One of the most queried ’30 before 30′ items is absolutely the ‘eat a pot noodle sandwich’! It was one of the suggested entrants but one that I immediately added. The idea behind it is that it represents the kind of food you eat as a teenager or in your twenties, the type of food you happily scoff as a child but when you get to your thirties, that sort of food starts to seem unpalatable (if it hadn’t become so already!).
Now I’m fully aware that some people never enjoy things like pot noodles and likewise some people carry on enjoying them, so from that point of view, I am on this subject, generalising. As a general rule, our taste buds develop as we get older. Don’t think yours have? Grab yourself a children’s drink and have a taste – much sweeter than you remember? They’re not, your tongue has just evolved. As in many parts of life, your tastes and preferences change, and when it comes to food, foods with bitter tastes are more popular with older people.
I love food, I love experimenting with food, I often re-try things I didn’t like as a child as I enjoy new meals and delicacies that would otherwise be lacking had I not given them another try in adulthood. But as my palate develops, it’s not just additions that I’ve noticed; as the pot noodle sandwich proved – some things get deleted! I used to have a pot noodle at least once a week; on Wednesday afternoons, we went swimming as part of ‘Games’ at school, and after swimming we’d either go via Burger King or grab a pot noodle. My personal flavours of choice included the classic chicken and mushroom, and then sweet and sour for those days that I felt frivolous. Without realising, years had past since my last pot noodle experience.
For this challenge I picked up the classic chicken and mushroom from our local Tesco, with two slices of buttered bread. A little wave of nostalgia washed over me as I picked out the little sachet of soy sauce as I thought back to the more regular pot noodle days, the golden era of snacking if you will..! More the experiences I had in those days rather than the food items themselves of course but still, the smell, the pot itself, definitely took me back!
I sat down to tuck into my feast, and… well. It wasn’t good! It was very salty, with a horrible texture and tasted…well, unhealthy is the best way to describe it! But not in an indulgent, ‘ooh I know I shouldn’t have a curry tonight but I’m going to treat myself’, kind of way, in a ‘how does anyone eat these’, sort of way.
Does it mean I’m growing up? God I hope not, I revel in regularly indulging and encouraging my inner child. But there was a strange sense of peace in officially putting things like pot noodle sandwiches behind me!
These days, the heady heyday of things like Turkey Twizzlers and Sunny D are much less the norm as the importance of home cooked natural food is at the forefront of public consciousness. I’m sure Scarlett will come across her fair share of rubbish food and I’m certainly not going to ban foods. We homemake our food from scratch and will ensure she has a healthy diet, but that will not stop chocolate and sweets being around; and the only people I know who have a really unhealthy relationship with food (excluding those with an emotional reasoning) are those that had them banned and then therefore gorged on them when inevitably exposed to them. (Again this is a generalisation so apologies to those to whom this reasoning doesn’t apply). I was brought up with the ‘everything in moderation’ motto, and it’s a message that I intend to carry on, nothing banned, and therefore nothing overtly tempting. If Scarlett grabs the odd pot noodle, or every so often treats herself to an all you can eat buffet, we won’t have any big lectures for her, we can’t – it would make us huge hypocrites! And as she approaches her thirties, chances are she’ll no longer be downing litres of cherryade and popping candy, she too will discover that that much sugar will start to only cause headaches and the sugar crashes will be much more affecting than the sugar rushes!
I’m nearly thirty and I’m a new Mum so I’m also considering my health much more; trying to cut down on caffeine, keeping the sugar and saturated fats down to a very small percentage of my daily intake. Still not banning any foods but certainly starting to consider my heart, cholesterol and internal organs (not to mention that without a healthy diet, there’s no way I could keep up with our busy lifestyle!).
So I had a pot noodle sandwich, and acknowledge the change in that side of my life. My husband and I both agreed that actually we embrace the change, we both quite enjoy the lure of thirties and everything that decade brings. Discussing different food tastes then lead to discussions about how much more comfortable in our own skin we both feel. But the head space of a thirty year old is a whole new subject matter and no doubt a whole new blog entry! So the loss of things like pot noodles is not one I’m going to mourn.
It’s another tick on the list and strangely makes me feel one step closer to that leap into a new decade! It was refreshing, it was re-affirming, it was…well it was revolting but symbolically it was quite the experience! And all this from a simple pot noodle!!