I had difficulty with this as a child.
Not with what it was – it seemed to be something with gravy and peas and potatoes and you could eat it. But you never ate it at home – only when you went to other people’s houses. And the houses were very different from home.
Our home had a living room couch that gradually faded and fell apart over the years – possibly aided by me and certainly by the dog. Then it was replaced with another one and the cycle started again. The living room couch in the mock chicken home never changed. It could not – it was encased in clear plastic. as were the other chairs, the lampshade, and the ottoman cushions.
The carpet in our house wore out from people walking and playing with their toy cars on it, but Chez Mock Chicken had a heavier clear plastic runner down all the passage ways. It paid to take it easy walking in case you skidded.
I lived all over our house; bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, etc. My friend at Mock Chicken lived in the basement – literally. As did his older brother, in a different division of the underground. Their beds seemed to be what I would later recognise as army cots. I never knew if they took their meals upstairs, but I do know that if you needed to go to the can there, you were instructed not to touch the walls…
This would probably have seemed only a Canadian phenomenon had I not seen it repeated in Cottesloe here in Western Australia. I have no idea whether it is still a feature of some people’s lives, but nothing ever really goes away.