Anyway ... I really do find the answers fascinating, as they can give you a small snapshot of the way that person views the world - even if it's only a somewhat grainy polaroid of how they view the world at the particular moment I'm talking to them.
So...I wonder if the same applies to food.
Assume - and you'll have to indulge me with the lunatic scenario here - that you are stranded on a desert island. You're not allowed to spear fish from the tropical waters, or go foraging for nuts, berries or brightly-coloured fruit. You can't hunt wild pigs, or shoot birds from the trees with rudimentary whittled arrows. You can't light fires for cooking, or try sucking the nutrients out of seaweed in desperation.
Instead, you must rely on 5 food items, and only 5, to keep you going. These can be snacks, treats or full-on hearty fare, but they should be finished dishes rather than ingredients. They will be provided on tap on this island, by some mysterious-and-as-yet-unspecified benefactor.
What do you choose?
|The Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, doing a fair impersonation of a tropical island.|
Don't worry, your health will not suffer during your time on this island. Don't, therefore, approach this in a 'Well, goodness, I suppose I'd better choose representatives from different food groups to give me a balanced diet and help me to climb trees and swim in the sea and do other islandy things'. This is about favourites, about finding the five things that you honestly wouldn't mind eating every day for several months/years.
My five surprised me. I think it's something to do with having the fun and experimentation of cooking taken away. Needless to say, if you gave me a honking great kitchen full of gadgets, and enough ingredients to make any 5 dishes, the final selection would be very different.
Below are my (slightly embarrassing) desert island foods. Please do leave comments and add yours, I'd be really interested to see what you lot would chow down on, while gazing out across the shimmering turquoise waters and cursing me for stranding you there!
- Fish finger sandwiches - I'm not talking about posh fish goujons here, I want fish fingers from the packet, on white bread, which is buttered on one side, and has tomato ketchup on the other. Optimum number of fish fingers per sandwich = 3.
- Naan bread - steaming hot. If I'm allowed the odd bit of spicy mango chutney, or mint and cucumber raita to dip hunks of it in, then so much the better.
- Nectarines - In one of my favourite books, the wonderful 26a by Diana Evans, nectarines are always eaten by the young twins while they make very important decisions. They sit on beanbags in their bright attic room, sharing nectarines and secrets and 'deciding'. Anyone else must knock before entering. I love the fact that nectarines are reserved for such a purpose, and since first reading 26a I can't eat one without a feeling of being in some whispery, secret club.
- Vanilla ice cream - If ice cream is on a dessert menu, it's 90% guaranteed that that's what I'll go for. While I love exciting new flavours (cardamom and salted caramel being two new and tasty discoveries) I'll always come back to a really rich, creamy vanilla, I just don't think you can beat it.
- Moroccan lamb pittas - Juicy lamb, cooked so it's nice and pink, liberally spiced with cumin, chilli and coriander and stuffed into hot pitta bread with peppery salad, a squeeze of lime and a dollop of sour cream. The kind of food you have to eat with your fingers, that gets you sticky and covered in juices and that wouldn't be out of place at a souk in Marrakesh.