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angel delight and other festive things

First things first. Whenever the subject of Angel Delight comes up in conversation - and it does, more frequenly than you'd think - British people always widen their eyes and gasp at me: WHAT?!! You've never had Angel Delight? This is astounding! How can this be?!! And on questioning them, the word 'naff' will often come up, teamed with 'childhood memories', and very few people admitted they actually liked it. But this kept happening, and I needed to know. So when I was at the supermarket yesterday, confronted with an astounding array of Angel Delight flavours, I tweeted for help.

And these two flavours - strawberry and butterscotch - were most definitely the best rated. You'd be amazed how many people care about this.

So here it started, in the name of scientific cultural research. Oops, after I started adding the milk to the powder, I realised I was supposed to add the powder to the milk. (How could I mess up a recipe this simple? Would it still turn out all right?)

Five minutes in the fridge, then the moment of truth. And it was.... very tasty! I couldn't figure out why everyone talked it down so much after their initial flutter. I had more suggestions from people on Twitter, to chill it with custard creams, pieces of Mars bar, or even mix in a spoonful of peanut butter. (That last one was Dave O'Connell's suggestion; he was the final astonished person who finally set me off on my Angel Delight quest.)

We tried the strawberry flavour this evening, also very yummy. Stuart hadn't tried it in 30 years and was VERY skeptical, but then he liked it, and gave it a 6.5 on a scale of 10 for tastiness. So thank you, lovely Brits, for your assistance on this pressing matter!

So Christmas is really coming to south London. I saw this nice festive jumper on sale in Deptford Market, while on a coffee break from the studio. Twitter people say it's available on eBay, but come on, beat £8.99 in Deptford, people!

Other festive things, the newspaper Christmas book round-ups! Yay, here's a peek at Saturday's Guardian Review section. (Oddly, Oliver's been renamed 'Alex', but hey ho, he quite likes that name, too.)

You can read a more extensive review of Oliver and the Seawigs in The Guardian by SF Said, who also happens to have a book next to us in the list! (Phoenix, illustrated by Dave McKean). Thanks for the mentions, Michelle Pauli and SF! (You can follow them on Twitter as @michellepauli and @whatSFSaid.

And speaking of Angel Delight, the hat I wore to last night's Booksniffer Christmas party was more Turkish Delight than Angel. The Booksniffer gorgeous children's book blog and The App Puppy are run by Emma O'Donovan (@maybeswabey on Twitter) and she threw a party for fellow bloggers, illustrators and writers.

And here's the hat! I love seeing pictures of Dame Edna around London, she is my future. Neither the hat nor the feather boa had been given a chance to have an outing (other than as a backdrop for my Goth Girl review) so it was well time. I found the hat at a wonderful vintage shop with Sarah and Philip Reeve, after doing our school visit in Lyme Regis. Ah, look at me, one of the first people to dive into the bag for the prezzie swap.

Photo on right by Sarah Yewman

And I totally scored! I got this Animation Studio activity kit, created by animator/illustrator Helen Piercy and Walker Books (Candlewick Books in the USA). I've opened it up, it looks amazing!

I got to meet Helen at the party and she said I could get easy apps for my phone to do stop-motion animation, and said I could get in touch with her to find out which one she'd recommend. (She's @HelenAnimate on Twitter if you want to get in touch with her.) Here's a video trailer:

Another person I was mega-excited to spot across the room was fab writer-illustrator Alex T. Smith! And then we both had a squee moment when Emma Chichester Clark came in with Plum, who stars in her Plumdog blog comic strips. Ah, and it took me awhile to figure it out, but then I realised that was Benji Davies in the back, writer-illustrator of The Storm Whale, SUCH a beautiful book. And one book I accidentally left out of my Christmas round-up list (how could I do this?) was Alex's Claude on the Slopes, the first time Claude's had his first hardcover book! The Claude books are gorgeous, such lively, funny illustrated tales, perfect for kids who want to read a book with a few more words than a picture book, but not commit to huge page of text. (And for adults like me, who love Alex's work.)

I hadn't seen writer-illustrator Chris Mould since I had coffee with him and Nikki Gamble at the Bologna Book Fair in 2008, so I was VERY happy to see him! (He's one of those people I feel I sort of know from the Internets, but never actually see.) And look, it's Emma Dodd! And Guy Parker-Rees in a very festive jumper! (There were a lot of festive jumpers that evening, and then it got hot and there was a big pile in the corner of festive jumpers.) I got a peek at Emma's beautiful polar bear Forever picture book, which Booksniffer has recently included on her blog here.

More up-and-coming illustrators, Amberin Huq, me, Grace Sanford and Chloe Douglass. And the Booksniffer Emma herself, right there in the middle with the mascot pooch! Plus Sarah Yewman on the left and Helen Boyle (my excellent tea party companion) on the right.

Huge thanks for a brilliant party, Emma! (Do go read her blog!) And I met so many amazing people that I was quite overwhelmed. And even those I found out I hadn't met, who were there (such as Paul Thurlby, I LOVE his alphabet book). Hope to meet you next time!


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
I, for one, have never heard of "angel's delight", except, perhaps, in under the general category of "these weird things that pass for food in Britain"...
Dec. 9th, 2013 08:52 am (UTC)
I thought it was going to be pretty horrible (like salad creme or Marmite), but I was pleasantly surprised!
Dec. 9th, 2013 08:18 am (UTC)
No hesitation from me: I utterly adored the butterscotch flavour. When I was home sick (a lot) this was treat food. I think there was a pretty good lime as well, also banana. I have never liked strawberry flavour anything (tho I like strawberries).
Dec. 9th, 2013 08:53 am (UTC)
I couldn't believe how many people responded on Twitter; there's so much nostalgia wrapped up with this food! It's rather wonderful, someone could do a whole anthology of stories based on people's memories of Angel Delight. :D
Dec. 9th, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
It was just so easy to make. One minute unappetising powder, the next flavour from heaven.
Dec. 9th, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
We used to eat the butterscotch flavour with tinned black cherries. Which seemed like it should not work, but somehow did.

Useful food if you are anticipating nuclear apocalypse, as people did in the seventies.
Alison Mutton
Dec. 13th, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
There are certain things that everyone has decided have a stigma attached, and then everyone refuses to admit to liking it, just in case you think they're a sad person. =P I've never heard of Angel's Delight, but I get pretty much the same thing in relation to a tv show that is currently being shown here – Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. I wear a lot of cloche hats and frequently get told, usually by total strangers, that my hat is "wonderful, just like Miss Fisher!" Then, *without fail* there is a slight pause and then comes "I only watch it for the costumes, you know."
I think people need to get over thinking things are 'sad' and just embrace them! The world is a much better place with yummy food (and enormous hats).
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Sarah McIntyre

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