Food: then and now

Is it just me, or does every single snack food on the market these days consist of wheat flour and sodium? I bought a pack of some cheesy flavoured snack biscuits the other day and was astounded at how much they tasted less like cheese, and more like salt. And I’m sure that they didn’t always taste this way.

You can listen to a song you heard years ago, being fairly certain that what you’re hearing now is pretty much what you heard then (only on better speakers these days). You can see a film you saw when you were a kid and you know you’re seeing the same people say the same things. You can ride an old bike, walk over an old bridge, pick up an old toy or slam your fingers into an old car door and be pretty sure you’re experiencing the same thing you experienced when you were a kid.

And this is the problem with taste. You can’t eat a shortbread cream from the early 80s. You can’t sample a packet of twisties from when you were in Year 7 compared to a packet of twisties you bought at the servo yesterday.

I would love the opportunity to sample a pack of Brockhoff’s BBQ Shapes from 20 years ago, compared to the Arnott’s BBQ Shapes I bought at Woolies the other day but haven’t opened yet. I’m certain that the ones back then would have so much more flavour than today’s.

It’s the kind of thing you find yourself second-guessing. We all know our taste buds change over the years, so it stands to reason that things are going to taste different decades later. And everyone says that nothing tastes the same as it did years ago. People say that fruit and veges don’t seem to be as flavorous as they used to. And I think they’re right.

Because all the strong flavours, I think, do taste the same as they used to. Salt still tastes like salt, sugar still tastes like sugar, vinegar still tastes like vinegar, as do bad instant coffee, treacle, lemon juice and postage stamps. But the everyday things and, I guess, things that have any amount of processing or ‘improved’ growing techniques involved, taste different. This includes pretty much all snack foods.

Except nuts. I think I might go and buy some nuts.

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