When my sixteen-year old son asked me to buy Ovaltine, I was not only surprised, I was suspicious.
Despite all my coaxing and cajoling, he’s eaten virtually nothing except pasta, pizza and cake since he was eighteen months old. Why this sudden craving for Ovaltine?
I didn’t know the stuff still existed. It held an almost mystical appeal for me as a child, as my mother wouldn’t have it in the house. One of her friends, Jean Stone, made the big time and married variety star Leslie Crowther (ask your parents) after they were both part of the Ovaltineys chorus on Radio Luxembourg. Mum never forgave Jean for swapping village life for the bright lights. Then, as now, banning Ovaltine seemed a bit extreme but in those days a parent’s word was law.
If Ovaltine’s new to you, it’s a malty drink in a smart tub with a lid that turns out to be perfect for recycling in craft projects. Who would have thought a single mystery purchase could turn out to be so useful? I bought a jar, as instructed by Son Number One. Of course it had to be the Light version, made with water.
He didn’t want to wreck his near-nutrient-free diet, so I hope he never reads the list of ingredients. It contains milk powder
When I got the tub home I opened the lid, and inhaled the smell of pure Malteser. It was delicious, although I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to try Ovaltine as the manufacturer intended. The link with Maltesers was enough to put me on the road to ruin. Mars’s advertising tag-line used to be “the chocolates with the less fattening centre”. Oh, the irony! I’d just borrowed The Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home Cookbook from our local library and as a keen cook, Son Number One nabbed it. Talk about food porn—and one of the recipes was a multi-layer chocolate malt cake.
Well. DD needed a birthday cake. I needed a slice (or two, or…) of that cake, and Son Number One was way ahead of me. You can imagine what happened next. Here’s the result, and no, DD wasn’t born on 29th February. After a certain age, candles on a cake are there in ceremonial role only. We don’t want any visits from the fire brigade!
The cake was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that thanks to Ovaltine and The Hummingbird Bakery I’ve been a regular at the gym ever since.
This is a summer story I have written. Can be ordered here.