It is almost impossible to explain to today’s pampered generation just what it was like in the years immediately after the end of World War 2, but for those who lived through that traumatic period, the one thing that is noticeable, is their appreciation of food standards and reluctance to waste produce. Much of this will have been imprinted into their minds due to the rationing that they had to endure in the years during and subsequently, the decade after the bloody campaign.
Things that are completely taken for granted nowadays were in very short supply, or totally disappeared from the shelves altogether. Bananas and oranges were unheard of for more than 15 years in Great Britain, and produce such as peas, beans and salad could only be seen during their season. Sugar, bacon, cheese, butter and margarine were incredibly hard to get hold of, and consequently were very expensive. Strawberries were a real treat, and could only be bought in a 3-4 week period, there were no supermarket freezers and such like that today’s shoppers frequent.
Indeed, back in the 1950’s life was tough, and money was tight, so many people had to do the best they could just to get by and that usually meant growing your own food and indulging in some home cooking and baking. Many gardens would have rows of beans and carrots that would later become parts of meals, for the family or indeed soups. Very often the men of the house would go off hunting for rabbits or fishing and these would be the main dish.
Many households would have access to trees which gave them apples, pears and plums and it would normally fall to the lady of the house to bake a pie that would be shared between not just the family, but neighbours too. Rhubarb was also a major dish of the time, grown in the bucket load and served as a delicious pudding with the treat of a drop of custard or ice cream as a topping.
None of this though, need be left in the fifties, we all are perfectly capable of growing our own food and relying less on the big stores and their sell by dates. So much good stuff is casually thrown away, simply because of a label designed for stock controls, not as a safety warning; indeed the generation from post war must shake their heads in disbelief at the modern health and safety morons who brainwash impressionable targets.
Home cooking is a joy when it works, and as they say practice makes perfect, so if the need is there to tighten the purse strings, then the way to go is to start growing your own – why not get yourself an allotment, they are coming back to fashion – and partake in some good old fashioned home recipes.
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