Looking through my old recipe books, the patterns of meals in the past were very different. I know we seem to eat more today with all our convenience foods and snacking, and the 24 hour availability of anything you might fancy to eat, but according to these old books from seventy to a hundred years ago, they ate quite a lot in the past too.

Breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, supper… We have a light breakfast and lunch, and a little more for our evening meal. Once I’ve eaten that I really don’t want any more! Looking t recipes for ‘supper dishes’ there are some very tasty sounding suggestions – tasty for a light lunch such as asparagus scramble – scrambled eggs and asparagus, or stuffed baked aubergine (aubergines aren’t just a modern continental import, people have been growing and cooking with them for a very long time!) The baked aubergines are stiffed with a breadcrumb, chopped onion, chopped mushroom filling and topped with grated cheese… sounds tasty to me! other things we would recognise, cauliflower cheese, lentil curry, stuffed peppers, savoury pancakes, gnocchi – yes British people made their own gnocchi long before the war… we could find these on many menus!

However, tastes have changed, and there are some suggestions which I think we would find odd to say the least!

  • almond savouries sound nice – until you look at the ingredients chopped almonds and whole almonds, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, Yorkshire Relish (a thin fruity sauce) fried and thickened with flour – not disgusting but rather strange!
  • banana and cheese – bread and butter spread with anchovy paste, topped with slices of cheese, then slices of banana, then capers… um, no thank you!
  • bloater savoury – cold bloater on cold buttered toast, decorated with piped whipped butter… another no from me
  • young carrots in a cheese sauce
  • celery in gravy – boiled celery and gravy made from Bisto – and bacon
  • cheese eggs on turnip tops… no, just no
  • fried cucumbers – can you fry a cucumber? Yes, apparently…
  • fish rarebit – fish and cheese? I think I will give that a miss!
  • jellied lamb… much as I love lamb that would not be on my supper plate, thank you
  • parsnip pie – sounds like something Baldrick might enjoy
  • seakale flan – sounds a bit hipster

I think on the whole, a plain biscuit and a cup of tea will suffice!

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