I bet youâ€™ve often heard people say how junk food products they remember from childhood â€œdonâ€™t taste the same anymoreâ€. My mother used to say it about a particular brand of energy drink, my father about a particular brand of chocolate biscuit. My great-grandfather used to say it about Coca-Cola (well, he was right there, the cocaine content has definitely been severely reduced since his day). Maybe youâ€™ve said it yourself.
But the fact is, these junk foods havenâ€™t changed, you have. Your palate grows as you get older and leave childhood behind. As you experience a greater variety of food you begin to appreciate the delicate nuances and subtle flavours of what you eat more and more. You no longer require or enjoy a plate of sledgehammer burger anymore because your palate has expanded, improved and evolved. Itâ€™s part of the process of becoming an adult, knowing when to leave childish things behind, outgrowing them naturally.
On the other hand, you have the slovenly, quite literally lumpen proles who donâ€™t know any better because somewhere along the line their ancestors didnâ€™t make the necessary leaps that yours did. These are the TV addicts, the welfare leeches, the chicken-tikka-lasagne eaters (yes such a culinary abomination really does exist). They think a tuna steak is â€œposhâ€ because you donâ€™t eat it with ketchup. They feed their fat children potato chips for breakfast and microwave fries for dinner. They angrily defend this lifestyle by saying theyâ€™re giving their kids what they want, healthy food is too expensive, accusing you of being an elitist snob, blah blah blah.
Then you have the hipsters who eat junk because itâ€™s ironic. They sit on the internet youtubing 1980â€™s Transformers cartoons, eating pickled onion flavour Monster Munch and sipping Um Bongo fruit juice, squinting through their tinted non-prescription glasses at the crudely animated Japanese figures stuttering across the screen. Probably in their underpants. Pokemon underpants, perhaps. Living in this way enables them to eschew responsibility, because children donâ€™t have responsibilities. They defend this as their freedom to do what they want.
Large fast food chains are starting to catch on to the fact that many people are starting to feel the need to defend their eating habits out of a barely acknowledged embarrassment. Iâ€™ve seen McDonalds â€œrestaurantsâ€ newly refurbished with fashionable dark brown mock-leather seating and shiny chrome embellishments. The wobbly-reared clientele remain the same, but at least they feel a bit better about themselves, slumped in what for them are plush surroundings while they shovel reconstituted offal into their gullets.
So next time you hear someone moaning that Oreos and Wagon Wheels donâ€™t taste as good as they used to, why not remind them how much better fresh salmon tastes than when you were young? Just donâ€™t eat it too often because weâ€™ve completely fucked the seas and rivers with toxic waste. Iâ€™m only saying.