Earlier this week I watched Nigel Slater: Life in Sweets (BBC Four) a programme that saw cookery writer, Nigel Slater document how sweets have the amazing ability to transport us back to our childhood days.

In the programme Nigel visited Britain’s oldest traditional sweet shop where the walls are lined with glass jars filled with colourful sweets and treats. The enormous weighing scales and paper bags, which the sweeties are placed in and then twisted secure, didn’t only take Nigel back to his childhood but took me back to my of childhood day too; I remember spending my pocket money in sweet shops, trying to decide which sweeties I wanted to buy.

Sweet jars

Image : Telegraph.co.uk

Nigel recalled how as a child he’d eat sweets in the back of his father’s car. He would buy a sherbet dib-dab almost every day and a bag of sweets, which he’d share with school friend on the playground. But he also made a remarkable emotional connection to fluffy marshmallows, which he has avoided for years because they reminded him of his mother, who died when he was only nine years old.

Throughout the programme Nigel also visited various different confectionary companies and looked in-depth at the history of sweets and confectionery goods – from the early days when sweets were used as medicine to the mid-seventies when chocolates and sweets were endorsed with huge advertising campaigns. Although this was interesting I was most fascinated by how true it is that something as simple as a sweet can bring back precious memories from so long ago; innocent childhood recollections which we so easily forget about.

nigel slater in sweet shop

Nigel in England’s Oldest Sweet Shop | Image : oldestsweetshop.co.uk

Watching the programme made me feel quite sad that traditional sweet shops are no longer widely available. It’s sad to think that children today don’t get the same pleasure that I did from buying something as humble as a packet of sherbet lemons or hard boiled rhubarb and custard. So next time you pass a sweet store in your local market  stop and buy a packet of your favourite old time sweets and remember all of those memories associate with childhood sweeties!

Watch Nigel Slater: Life in Sweets on BBC iPlayer and relive you childhood with sweets.

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