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 Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note

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PostSubject: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:06 am

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Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note

Boy do I remember all this!!!

Pasta had not been invented.
Curry was a surname.
Olive oil was kept in the medicine cabinet
Spices came from the Middle East where they were used for embalming
Herbs were used to make rather dodgy medicine.
A takeaway was a mathematical problem.
A pizza was something to do with a leaning tower.
Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time.

The only vegetables known to us were spuds, peas, carrots and cabbage,

All crisps were plain; the only choice we had was whether to put the salt on or not.

Condiments consisted of salt, pepper, vinegar and brown sauce if we were lucky.
Soft drinks were called pop.
Coke was something that we put on the fire.
A Chinese chippy was a foreign carpenter.
Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever part of our dinner.
A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining.
A Pizza Hut was an Italian shed.
A microwave was something out of a science fiction movie.
Brown bread was something only poor people ate.
Oil was for lubricating, fat was for cooking

Bread and jam was a treat.
Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves and never green.
Coffee was Camp, and came in a bottle.
Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.
Figs and dates appeared every Christmas, but no one ever ate them.
Coconuts only appeared when the fair came to town.
Jellied eels were peculiar to Londoners.
Salad cream was a dressing for salads, mayonnaise did not exist
Hors d'oeuvre was a spelling mistake.
The starter was our main meal. Soup was a main meal.
Only Heinz made beans.
Leftovers went in the dog.
Special food for dogs and cats was unheard of.
Fish was only eaten on Fridays.
Fish didn't have fingers in those days.
Eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi.
Ready meals only came from the fish and chip shop.
For the best taste fish and chips had to be eaten out of old newspapers.
Frozen food was called ice cream.
Nothing ever went off in the fridge because we never had one.
Ice cream only came in one colour and one flavour.
None of us had ever heard of yoghurt.
Jelly and blancmange was only eaten at parties.
If we said that we were on a diet, we simply got less.
Healthy food consisted of anything edible.
People who didn't peel potatoes were regarded as lazy.
Indian restaurants were only found in India .
Brunch was not a meal.
If we had eaten bacon lettuce and tomato in the same sandwich we would have been certified
A bun was a small cake back then.
The word" Barbie" was not associated with anything to do with food.
Eating outside was a picnic.
Cooking outside was called camping.
Seaweed was not a recognised food.
Pancakes were only eaten on Pancake Tuesday
"Kebab" was not even a word never mind a food.
Hot dogs were a type of sausage that only the Americans ate.
Cornflakes had arrived from America but it was obvious they would never catch on.
The phrase "boil in the bag" would have been beyond comprehension.
The idea of "oven chips" would not have made any sense at all to us.
The world had not heard of Pot Noodles, Instant Mash and Pop Tarts.
Sugar enjoyed a good press in those days, and was regarded as being white gold.
Lettuce and tomatoes in winter were only found abroad.
Prunes were medicinal.
Surprisingly muesli was readily available in those days, it was called cattle feed.
Turkeys were definitely seasonal.
Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.
We never heard of Croissants we certainly couldn't pronounce it,
We thought that Baguettes were a problem the French needed to deal with.
Garlic was used to ward off vampires, but never used to flavour food.
Water came out of the tap, if someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than petrol for it they would have become a laughing stock.
Food hygiene was all about washing your hands before meals.
Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, and Botulism were all called "food poisoning."
The one thing that we never ever had on our table in the fifties …. ELBOWS!!!!

So you tell us your memories of the food from the past.
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Sat May 02, 2015 5:43 pm

Thank you for starting this post. It's brought back loads of memories. I was born in 19?? and lived with grandparents. Mine were "in business" in a Welsh mining village, so I guess by comparison, we were fairly well off. Sunday dinner was usually lamb, pork or chicken, and I remember putting the Leo's peas to soak on a Saturday night in what looked to me like a hairnet with two big tablets of bicarb. That would always be eaten at about 1:00pm usually with mash, cabbage or cauliflour and of course the dried peas. There would usually be something like custard tart or a fruit tart afterwards, occasionally as a special treat ice-cream from the local italian cafe.

Tea would be tinned fruit, tinned cream or evaporated milk and bread and butter, and then supper was "fry-up", bubble and squeak, left over peas and gravy and cold meat. (I'd never sleep after that load now!) I could cook a Sunday dinner on my own by the time I was 9.

As there were 4 small infant schools in the village, everyone went either home or to grans or aunties for lunch (dinner). Our main meal was usually then with my grandparents as they'd close over "dinner hour", with my mother cooking again for my dad when he came home from work about 4:30. It would always be cooked,liver and bacon, stew, chops, mince and gravy, always with potatoes, with cake for afterwards.

