‘When I visited my childless aunt and uncle for afternoon tea we would have either fish paste sandwiches, cut into triangles, or salmon paste sandwiches, or pink salmon sandwiches, followed by Libby’s fruit salad with Carnation milk. I still remember swishing the Carnation milk around the fruit salad, and getting that little grape.’
‘Throughout the entire fifties we had only one meal: mince and mashed potatoes, with stewed apple and custard for pudding. We never went out to eat, and when we went on outings we took sandwiches made with bloater paste or Spam, and sometimes one of those fruit pies in cardboard boxes.’
‘The highlight of coming home from the swimming baths after the Splash Club on (usually freezing) Thursday nights was stopping off at the fish and chip shop for four penn’orth of fish and chips – with the piece de resistance, extra batter bits from the fish pan.’
‘School dinners were terrible. It took me years before I could eat cabbage after I left school, because when they took the lid off the stainless steel containers the smell of the cabbage was nauseating.’
‘Food in our house was an absolute ritual. If you asked me what I had for dinner on the first Monday in 1950 and the last Friday in 1059, I would be able to tell you. Because Sunday was a beef joint, with a monumental, plate-sized Yorkshire pudding filled to the brim with gravy; Monday was cold beef, and Tuesday was beef stew. Wednesday was sausages and mash; Thursday was rabbit pie; Friday was fish – and I can’t face fish now because of all those Friday dinners – and Saturday was sandwiches, eaten on the run before the football match or the cricket.’
‘People used to mix butter and sugar together as a substitute for cream, which you justcouldn’t get unless you paid a fortune. It was called buttercream, I think. I never liked butter so I thought it tasted revolting.’
‘We had terrible desserts, like rice pudding, tapioca, semolina. I hated all of them.’
‘I remember lots of bulky foods. My favourite pudding was Spotted Dick, with lots of that revolting golden syrup, or treacle or custard. Of course it was just flour and water with a few raisins bunged in, boiled up in an old stocking or something.’
Extracted, with permission, from The 50s & 60s: The Best of Times – Growing up and being young in Britain by Alison Pressley, published by Michael O’Mara Books Limited.
Copyright © Alison Pressley 1999, 200, 2002, 2003; compilation copyright © Michael O’Mara Books Limited 1999, 200, 2002, 2003. All rights reserved.