Saturday, 8 November 2014


'The Transport of the Future'
When we were kids, my brother and I had a couple of big old books from the 1950s that I think must have belonged to my mum, or her brothers, when they were youngsters.   My brother kept them in his room, mostly because he was the eldest, and partly because I was inclined to 'mark' the pages of books with a red biro.

These old books, among their tales of derring-do, included full page illustrations entitled, 'How the World Will Look in 1975!' These pictures caused us endless amusement with their prophecies of personal flying saucers and hover-highways.

Confidently I proclaimed that all the major developments had already been made.  There would be no more major leaps in technology or lifestyle because, 'if you think about it', I said, with total conviction, 'there is nothing more to invent'.

I know.  What a nob.

Naturally I was completely wrong.  There have been many, many inventions and...stuff.  I love to see my kids little faces blink uncomprehendingly as I regale them with tales of telephones that had to be plugged in - all the time.  And how we only had three tv channels and one telly, and that programming stopped completely at certain times of the day.

Something that has also changed considerably since I was a kiddie is food - especially its range and availability. Supermarkets were not the massive superstores of today carrying vast amounts of different and exotic products.  Oven Chips were about as avant garde as we got in our town.  Truly I knew people for whom Spaghetti Bolognese was a mysterious and unknown food that should be treated with suspicion. My nan ate it with a knife and fork.

A recent clear-out of our shed (bear with me, it is relevant) provoked a celebratory whoop from Mr W and me when we uncovered something precious we had previously mourned as lost.

A set of Marguerite Patten Cookery Cards.

They were produced in around 1967 (before even I was born) and, when we were given them about 15 years ago, Mr W and I spent the entire evening delighting in the glorious, technicolour recipes.
They are hilarious.  And that is not to denigrate Ms Patten in any way.  But it does show much fashions and tastes in food have changed.

With the rediscovery of the cards were able to share with our bemused offspring pictures of food deemed 'special occasion' or 'party' way back in the Days of Yore.  We could graphically demonstrate examples of meals from the 'Every Day Budget' section - many of them bearing a striking resemblance to the kind of food that was presented to Mr W and me as kids.  And, since our parents were War Babies, born and brought up with food shortages and rationing, any food presented to us as children was expected to be eaten and no fuss.  Regardless of how manky it might look.

I have selected a random-ish collection of the cards for your delight.  If you are very lucky, I may just do a series.

So, starting with Supper Dishes...

At first I thought it was on a bed of rice.  It's not, it's mash.
This would have been considered quite posh in our house.

 Or, perhaps on a Sunday, you might like...

It's a Luncheon Meat crown.  Luncheon meat.
Filled with sweetcorn and garnished with raisins.

A more simple supper idea is the lovely...

Not sure which 'Reine' was lucky enough to have this dish named
after her.  Or perhaps it's just deemed fit for a queen - they have
cut the crusts off the toast after all.

And, for something lighter, in the summer months I offer up...

Not sure what to say about this.
Pretty sure my kids would run a mile.

Moving on to Party Food.  Brace yourselves, it's fairly swanky.

Personally I think there's a lot to be said for a bowl of Twiglets

As I was saying...Twiglets.

All beautifully presented in a cauliflower.

 And if you really wanted to push the boat out...

Those things in the centre?  Cheese balls.
Cream cheese rolled in blanched almonds.
This is not exactly finger-food. 

As you can see, the next treats are 'Celebration Cakes for Coffee or Tea' - because in England we really know how to celebrate.

Sweet Betty, are those slices of tomato on top of those tarts??

Finally, a 'Quick' party dessert.  Brilliant because everybody knows the best parties are the impromptu ones - but it's still nice to be able to rustle up something special to serve your guests.

Seriously, wow.
(The first ingredient is listed as 'Quick Creaming Fat'.  Yummers).

So there you are.  Don't say I never do anything nice for you.

You're welcome :-)