Rita the non-ETA Eater
Brought to you once again by the collection of magazines hidden in my study
In 1976, nothing said creativity and sophistication like a Sunbeam electric frypan. Mum used ours to, well, fry everything she could lay her hands on which was lamb chops about 80% of the time. Even the Sunday roast lamb was done in it with the lid on and the potatoes and onions swimming around the outside in a pool of hot fat, their bottoms getting stuck to the element for me to pick off and eat hours later.
Here though we have a Masterfoods Three Bean Mix Egg Combo which is eerily ahead of its time in that it is designed as a huge cross, indicating "NO! Just don't try this at home if you wish your corduroy slacks to stay in one piece and your net curtains to remain white. NO!"
Clearly too, such an artistic design is meant not just for the kitchen bench but to be brought directly to the table so that all eaters could see just what a treat - visual and oral - they were in for that night.
Later that same year, Streets icecream brought out the Toffee, er, Log. This brown barrell featuring swirls of cream and light brown pretty well echoed the decor of a million kitchens around the country and if served in burnt orange melamine bowls (as ours were) the look was complete.
The taste, on the other hand, was significant only in that it was insignificant. Still, it did help get the Stainless Steel Sunbeam Three Bean Egg Mix combo to slide down.
In keeping with the fashions of the time, you could also opt for Brown done three ways with a pot of pus - sorry, sauce - to dip your meats into. Mmmm hmmm who needs any other colours when you can do like you did in kindergarten art class and mix them all together and arrive at wonderful, delicious and complete brown.
In 1977, Coles had created a New World. No, not one involving the eradication of deadly diseases or the end to all war and conflicts, but the introduction of Farmland Meat. 'Farmland' presumably meant a factory location where animals were dragged in and killed, cut up and placed on styrofoam trays covered in gladwrap rather than a sunny shop filled with rolling paddocks, gently lowing cattle and milking sheds.
And look at how excited Trevor-the-neckless is to be featured in this advertisement. It was either this or be handpicked for the Yorkshire Ripper police line up and at least here he was able to wield a knife without being violently thrown to the floor and read his rights.
Thankfully there were other options to beans, Brown and Trevor's rather slapdash and very fat-laced meat trays - Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Colonel Sanders was still alive at the time and stuff such as raging obesity, sky-high cholesterol and heart disease were still faint enough to be ignored, as was trying to hide 'Fried' in an acronym. What could out-do beans for sophistication and refinement than a grease-spattered cardboard box of unrecognisable chicken pieces? Yep, that's "real goodness" for you!
We had to settle for that until 1982 brought about a revolution. No, not just the official end of Adam and the Ants as a viable form of music but - steady yourselves - the introduction of sliced cheese.
When Mum bought these - Dad would turn his nose up and announce they tasted like flat soap - we kids would hoover them up like after dinner mints (same shape). The old one kilo block of Coon was left languishing, getting blue spotted and sweaty in its plastic coat as we pushed it to the back of the fridge and instead ate slice after slice of Kraft. I can't remember adding bread or anything else to it too often but yes, this changed the way we ate, thought, sang, worshipped, loved, grew, progressed ..... Heady times.
A year later when wearing plastic maps of Australia for earrings was considered de-rigeur, McDonald's decided to tell us that meat potatoes and bread were healthy, especially when reconfigured as a Big Mac. "Have some wholesome McDonald's meals and you're well on your way to a balanced diet." Yeah, in HELL. Even reading this tripe the first time around as a fourteen-and-a-half year old in my mother's Womens' Weekly I knew that I'd rather eat another frypans' worth of three bean egg mix.
All was calm by 1988 when the humble Jatz Cracker was the Easy Entertainer.
I've studied the photo for a while now and can't for the life of me work out what's on those easy entertainers - turkey kidneys? Cat tumours? Tree fungi? Hippo snot? In our day it was French Onion dip or some good old Kraft cheese cunningly ripped into four with a thin slice of gherkin on the top, ready for a raging night of Porky's II on beta video or some games of Pong on the black and white TV in the pool room.....
Rita here perhaps sums up the effects that such foods had on the bowels of those who willingly ate it.
The poor love was out of routine. It was either her diet or her busy busy life. It sure as hell couldn't have been those 23 cheese slices and Kentucky Fried bucket, could it? Or three wholesome Big Macs and a bowl of three been mix?
Ford Pills would set her straight; help her back out a toffee log of her own one of these days. Then she'll be able to do a semi plie without frightening her students or shattering the mirrors.