From Micro Chips to cottage cheese, are you getting your RDA of 90s nostalgia?
We’re all still hungry for the 90s revival, and now our wardrobes have had their fill it’s time to turn back the clock on our plates. Get ready to eat your way back to a time when carbs were great, cheese was triangular and avocado still had a tinge of the exotic about it …
None of your bulgar wheat or puffed spelt – we’re talking pasta, bread and potatoes. The holy trinity.
Back when diet guru Rosemary Conley ruled the nation’s waistline, our plates looked very different. Fat was the enemy, calories were counted, carbs were our best chum and a sensible, slimming lunch was baked beans and lettuce on a jacket potato the size of your head. Her Hip and Thigh Diet was a runaway bestseller but today's Dukan devotees and paleo-lovers will find little in it for them.
Sweetcorn with everything
We’re still partial to a buttery corn on the cob or a stack of sweetcorn fritters, but two decades ago those little yellow kernels were more ubiquitous than Anthea Turner.
They popped up in your tuna mayonnaise, in your pasta bake and in your multi-layered grated cheese salad. In fact, so omnipresent was sweetcorn in our lives that we still associate the cry "ho ho ho" more with the Green Giant than we do with Father Christmas. We were the other children of the corn.
So recapture some of that niblet charm by swapping sweetcorn for all the kale in your life, and see what happens. Don’t forget a toothpick.
Pringles pop boxes
Like the Mulberry handbag of its day, Pringles pop boxes were essential lunch accessories, helping your crisps make it through the morning in one piece. This was crucial, partly because broken Pringles just don't taste the same, and partly so you could turn them into a hilarious duck’s beak at lunchtime and be the most popular kid in school.
Sadly Pringles no longer make the pop box, but if you have a spare £10 you can get one on eBay. They’re going to love that duck’s beak trick in your accounts meeting, just wait.
Cheese in nothing but name (OK, it is technically cheese), this sloppy delicacy was Little Miss Muffet’s dinner come to life. Whether piled high on a cracker or bursting forth from the top of a salad volcano, cottage cheese was the mainstay of every 90s dieter’s lunchbox. It was also probably the reason we were all suspicious of ricotta the first time we saw it. Not to mention cottages.
Bonus points for finding the pineapple variety, or for managing to eat it without accidentally splashing yourself in watery cheese juice. Whey to go!
These days the definitive crispbread is available in an array of different flavours and jazzy formats. Back then, it was merely a vehicle for cottage cheese, or occasionally floated on a bowl of soup like a tiny life raft.
Molten chocolate cake
It’s OK, it wasn’t all crackers and shredded lettuce – the 90s also saw the rise of molten chocolate cake or "lava cake", the oozy affair more commonly known today as chocolate fondant. Insert a little taste of the 2010s with this salted caramel version by Top With Cinnamon.
Legendary chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims he invented the dish in the late 80s when he took a chocolate pudding out of the oven too early and found it had collapsed in the middle. This means all those times we’ve eaten raw cookie dough could just be classed as "culinary pioneering".
What did we say about carbs? You can keep your triple-cooked duck fat numbers; the chip on our shoulder throughout the 90s was crinkle-cut, cardboard-boxed and ready in a quickety-quick three minutes. These days they’ve had a wholesome sunflower oil makeover, so you don’t even need to call them a guilty pleasure.
You do need to sing the song from the advert though. That’s obligatory.
When 90s cheese wasn’t being curdled with pineapple, it was arriving on our plates in a range of novelty shapes instead. Your big dairy decision: triangular and foil-wrapped or circular and wax-coated?
Anyone asking for a nice slice of halloumi will be kicked out of 90s club.