Tea would be usually something on toast, maybe sausage rolls, unless we had visitors when it would be Sunday tea.

My mother used to make a traybake type sponge, half covered with jam and coconut, the other half with chocolate icing as her stock cake tin cake, which she would supplement with welshcakes or with rock cakes during the weeek. She'd also make plain cake (madeira) or seed cake.

We used to get a turkey from a local farm at Christmas which would be delivered in greasproof paper with a brown luggage tag tied to its leg (came with head and legs still attached and I can still remember playing with the feet). Eggs and chickens came from the same source and while we didn't have a large garden my dad would grow salad stuff and we always had fresh home grown veg from people in the village who would sell or swap their surplus. There were two bakers who called everyday, and a fish man who came on a Friday. There's only one Spar type shop in that village now, but I hardly ever recall going to to town to shop. I used to love doing my mother's shopping with her list in the holidays, and she'd then pay everyone on a Friday.

One of my nan's staple dishes was called plate pasty (her family came from Cornwall) which was mince, carrot and potatoes in pastry cooked like a tart. My father and grandfather's favourite dish was roast cheese and bacon, cooked on a tin plate in the oven.
I know not everyone was as lucky, but while I recall children who wore wellies or "daps" (canvas plimsoles) to school all year round, and wondering how some younger children always had the same clothes as I'd grown out of (things were done discreetly) very few people appeared to go hungry.

I'd never eaten fish from a fish-shop until I left home, and while we'd had curry at home, neither had I had a chinese or indian take-away. Pasta was tinned spaghetti or macaroni cheese, and as other posters have said olive oil was kept in the bathroom cabinet for earache.

I'll stop rambling now, and keep on reading
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Sun May 03, 2015 9:23 am

Also in the 50's and not thinking of food, my Nan had an old metal mangle with big wooden rollers and when a bed sheet was put through it, the sheet came out the other side looking rather like a piece of hardboard. It hit the wall and crumpled up and then eventually fell into a big metal bowl. No need for a spin dryer those days!

g g g
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Wed May 06, 2015 8:25 am

Before people were crammed into high-rise flats most people had a garden. The back one was mostly devoted to growing veg. Buying it from the shops was expensive and meant lugging it back home. Ordinary working people had no access to fruit and veg out of season.

To my knowledge no-one ever used vegetable oil in cooking, it was all lard. The only olive oil I ever saw was in tiny vials in the chemist. I have no idea what people did with it.

No snacks. We only ever had access to bread and butter outside meal-times and if Mum was feeling generous we might have a smear of jam on it.

Everyone seemed to drink cups of tea with their meals, even the children.

Orange juice was available on the NHS for babies and young children, such was the rarity of citrus fruits in winter-time. Rose-hip cordial was popular for the same reason.

Chicken was a one-a-year-ish treat as it was so expensive.

You could buy one or two rashers of bacon at a time, or a sausage or two from the butchers and no-one raised and eyebrow. The butcher often made the bacon and sausages themselves from animals they had also sourced from local farmers they knew by name and slaughtered themselves out in the back.

Potatoes were bought by the stone and used at every meal bar breakfast. Most people had never heard of pasta and wouldn't have wanted to eat it if they had. Hence the April Fools Day clip on the telly about farmers harvesting spaghetti from trees. Which an enormous number of people fell for.

A "ham salad" meant a slice of ham, two or three lettuce leaves, a slice or two of tomato and the same of cucumber. If you were lucky, some radishes from the garden. No vinaigrette or mayonnaise but always salad-cream (Yuk! Not in our house, as my mother was foreign so didn't know what it was, so wouldn't buy it. Same for Marmite which I didn't taste till I was in my teens and Oxo-cubes).

Biscuits could be bought loose from the grocer's out of metal boxes with glass lids all stacked up. You could buy an ounce or a pound, whatever you wanted. Sugar was bought loose as well.

Sweets or crisps were either a once-a-week treat, or had even more infrequently. Same for ice-creams and fizzy-drinks.

Kids were given cod liver-oil and malt in the winter-time to ward off vitamin-deficiencies and diseases. Of which there were rather a lot. Who has known someone with Scarlet Fever, Rheumatic Fever or Diphtheria lately?

It was very common to see children or adults in callipers after having survived Polio. There were several children in my class at primary school who had to wear them.

It was more common than you would believe to see people walking around bandy-legged after having developed rickets in childhood. No free school milk!

