Growing up in 1970s Scotland, I was a rather greedy, forever-hungry child. Hungry as I was, often the food adults liked, and took pleasure in eating, baffled me; my parents would describe something spicy, or bitter, or strong as “an acquired taste”, which seemed to be synonymous with “vile”; olives, whisky, cumin, beetroot, coriander or aubergines. On the contrary, I loved bland food, and dreamed of being given a jar of peanut butter for my birthday. As well as being highly suspect, adult food seemed impossibly exotic to me; on the (fairly infrequent) occasions when someone was coming for dinner, and children were to be sent to bed early, I took a very keen interest in what was being prepared.
My mum seemed to have two key dishes which were her dinner party staples: moussaka, and Danish Peasant Girl with Veil. The latter was based on a recipe of my grandmother’s, and was essentially a dish of stewed apple and bread topped with cream and grated chocolate (recipe here). I remember peeking into the fridge as the Danish Peasant Girl sat there in splendour, cooling for the evening; I can’t guarantee that I didn’t sometimes stick a greedy finger in it to steal some for myself, justifying it with righteous indignation at being excluded from the festivities.