Fat of the Land

Eating habits and the types of food we eat have continued to evolve since the beginning of time, yet they appear to have changed dramatically throughout the past fifty odd years. The delivery to our home of our first refrigerator was to transform our lives, being filled with perishable foods bought via a small high street shopping jaunt when one walked, and carrying just one bag. Fast food and the massive supermarket experience were things of science fiction. Indeed, I tasted my first burger in 1973 during my initial visit to Vancouver. Surely no one would ever drive a car to a massive warehouse on the outskirts of town, spend the best part of an hour filling a trolley with enough food to keep the family fed for the week: even longer, and pay with a piece of plastic. I’ve been told so many times that so many foods are bad for my health, and the experts, nutritionists and scientists certainly have a point, but it doesn’t stop me from reminiscing about a life when food wasn’t a thing to be feared or judged, it was simply a case of eating the most practical, tastiest food possible within an allotted budget. Every morning my dad would go to work on an egg, sometimes two. His toast would be covered in butter, not margarine – or ‘spread’ as we conveniently call it these days.

The 60's cookery 'Bible' in our home. Mrs.Beeton's Book of Household Management. This is the 1960 reprint from 1961 - 100 years after the first edition.

The 60’s cookery ‘Bible’ in our home. Mrs.Beeton’s Book of Household Management. This is the 1960 reprint from 1961 – 100 years after the first edition.

Another edition in our home: Mrs Beeton's Every Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book, c1894

Another edition in our home: Mrs Beeton’s Every Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book, c1894

We would eat more offal in those days with liver or kidney being two of my childhood favourites invariably served with onions, potatoes in all their various forms, with masses of green and orange vegetables. Beef and chicken were reserved for Sunday’s, or special occasions, and I have to give praise for the simple glorious pleasure of enjoying ‘dripping’ on toast. Any puddings or sweets were hand made by my mum, grandma or my sister: never the men. Chips were cooked using masses of lard in a chip pan, and a full English ‘fry-up’ was never viewed with suspicion.

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