Monday, 12 May 2014

50s Food

The standard meal was boiled mutton, boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes. It was even worse when the mutton was cold and the cabbage had been boiled for three hours.  We also ate cold tongue and cold ham (both delicious).

Breakfast and tea were lovely (Chelsea buns, lardy cakes, fairy cakes, cup cakes, pink icing, shredded coconut), lunch and dinner were revolting. Huge joints of meat were cooked and eaten for Sunday lunch. (Joints had been unavailable during rationing, wartime and after. After years of bacon and sausages, people fell on steak and roast beef. Not so much fun for children who struggled to cut it and chew it. We’d have been happy with sausages – or macaroni cheese – or fish and chips.)

Anything that might have made this spartan fare palatable – butter, chutney – was strictly rationed, even when rationing was over. The mindset lingered for years.

Vicarage Mutton
Hot on Sunday
Cold on Monday
Hashed on Tuesday
Minced on Wednesday
Curried Thursday
Broth on Friday
Cottage pie Saturday.

For school lunch, we were often given “mince” – grey, tasteless and overcooked but at least you didn’t have to try and cut it using adult-size knives and forks, or chew it using tiny milk teeth.

Spaghetti came in. Bohemians were ahead of the game. Many wondered how to eat it, so they cut it into short lengths – sometimes before cooking. Others bossily snapped: “Twirl it round your fork!”, “It’s supposed to be al dente!”, and “Don’t cut it!”. Heinz brought out tinned spaghetti (very soft, in sweet tomato sauce). We ate it on toast. The middle classes had hysterics.

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