Sunday, 30 January 2011

Food: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week 5.

This is the fifth challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 5 - Food

Fussy and unadventurous - that describes me as regards food  in the 1950's when  meals were simple, hearty and all home prepared. 

Breakfast was Weetabix, but as I hated milk over anything I used to spread it with marmalade and eat it dry.  Saturday meant a cooked breaksfast treat of bacon, sausage, fried bread and fried egg.
My mother's recipte book

Main meals did not vary much - a roast on a Sunday with the left-overs on Monday either turned into cottage pie (delicious)  or served cold with chips;  sausage and mash, Lancashire Hotpot, (one of my favourites)    corned beef hash and on Friday fish and chips.  For vegetables my only memory is of peas, onions and carrots plus Brussel sprouts (ugh)  at Christmas. Desserts were puddings at least once a week, such as spotted dick with custard  or golden syrup sauce, baked apples, and rice pudding (which my father loved all his life  but I hated),wih the weekend treat fruit pies or crumbles or lemon meringue.  Shrove Tuesday meant pancakes served with sugar and lemon.

A page from my mother's recipe book
My mother was a great baker and a great follower of the Bero Book  - Caribbean  slices, Victoria sponges, chocolate crispies  coconut pyramids, ginger biscuits and Shrewsbury biscuits, flapjacks, fairy cakes, butterfly cakes. Eccles cakes, home made jam and jellies with the muslin bag slung between to two chairs to drip.   I loved home-made marmalade - nothing to beat it.


Sunday tea was invariably egg & cress or paste sandwiches followed by tinned peaches or jelly.  or jelly fluff (whipped up with evaporated milk) and chocolate cake with butter icing. or other home baking.

We always sat round the table for meals, apart from Sunday tea when it was round a  trolley,   whilst we watched the classic Sunday serial on the television - or "The Lone Ranger" with Tonto and "Hiya Silver".

Standard birthday party fare was sandwiches, sausage rolls, sausages on sticks, jellies in fancy dishes,    and little iced gem biscuits. The pieces  de resistance were the iced cake with candles and (very special) an Ice Cream Cake. bought at the last minute  from the nearby Palatine Dairy - we had no fridge then. 

I used to go with my mother into town to meet my aunt at a cafe on a Saturday afternoon, but I can't remember ever as a child  going out to a cafe or restaurant for a meal.

Another Saturday treat came from my father who bought us all a small bar of chocolate - for me Fry's Turkish Delight and for my mother a Kit Kat - this continued until I was well into  my teens.  Other penny treats we bought with our pocket money - sherbet, liquoricee sticks, Pontefract cakes,  or sweet cigarettes when we pretended to be grown up.    My grandfather gave us most Sundays a bag of pear drops.  Otherwise snacks were generally unheard of - bread and jam in the afternoon, very occasional packet of plain crisps where you had to hunt for the little  blue twist of salt,  or in summer a rhubarb stick from the garden to dip into a poke of sugar.

I stayed for school dinners as we lived a bus ride away from school.  Like most people I hated them, especially the fatty  meat, red cabbage and the milk puddings - rice, tapioca (called frog spawn) and semolina where I tried to eke out the miserable spoonful of jam to disguise the awful taste.  Also among my dislikes soggy  bread & butter pudding and Queen's pudding (apart from the meringue topping),   Current pie was one of my favourites - despite its nickname of fly pie or fly cemetery.  Menus did not change much over my 13 years of school life.

Looking back so much of this food seems stodgy and fattening, yet I cannot remember obesity being an issue.  I suppose we walked everywhere, played outside, got plenty of fresh air and exercise and did not snack as today.  

Most of these memories come from my primary school days and the towns we lived in had little cosmopolitan influences.  Nothing sticks particularly in my mind of later meal trends - we had  chicken more often, tinned salmon for Sunday tea and grapefruit for breakfast.  It was years before I became more adventurous with my tastes and braved pasta and pizzas, Chinese and Indian food!  

My mother

My mother's baking, though  continued  apace, and she made sure that the bisicuit tin and cake tin remained filled until she  was well into her 80's.   


                                     52 Weeks Personal Genealogy and History

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