Managed to find myself a classic form custard slice the other day, on a day trip to Monmouth. What’s happened to custard slices these days? I first noticed the change around 2003. The classic form was being slowly replaced by a newer, more “continental” version, not dissimilar to the way native red squirrels were out-competed by their larger cousin the grey, when they first arrived on these shores from America in the 1870s. The deep mustard yellow of the classic form custard had given way to a more vivid, lemon yellow, a ludicrous colour. And the pastry had switched from short crust to the less satisfying filo. Whereas the classic form could be turned on its side and sliced easily (see photo) the newer form went into structural meltdown under the weight of a knife. This was in part due to the strange molecular shift that had taken place in the new custard. The older, classic form held together well, a tightly-compacted mass held within a strict latticework of chemical bonds. The 21st Century custard is like mush, as if the classic form has undergone a kind of trauma, as happens to shale deposits under the liquefying pressure of fracking. Taste. In the classic form there are layers of sensation: from the sweetness of the pastry that melts into the indulgent stodginess of the custard with the high note of the icing coming through at the end. That “pilgrimage” of taste is lost in the Y2K Slice. Now it’s just a slimy coldness from start to finish. The pure aesthetic of the Classic, the contrasting colours, like the flag of some exotic Caribbean island, has been replaced by various shades of cream. I still eat them, don’t get me wrong, but they have fallen way down the league table. The Classic Form is hands down my favourite food and I have watched silently its sad demise in this new technological, globalised millennium but finding this treasure up a side street of the sleepy farming town of Monmouth has awakened a fight in me. We must bring the classic form back. What else is the disintegration of the Classic population than the beigeing of our society, the sliding creep towards mediocrity we see across all art? Whale populations across the globe are rallying; conservation efforts can work. Get round your grans’ houses. FORCE her to make the custard slices of your childhood. We can do this. As my great hero Barack Obama (also, I assume, a massive fan of the classic form custard slice) always used to assure us. Yes. We. Can.