They say that smell is the most powerful of the senses, the one that can transport you back instantly to a past memory. I disagree: I say taste.
I had that brought home to me last night with a fine, hearty meal of "proper" food at The Old Bear in Cobham. It's owned by the same team as The Albion in Islington, which is one of my favourite pubs in the capital. Dare I say it, The Old Bear may be even better in terms of food? Exemplary triple-cooked chips (fatter than normal but a perfect balance of cloud-like inner fluffiness and noisy external crunch), a steak tartare that made up for the cravings that started in Paris last week and a rillette that I'd still be eating now if they'd let me.
And then, one mouthful of pudding and I was eight again. The pud in question? Their update / improvement on Arctic Roll: Proper sponge, rich, creamy, vanilla-flecked ice cream, some intensely flavoured strawberries, plus a spoonful of strawberry jelly that made me giggle in delight. An Arctic Roll with a twist but still, undeniably, an Arctic Roll and an evocative taste of childhood. Brilliant.