You can forget the Big Macs and the Quarter Pounders with cheese. You can even tell me that I may never again taste the delights of a Filet- O-Fish. But, I would be very upset indeed, if I found that I was no longer able to take away with me at least three little rectangular sachet- boxes of sweet curry sauce, as the essential tracklement to my warm box of nine Chicken McNuggets.

Apart from anything else, the thicker end of each worryingly shaped nugget fits so well into the reservoir of golden gloop - sorry, sauce - that I wonder whether each component was designed for this purpose. Whether it be a moment of modelling genius or merely coincidental, it certainly makes the snack that much easier to eat in the dark, while sitting in the back stalls of the Coronet cinema (situated across the road from my local Notting Hill nugget branch). Where, you may like to know, one can still smoke a cigarette, watch a movie and enjoy a packed lunch, all at the same time.

Those that might wish to sever their friendship with me over this admission of enjoying something that contradicts all that you have been brought up to know as good and decent food, can go and take a running jump. I assure you that I am as good a judge of the delicacy of a filet de turbot a la Duglere as I am when savouring a morsel of pressed poultry. As a matter of fact, I don't happen to like the fruit pie, because it has too much cornflour in it and the pastry sticks to the roof of your mouth. And the tartare sauce in the Filet-O-Fish is maybe a touch too sweet, but I find I can cope with that. That sweetness lingers though. My well-trained palate tells me so.

I am fond of this sweet curry sauce. There is something about it that - to use an old-fashioned phrase - "tickles the tastebuds". This combination of sweet, a little bit of sour, a few choice Asian spices, all brewed together, manages to produce a potion that comes close to becoming addictive. Of course, this is nothing new.

Why on earth do you think our most popular Chinese dish will always be sweet and sour pork? (Never feel ashamed to order it, by the way; the Chinese quite like it, too - and invented it, after all). I would also happily wager that the similarly addictive tiny spring roll is the best-selling dish on the menu of each and every Thai restaurant in the land.

The sauce into which you dunk the end of your spring roll is made from sugar, vinegar, chillies and fish sauce, boiled together until viscous and vibrantly sweet and tasty. But, I suppose, it is no sweeter than a properly made English Cumberland sauce served up with baked gammon. And then there is that dreamy dipping sauce in its little polystyrene cup, that necessarily accompanies the authentically folded triangular trio of Indian samosas, all warm and wafting, tucked inside a take-away brown paper bag. Sweet and tamarind-sour, a hint of cumin seed and chilli, rusty-red and sticky, this sauce may well have been stirred together in a battered aluminium bowl in a dim corner of an Indian vegetarian restaurant kitchen, as opposed to being processed in a shiny stainless steel drum in a designated McDonald's factory, but the olfactory senses still recognise its clever flavours.

Most condiments rarely fail to please. Perhaps the quality of the McNugget dip may well be lower down the - how shall we say - "tasteful" scale, than some of the more superior relishes we regularly dollop, smear and shake over our food, day in day out. But be it a freshly made Mexican salsa, a delicious chilli "jam" (such as the especially tasty one Peter Gordon spoons over his scallop salad with creme fraiche at his London restaurant, The Sugar Club), a simple English green tomato chutney or a piquant onion marmalade, all these will add zest and lift - assuming, of course, that they are appropriate to a vehicle that needs to be so dressed and elevated. But, be assured, they will always be sweet, sour and spiced. And - usually without exception - finished

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