Kid's these days just aren't hungry enough. Wedges of fruitcake, ginger beer, fresh butter and eggs, jam sandwiches, sausages - none of these stir the reader the way they used to in the heyday of The Famous Five.
I think one of the successes of Harry Potter is the nostalgic updating of boarding school type food treats.
My children are cooking these holidays. They've been told that if they want to eat something, they're going to have to cook it themselves. I used to cook sweets and puddings and pies and slices. As a child, I made jam and toffee and fudge and ices.
We've had a couple of experiments, some choc chip cookies, sorbet and shepherds' pie and they're bored. They can buy better and they're prepared to wait me out.
I believe this trend has been reflected in modern children's literature. Harry Potter is the only series I've read recently that gave me a full feeling in my stomach. Where are the endless dishes of mushrooms and cider from The Hobbit? The picnics and fry ups from The Wind in the Willows? The tea parties of Alice and Wonderland?