In 1972 Angel Delight is a magical new food and we’re making Angel Delight tart for our lesson on Convenience Foods.
I’ve told them to bring in the flavour of their choice or a packet mix of something that they think saves cooking time.
Instant goodies line up on my table. What a feast we are going to have.
Packets of Instant Whip, Bird’s Chocolate Blancmange, and Green’s Sponge mix.
Someone’s even bought in an empty packet of Vesta Beef Curry which still has a whiff of curry powder when you sniff the cardboard carton. What an introduction to the foods of India, and so easy to cook by just adding water to the dried ingredients!
I’ve added to the collection with an empty can of Campbell’s Condensed Mushroom Soup which we use straight from the can as a vol-au-vent filling, a packet of Quick Jel, a can of Carnation Evaporated Milk, bottles of Heinz Salad Cream and Tomato Ketchup and a packet of Butterscotch Angel Delight.
I’m so in love with Angel Delight, especially the butterscotch flavour. What a magical new product this is! All you do is add milk to the powder, then whisk until it thickens to peaks of buttery, sugary, foamy chemical alchemy. What could it be made from? Why should I care? There’s no ingredients’ list, just claims of deliciousness, which I fully support. I sent a coupon for a free packet to my mother and urged her to try it as it takes under a minute to make. She hasn’t mentioned it in any of her letters and I wonder if she’s thinking ‘muck’ like she did for my French dressing.
For the students who haven’t brought anything to cook, although cook is rather a grand term for this lesson, I’ve bought in some ready baked pastry shells, and they’ll fill them with different flavours of Angel Delight – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and the perfect butterscotch. We’ll sprinkle Hundreds and Thousands on the top – another brilliant new product that comes in loads of bright colours and gives a crunchy, sugary topping to this delicious dish. My mother would be horrified.
Alan puts his hand up as the rest get ready.
‘Yes Alan – what now?’
We’re impatient to get on and Alan can ask irritating questions.
‘Miss, me mum says you’re supposed to teach us cooking, not opening packets.’
The others nod wisely, but remain quiet. In my lessons they like the mystery of making things from scratch yet at lunchtime they pop into my room with their instant food.
‘Can I mix this packet soup with hot water, miss, for me lunch?’
But Alan needs an answer.
‘Look, all of you. We have to learn about convenience foods and things like Angel Delight are perfect for easy to make puddings.’
My brain cells scream a question. There is no food yet invented that looks remotely like the creamy, soft foam of butterscotch Angel Delight. It is not a convenient way of inventing anything, just a spectacular triumph on its own.
The electric beaters are busy frothing the powder and milk into foamy peaks.
‘Pile the Angel Delight into the pastry then come round for a mark.’
A mark is a joke for following instructions from a packet of chemistry but we’re eager to eat.
Sylvia puts the kettle on for tea and eases a slice of pastry with beige topping onto my plate. A spoonful of froth melts in my mouth and fills it with caramelly flavours. Thankyou Mr Food Chemist for this taste sensation.
Nutritional value of this pudding – bah humbug! Who cares!