Monday, 23 June 2008
Feeding My Inner Child
Well I had no idea what to have for lunch so I thought I might as well walk around the supermarket we have near my office and what do you know, some of the snacks that I remember so well of my childhood days are still available on the supermarket shelves. So I bought three of them to fill the larder in my office as I have been somewhat peckish during office hours recently and it is time to be replenished, so what better with these snacks of my childhood. First up is this Chinese Danhua cake or peanut brittle. Basically a peanut filled confection, this was one of my favourite desserts after partaking of my savoury meals in my school tuck shop, which for those who may not have come across the word , the school canteen. But looking at the price nowadays, it will not be an affordable treat for the schoolkids as it cost a princely sum of forty cents a piece for what is an essentially a single gulp treat. My how inflation has affected even such simple snacks eh when it only cost me about five cents for a multi pack at the tuck shop. I must say however that the cake nowadays is a poor version of the old, as the sweet layering is now not as sweet and they are now quite stingy with the peanut filling. Another cost saving exercise to increase profits I guess. But hey for a ringgit sixty cents to relive your childhood it is okay right.
The next snack to refresh my nostalgia is this white rabbit candies. I actually made a mistake when buying this as I thought this was the savoury sweet prawn filled version, but instead this was the pure cream version. But beggars can't be choosers so this will have to do for the moment while I look for the savoury version. About this sweet creamy version, how should I describe it? Well to take into consideration our normal sweet experience, the closest that I can compare it to is a very sweet English toffee, that has its sweet content multiplied by at least ten-fold. I guess its ingredients of cane sugar, glucose, butter and milk approximates the toffee recipe closely, but what beats me is how they maintained the white colour of the confection. The Japanese has a close relation to this creamy candy but the Chinese version beats the Japanese hands down in terms of sweetness. I just remembered a controversy we had in my childhood days about the candy, in particular the rice paper wrapping that encloses the candy if you look closely at the photo. The controversy was whether it was edible or otherwise as everyone thought it was a plastic covering instead of the rice paper sheet it came in. I guess this was because at that time rice paper normally was thought of as something akin to spring roll skins, so to have such a thin layer of rice paper covering the sweet was quite beyond comprehension at the time as the wonders of machine made sweets has not sunk in yet. Remember it was still a time of mostly handmade candies so such machine made item was quite a novelty still. But then it sets you thinking, China was not such a backward country then eh as they could make this machined candy already at the time.
Last but not least is the cheese cracker peanut butter filled sandwich. Yeah I know this is a very common food item but I have to tell you that I have yet to find a brand that is as good as the one I had in my childhood days. At that time you do not have the sandwich packaged in such convenient packaging as we have nowadays. Instead you buy it by the pound where you weigh your measure out of a big cookie tin and it was then packed in a plastic bag and when you get home you have to find an air-tight container to keep it in. Cheese crackers was already a treat at the time but once in a while as a special treat the peanut butter sandwich version would be bought for the family. Yes people at the time it was a special treat and not a casual purchase as it is usually is nowadays. And you only had the peanut butter as a filling, and not cheese, strawberry or the myriad flavours you have nowadays. But I tell you the peanut butter was something else, really creamy and peanuty goodness. I pity those who are allergic to nuts, as this is one food that is really a food from the gods. Come to think of it, this now reminds me of the jar of peanut butter from China which has a thick layer of peanut (?) oil on top that you have to mix in the peanut butter when you open it, and the taste I tell you is quite heavenly. But let's keep this tale for another time in case I ever find again such a jar of peanut butter, okay.