pretty boring and the cone was like wet cardboard. And I realised that it had always been the case, that cult figure of my childhood had always been a boring blob of white-flavoured ice-cream dumped in a cardboard cone, with a stick of chocolate shoved into it to make it look interesting. You know what? The flake does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t actually make the thing any nicer, because all you do is pull it out and eat it straight away. And then you’re left with the cold white blob in a vaguely edible carton.
There are so many childhood favourites that I missed – maybe even more once they became unavailable suddenly when I moved to France in my early teens – that I have tried again recently and been crushed by their lack of conformity to my memories. Battenburg cake, fondant fancies, sherbert fountains (I’ve never liked licquorice, what was I thinking?), turkish delight, those iced biscuit ring things… They all turned out to be too sweet, too sharp, or just completely different to what I remembered.
Actually, forget the clouds of childhood recollection warping your perspective, what about cupcakes? I mean look at them! They sit there, all innocent looking, charming you with the alluring curves of their sexy, coloured icing, and their liberal doses of sprinkles, egging you on and buttering you up until you succumb to their loveliness. So you buy one, and you bite into it, and all you get is a nose covered in sickly sweet butter icing and a mouth full of cake that will ineffably turn out to be too dry, too sweet or completely the wrong flavour. And not content with pulling this cunning trick once, these satanic lovebuns seem to contain some form of brain-control drug that makes you instantly forget about any previous disappointment on sight and allows them to fool you again and again!
People of the interwebs, we must unite to fend off the falsehoods of these cunning foodstuffs! We must say no to the enticing sugars and alluring colours, set aside the false memories and defend the temples that are our bodies from the ranks of the sweet! Rise up, friends, companions! Rise up and…
Ooh, is that a cupcake!?