Clinging on in heavy syrup….a wet dream

On most nights I have a dream and, althoughย in my waking moments I have begun to forget everyone and everything’s name, I very often retain a clear image of some tiny fragment of each night’s unconstrained meanderings. This morning’s memory is of a very dapper man, with a shining head of slicked down hair asserting that he would be truly happy if, on each and every day of his life, he could have a tin of peaches. I cannot recollect the context of his partiality to tinned peaches in the dream, but the memory has served to stir my own recollections of childhood. “Cling peaches in heavy syrup” is the title of the memory, co starring “Evaporated Milk”. In another time they were considered to be a treat, never more so than when they were part of my “tuck” that I took back to boarding school in my eponymous “tuck box”. This small wooden trunk, with a padlock, was the only gesture of privacy allowed to a junior in those institutions although that privacy could be short lived should a senior boy feel that the contents would be better in his care: a blue print of the society into which we would later be launched. During those early years I viewed food at meal times as fuel. Food outside of those fixed appointments was deemed as pleasure and it is in that context that I remember the bright orange slices of peach hanging suspended in their bath of viscous syrup. The addition of evaporated milk directly into the tin, as it was both container and eating vessel, created a magic of its own. As the the first drops of evaporated milk were poured into the tin they hung in the syrup like petrified gobs of purity alongside the salacious curves of slick peach. The temptation to plunge one’s fingers into this glory were always too much and the perfect image turned to a cloudy mess. And then I woke up and found real peaches…..I had been asleep for a long time.

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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30 Responses to Clinging on in heavy syrup….a wet dream

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Wonderful description – better than real life, but I suppose that’s dreams for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. The idea of a tuck box is new to me. I suppose a lesser comparison would be a “lunch pail” in American vernacular. This concept is much more elaborate, designed for more than one meal I would imagine. I also wondered if it had any influence on the word “tuck,” however it seems that is a relative of the Middle English word tuken meaning “to mistreat.” Maybe that’s the conclusion a senior would invent as they liberated such mistreated goods from your tuck?

  3. Sally says:

    I think we had the same childhood…… puddings.

  4. Jourdie Ross says:

    I had a thing for tinned fruit as a kid as well. Round tins of mandarin segments eaten in sessions of two or three and fruit cocktail poured over Chinese almond jello reigned supreme in my childhood snack world. I’ve also since moved on to the real thing, but the memories remain ever rich.

  5. catterel says:

    Proustian moment for me there – climb peaches and Carnation milk — ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. lulu says:

    A tuck box….I love that! Cling peaches in heavy syrup, however, are not my favorite. Yours are much more appetizing. What is it about dreams that seem so sharp in the moment but fade away with wakefulness?

  7. Eha says:

    Memories not dreams of a post-war child in Germany being handed a tin of ‘sweetened condensed milk’ by a kind US soldier . . . the whole family held a collective breath as Dad opened the tin, and . . . . what in heaven’s name was this creamy, thick, overly sweet custard-like concoction . . . must be something well past its use by date . . . . methinks you will know the rest of that story . . . . ๐Ÿ™‚ ! [still walk around anything ‘sweet’!!]

  8. Wonderful dream, Roger, which sends me scuttling to the shops to stockpile peaches and evaporate milk.

  9. Michelle says:

    “Tuck box” is a new one to me. I think I need to catch up on novels about boarding school. Love it!

    • Thanks…”tuck” was the word for food that was not created in the school kitchens. Boarding schools also had “tuck shops” where sweets and simple groceries could be bought with pocket money. Oh heady days…not:)

  10. Oh god, memories of tinned peaches and evap….it had its charm back int he day and your description is marvellous!

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    Funny how some memories of food from our youth remain with us, Roger. Cling peaches in syrup. I can almost smell them.

  12. Karen says:

    It sounds like you have lovely dreams if food is involved. Mine seem to be about spies.

  13. Peaches in syrup are one of my favorite things ever since I’ve been little (it was my favorite treat). I’ve probably dreamed of them once or twice myself:)

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