Blancmange – the literal translation meaning “only eat if you’ve absolutely nothing in your cupboard” – was a curious dessert I rarely had (I may have been given it as a punishment, but am clearly too scarred to remember).
Growing up in the sixties, desserts (or puddings as we tended to call them in SW17) offered little choice and would normally consist of tinned fruit (my mum told me she wasn’t travelling to Jamaica just to get me a banana) and the top of the milk. If either parent came into some money there was the occasional investment into a block of raspberry ripple. But blancmange rarely featured – I was clearly protected by St Ivel, the patron Saint of milk-based desserts.
It was 1967 when Angel Delight was introduced to the UK – thus striking the death knell for blancmange. Even though you had to whisk the living daylights out of it (and still had remnants of the powder on the bottom of your bowl the end), it was a sensation at my ten-year birthday that year. It helped everyone forget the party entertainer who could only make penises out of balloons, rather than swans the other ten-year-olds at the party had requested.
The only good thing about blancmange was the receptacles they were constructed in. We had one shaped like a rabbit – you could see where Elmer Fudd got his bunny hatred from.