Baked beans…up there with Marmite, brown sauce, rice pudding and evaporated milk as quintessentially British ‘cuisine’.
I don’t eat baked beans too often, although a spoonful with a full English breakfast or something like sausage and chips is quite pleasant.
Indeed, last night I had some rather nice farm-made pork sausages which I grilled and then served with homemade chunky chips and baked beans.
But…what the FUCK have they done to baked beans?
Gone is virtually all the flavour and what remains is so bland that you could be eating almost anything from baby food to wallpaper paste.
They were Heinz Baked Beans and I’ve discovered that the recipe was changed in 2003 and now the salt and sugar content in the standard line is reduced from previous levels.
Do I detect the meddling hand of the Diet Police?
Wikipedia has this to say:
In 2002 the British Dietetic Association allowed manufacturers of canned baked beans to advertise the product as contributing to the recommended daily consumption of five-six vegetables per person. This concession was criticised by heart specialists who pointed to the high levels of sugar and salt in the product. Some manufacturers produce a “healthy option” version of the product with lower levels of sugar and salt.
Whilst I appreciate that times have changed, during the war canned baked beans were classed as ‘an essential foodstuff’ under rationing regulations.
Oh, how the mighty baked bean has fallen!
Once a ‘must-eat’, as soon as it fell foul of the Nutritional Nazis it stood no fucking chance.
It tried to reinvent itself for the brave new world of the dietary-correct by getting a separate incarnation in a reduced salt and sugar version which you can still get, but now has reduced sugar and salt in even its ‘leaded’ version.
That’s why it tastes like shit – or rather doesn’t taste of anything much at all.
In a way, the humble baked bean is a metaphor for much that is wrong with 21st century Britain.
Harmless – apart from fueling flatulence – the baked bean happily bumbles along minding its own fucking business for years and years until some over-educated, over-paid, government-sponsored, interfering shit-for-brains comes along and says that eating baked beans is bad for you. Therefore, we will take the bad stuff out and we will make baked beans good for you again.
Now you can get low fat, low sugar, low calorie, low GM, low cholesterol, low alcohol versions of virtually anything you want to cram in your mouth hole and even if you choose the ‘unhealthy’ version then they’ve still reduced all that ‘bad’ stuff in it.
However, the main concern I have with this is that whilst I’m aware of the change because I’m old enough to remember when baked beans were very much tastier than they are today, children today, of course, won’t be.
They’ll just scoff the beans knowing no different.
Just as they’ll grow up with no experience of a society that let the individual make his own mind up about things a little more often than he’s allowed to today.
Baked beans – a symbol of broken Britain.