And I don't mean Coca Cola though I am sure that for Coke afficionados the taste is real enough. No this blog post title is concerned with the failure of many modern day foods to live up to the memories of taste of foods of the same name say 40 years ago. I appreciate that the sharpness of mankind's taste buds fade with our age. Nonetheless there is a deterioration in the taste of many foods which seems unrelated to the age of the taster.
Take grapes for example. I am sure that greengrocer bought grapes wrapped in brown paper bags in the 1970s had more interesting taste than supermarket bought grapes encased in plastic trays do today. I was reminded of the loss of some delicious grape taste upon buying by chance recently some French Muscat grapes from an upmarket food shop in Wimbledon Village. As it happens the grapes were not expensive but they were delicious. The French probably take the delicious taste of some of their grapes for granted living as many do near to the vineyards but most grapes sold in UK supermarkets now taste little better than the plastic they are usually encased in.
Then there are fish and chips. The idea of Fish and Chips is usually quite appealing and with the Bishops of England and Wales enjoining the faithful in the pews to abstain from eating meat on Fridays - after a c.40 year gap - mrs maytrees and I recently supped from the fare provided by a local chippie. The meal fell well below expectations. I appreciate that fish stocks are precious and that there are other environmental issues not least those arising from the EU common fish policies but the quality of the fish was not I think the problem but rather the key disappointments in taste were those of the chips and batter. Potato chips these days may be mass produced and pre-processed before their final frying but whatever the reason their taste is hardly attractive. The ingredients used for the fish batter and possibly the use of vegetable oil rather than dripping for frying may render the dish more healthy but alas less tasty.
Sausages are another bete noir. At boarding school when aged about 10 one of the great culinary treats (and there were not many) was that of the winning team receiving chipolata sausages for tea. Being very rarely in the winning team, the 1960s chipolata sausage taste is imprinted in my memory. Today's chipolata sausage taste is mere pastiche by comparison.
On the other hand there are some tastes in C21 which are not bettered by the taste of similar products in the 1960s or 1970s. Coffee ranks high up on this list. One has to be lucky at supermarkets but the Taylors Columbia High Andes coffee is both delicious and not too dear. The Seattle Coffee House in Wimbledon used to serve delicious coffee but alas was taken over by the ubiquitous Starbucks a few years back. Starbucks coffee is not bad but is a little pricey and frothy for my taste.
Australian wine is another great taste now whereas years back its taste on average was nowhere near as good as that of average priced wines from France. Australia's Yarra Yerring though not cheap ranks among my favourite wine tastes of all time.
The convenience of a one stop supermarket shop has by and large come with a price tag which hits the palate hardest when compared with the old style shopping at the butcher baker greengrocer baker etc.