Some parts of those Good Old Days were only good if you were quite well-off.
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Wed May 06, 2015 8:39 am

Much of what has been mentioned rings bells with me. Remember thin sliced bread? there was none of this medium sliced stuff when I was a child - you got thick sliced, thin sliced, or unsliced. My mother bought a food slicer in the late 60s and cut the bread with that - uncut was cheaper than ready sliced and she had to make it stretch.

We cooked our toast over the embers of a coal fire. Then spread it with dripping and sprinkled with salt.

Mum discovered a stew recipe (called 'quick casserolegazine. It was made with a tin of mince, a tin of mixed veg and a tin of condensed mushroom soup mixed together and heated through in the ovenake it for my children; it was grey and disgusting - never tried i again!

Occasionally, mum would heat pork pies in the oven and serve with either tomato or chips. To this day, I cant eat pork pies at all - used to manage when a child by slicing the horrible things, slathering them in brown sauce and putting them between slices of bread - a pork pie sandwich.

I became vegetarian for a short while in the 70s, but mum's idea of a veggie meal was cheese, cheese and more cheese. She would give me exactly what everyone else had, but instead of the meat, I got a lump of cheese. Nedless to say, my veggie days were short lived, which is probably what she intended.

She also made something that had the very fancy name of 'pomme de terre a la forrstiere'. It was from a Marguerite Patten book and was bacon, mushrooms and potatoes thrown together in a roasting tin and cooked in the oven. We also had Lancashire hotpot (made with lamb chops) and corned beef hash quite regularly.

When she was expecting my brother (1954), she had some syrupy orange juice from the clinic. It came in brown bottles and I loved that! Not that I was supposed to drink it - it was to ensure she got enough vitamin C while pregnant.

We had breakfast, dinner and tea. Dinner was always the main meal of the day. When I went to secondary school, I had packed lunch, so we had breakfast, lunch and dinner instead during term time, but reverted to dinner in the middle of the day in the holidays. I remember a friend asking me what I had had for my midday meal one day (Dad was at work - a teacher - so dinner was in the evening) and when I told her, she said 'why dont you have a proper lunch? To me that WAS a proper lunch (thinking I should have had my main meal) - dinner was what you called a main meal, not lunch. But she was posher than we were, so she had breakfast, lunch (main meal), tea and supper in her house.

Crisps were Smiths and came with a little twist of blue paper with the salt in, Some poured vinegar in the bag too, and 'invented' salt and vinegar crisps.

Great post thanks for this
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:39 am

Dripping sandwiches in 60's (with a layer of crisps if you could find any). But even in 70's a lot of corner shops sold workers dripping teacakes for lunch. The kids I use to teach were looking at me disgusted with some of the stuff we used to eat back then. Odd isn't it, used to eat dripping like it was going out of fashion, especially the layer you got with belly pork after cooking. But like most of my mates, we were all on the skinny side. EXERCISE!!!!
Imagine, we got kicked out the house early doors in summer 6 week holidays, off to the woods, tree climbing back home for teatime or when mum hung out the window shouting your name. Try that now, see how long it takes for children's dept to come and see you!
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:42 am

Spot on Andy......I would never swap growing up in those days for the children's lot of today. We all made our own entertainment and it wasn't until the World Cup in 66 that we saw our first telly. Yes we watched it having tea, but out to "play" straight after. We all did the normal kids stuff , train spotting, exploring, orchard raiding. " Camping" in the garden, using a brush between two boxes and a sheet?. Trying to catch pigeons with a stick, a box and string after raiding the cornflakes. ( never caught one !!!!!) Growing up without the luxuries of life was innocent bliss.
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PostSubject: Re: Eating in the UK in the Fifties - modern parents take note   Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:50 am

I remember junket, it was a quick and cheap pudding ('desserts' were the 'just' kind and applied to 'wrong-uns' who 'came unstuck'!). We had dinner (at midday) and tea - never 'lunch'. Sometimes, mainly for the adults, there was 'supper'. If you were a child and lucky enough to take part, it would more than likely be milk and a biscuit. Milk was a sustaining food, as were butter and cheese. No saturated fats talk, and I don't think we ever heard of food allergies. Suet dumplings were often added to a family stew to make it go further, as was pearl barley. Lentils were a part of the diet, like dried peas (both of them soaked and then cooked). As a young married man after the war, my mother made a classic error, trying to make lentil cutlets without soaking the lentils first! La Up North, Yorkshire pudding was served as a separate course, sometimes with gravy.
Boiled sweets were more common than chocolate, for children, and were regarded as good value for money rather than a hazard to teeth. Biscuits were sold out of large boxes, displayed on a stand, and you could have a selection made up, and weighed, in a large brown paper bag. The broken variety was also available, cheaper, and perfectly acceptable for family use as they tasted just as good.

I could go on and on (but won't!).
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