Sunday, 6 March 2016

Pomegranates and Spaghetti

I bought a tub of pomegranate seeds earlier and I had the strangest thought - when I was younger I couldn't have done this. Pomegranates weren't in season so how could I have bought them? It's a little bit odd that, when I was growing up, we were stuck with growing seasons and things like that and pomegranates were only available at the end of September and early October, maybe for about four weeks, and now we can have them whenever we want. When did the world change?

I remember my mother always buying us a pomegranate in September/October and I loved them. That's when they were imported into the country from the exotic lands where they grew on trees. Now, you can buy them all year round and I frequently buy little tubs of pomegranate seeds from local supermarkets. But I only buy a whole pomegranate in September/October. I know they're piled up in markets and supermarkets all year round now but I don't buy them. Some things are important. I saw my first pomegranate trees in Marrakech in Morocco in the mid '90s. That was really quite exciting.

Other foods we now consider everyday were once exotic a well. I didn't eat real pasta until the early '80s because it simply wasn't what ordinary working class people ate. Yes, I'd eaten 'Alpha-betty Spaghetti' out of a tin as a 'fun' food but that's that. I first ate real spaghetti in an 'as much as you can eat' Italian restaurant in Cardiff in the early '80s.  Pizzas became normal when I started living in London and that's when I discovered pulses and rices, chick peas and kidney beans.

I suspect, at least in part, it's an age thing as well as a technological thing, being able to transport foodstuffs still fresh from around the world whenever you want. My parents grew up with rationing from the Second World War and that continued into the '50s when my parents tastes were formed so that's what I inherited in the '60s and '70s. It was in the '80s when I experimented and found new things to eat - particularly as a vegetarian - that expanded my diet into more exotic foodstuffs that are now everyday foods.

I suppose it's odd to think of a time when pasta and rice weren't everyday foodstuffs in this country but they weren't when I grew up. The world moves on and things change but let's not forget the old days. Mind you, I have a tub of pomegranate seeds in the fridge destined for my tum shortly!

No comments: