I think I can trace the day when I stopped living on tinned food. It was the day that Budgens in Mill Hill closed and was replaced by M&S. Convenience food switched overnight from opening a tin of beans to a tasty, pre prepared Prawn Buccanti. That's progress for you.
Here are my top ten faves
1. Heinz Baked Beans
These are the icon of tinned food. I have a special affection for them as I starred in an advert for the product, I think it was in 1968. My famous line "We can't go on Holiday without the Beans mum" won the director an award at The Cannes Festival for best directed advert. My mum opened up a bank account and the revenues bought my first guitar and amp a decade later.
2. Fray Bentos Steak and Kidney Pie
For me, this is the best food in the world. When I was a kid the very best treat was for my mum to cook me one and let me eat it in the shed!
3. John West Sardines.
I think I'd have starved to death without these. The number of nights I've come inf rom the pub, put a couple of slices in the toaster and spread a tin of these on them. My wife has often reminded me of the time she put some cat food in a dish and I came in and ate it as I thought she'd made some up for me.
4. Green Giant Sweetcorn
In the 1960's this was heavily advertised on TV. I can remember getting teased at school for "being posh" as I said I rather liked it. Strangely the makers no longer seem so keen to plug it on prime time TV. I can't remember the last time we actually bought a tin. My good lady wife used to buy the odd tin and mix it in with tinned Tuna.
5. Ye Olde Oak Ham
This was something that we used to only see at Xmas. It was one of those mythical treats. When I became an adult, I found out that you can actually buy it all year round. Sadly though, I also found that ham that didn't come in a tin actually tasted better. I will be buying some next March, if it looks like Brexit it going wrong. A few tins will hopefully tide us through the period of shortages. Maybe I'll fall back in love with it!
6. Heinz Tonato Soup.
We used to have long debates about the best tinned soup. To me it was a pointless conversation because there really is only one soup worth having (although a tin of cream of mushroom soup is useful as a source to bake chicken or fish in if I'm feeling lazy).
7. John West Tinned Red Salmon.
This was the key part of our Sunday afternoon ritual as kids. We'd have tinned Red Salmon sandwiches. I wasn't really sure if I liked it, but my Dad did. He thought that it was "luxury food". I don't think I've eaten any since he passed away. Maybe I'll buy a tin for old times sake over Xmas and raise a toast to him.
8. Heinz Alphabetti Spaghetti.
I remember when these came out. The idea in the TV promotions was that it would help children with their spelling. As I recall, it certainly helped us spell lots of rude words. It was rather fun. I guess that before iPhones and Sky TV, we had to find our fun in more creative ways!
9. All Day Breakfast.
Paul Hircombe RIP, used to be the bassplayer in The False Dots. Paul was rather partial to a puff of the sacred Rastafarian herb. I can remember one day discussing the effects of the said weed. Paul said "The one sure way you can tell you've smoked decent weed is when a tin of all day breakfast seems like the best food ever." Paul went on to explain that any other time it was vile and disgusting and a destruction of the finest tradition of British cuisine, but in that moment of munch, an act of transubstanciation occurs and it becomes delicious.
10. Tinned Spam.
Spam was famously thrust into the the centre of the British publics psyche by the Monty Python team performing their "Wonderful Spam" song. Apparently every tin of Spam in the country was sold the day after. Sadly I wasn't particularly ever a fan, but I have to recognise its central role in our nations history.
What are your favourite