'What could I do, my good fellow, but cut the connection? I discovered that Lady Mary actually ate cabbage!'
Beau Brummell
Captain Jesse, The life of George Brummell Esq., Commonly Called Beau Brummell, vol 1, London, 1886, p119

                                                               Medieval Food
Above: Eggs, butter and cheese.
Photograph provided by Aryanna Japhayel
In the summer of 2018 Torbryan Church in Devon mounted a display on the subject of medieval food.
Pottage was the staple food for ordinary people - basically oats and root vegetables, flavoured with herbs. These were cooked in a clay pot, and stirred with a wooden stick called a spartle.*
Food for the wealthy had much more variety (eg venison and other meats) and taste (eg almonds, rice, raisins and spices).
Food was eaten according to the season, and the festivals of the church reflected this: for example, at Christmas people feasted on meat, because animals were culled when there was not sufficient fodder to feed them over the winter. At Lent stocks of food supplies were low and hens might not be laying, so it was an appropriate time to fast.
The church dictated that only fish could be eaten on Fridays. Monks had large fishponds to supply the monastery, but they also ate ducks and geese on Fridays, as these were classified as fish.**

* 'Spurtle' is an alternative word. See
See  for a short article on medieval food

** Apparently the church distinguished animals by those that lived on land and those that lived on or in water. As a result in some countries it was permitted to eat, for example, beavers and capybaras.
See also Snails, below

                                                  Some early cookery writing

                                                                                  The Forme of Cury

Written circa 1390 on vellum manuscripts, an edition was published in 1780 by Samuel Pegge, who gave it the name The Forme of Cury*.
It consists of nearly 200 recipes, (depending on which manuscript is consulted) and is thought to have been written by the cooks of Richard II. The recipes range from the everyday (eg common pottages) to the exotic, which included elaborate food sculptures made of sugar, jelly, paste or wax. Valuable spices used included caraway, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and pepper.
The animals eaten included whale, crane, curlew,  heron, seal and porpoise.
The Forme of Cury is the first text to mention olive oil, gourds, mace and cloves in British cooking.
Clarissa Dickson-Wright, A History of English Food
*Cury is the middle English word for cookery

Right: Page from The Forme of Cury, part of the Rylands Medieval Collection.
By Master chef of Richard II of England [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

                                                             The Art of Cookery made Plain and Simple

The Art of Cookery made Plain and Simple ('Which far exceeds any Thing of the Kind yet published'), was first published in 1747.  Written by Hannah Glasse (1708 - 1770), it ran through at least 40 editions, some of them without her consent.
In her note 'To the Reader' she says that her intention is to 'instruct the lower sort...the great cooks have such a high way of expressing themselves, that the poor girls are at a loss to know what they mean: and in all receipt books yet printed there are such an odd jumble of things as would quite spoil a good dish; and indeed some things so extravagant, that it would be almost a shame to make use of them, when a dish can be made full as good, or better, without them.'
It can be read here:

                                                                   Modern Cookery for Private Families

Above: Eliza Acton
By An early photographer (before 1859) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Modern Cookery for Private Families was written by Eliza Acton, 1799 - 1859.
The book was published in 1845, by which time Eliza had run a boarding school, and self-published a volume of poetry. The poetry was not a success, and allegedly the publisher Longman suggested that what the market really needed was a good cookery book.
She tested the recipes herself, and was the first cookery writer to list the ingredients separately. She gave detailed instructions and pointed out possible problems.
'Our receipts, moreover...are confined to such as may be perfectly depended on, from having been proved beneath our own roof and under our own personal inspection.' (Preface)
The book was an instant success, eventually selling 60,000 copies. 1908 saw its fortieth edition.

The second edition, entitled Modern Cookery in All Its Branches, can be downloaded at

As well as published books, many women kept their own hand-written recipes.
This recipe, from a collection circa 1820-40, comes from a Miss Coombe:
'Take the fat, ears, tongue, tail, snout and hocks of a pig - after they have been kept in pickle, 3 or 4 days boil them in a little water, until every bone will come out easily - throw in ½ a handful of chopped sage, the same of parsley and a seasoning of pepper, salt- make in fine powder, simmer till the herbs are scalded, then  [?] the whole into a mould. Some hard boiled eggs to be placed at the edge of the mould or basin.'

Right: Page from a mid-twentieth century 'Ration Book'.
This recipe is for an Economical Creamy Fruit Whisk, made with a small jar of bottled fruit or a small tin of fruit.
Vanessa Griffith collection
Left and above: Hand-written recipe books. They were obviously valued - when the back cover tore on one it was sewn together again.
Vanessa Griffith collection

For more early books, see Food under Sources

                                                               Welsh Cuisine
Some Welsh foods:

Caerphilly cheese
Welsh rarebit
Leeks – the national vegetable
Glamorgan sausage

Right: Wheels of unpasteurised Caerphilly cheese.
By Miyagawa [CC BY-SA 4.0  (], from Wikimedia Commons

Welsh cakes
Bara brith
Laver bread

Left: Bara brith, 'Speckled bread', a traditional tea time fruit cake.
By zingyyellow...! from Wales Cymru UK (Bara Brith) [CC BY 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons
                                                                                 History of Welsh food

There were no urban settlements in Wales 1000AD, but for the next 300 years both towns and villages developed with an increasing population.

Their diet relied on food that could be grown or reared themselves: meat, dairy (milk, cheese, butter), eggs, root vegetables and oats - the most reliable crop in the wet and cold climate.

Historically the Welsh king demanded tribute in the form of food, codified in the Laws of Hywel Dda*. From every village the duty was 'a horse-load of wheat flour and an ox, and seven threaves of oats of one binding, and what shall suffice of honey for one vat.'
The winter gift of food was 'a sow three fingers in the shoulder and in the long ribs and in the ham; and a salted flitch, and three score loaves of wheat bread if wheat grows there...the summer dawnbwyd [gift of food] is butter and cheese.'
*Hywel Dda died in 950

Toasted cheese - Welsh rabbit (later rarebit) seems to have been a particular favourite in Welsh communities. It could even be used to lure people out of heaven:
There was once a commotion, when 'a grete company of welchmen...trobelyd all the others.' St Peter 'went outside of heven gayts and cryd with a loude voyce, "Cause Babe! Cause Babe!" [This would now be caws pobi], that is as moche as to say "Rosty'd chese!" Which thynge the Welchmen herying ran out of heven a grete pace...and when St Peter sawe them all out he sodenly went into Heven and lokkyd the dore! and so aparyd all the Welchmen out!'
Andrew Boorde, 16th century.

Food would be cooked in a single cauldron over an open fire on the floor; it would likely be reheated and topped up with fresh ingredients over a number of days.
The basis of the classic dish cawl varies, but might involve home-cured bacon, leeks and cabbages - variations and additions might be lamb, swede and potatoes.

'The leek is used as a pot-herb in most parts of Britain, especially in Wales, where the natives are said to be fond of it...'
William Buchan, Concerning the Diet of the Common People, London, 1797, p36

Some dishes could be cooked on a bakestone, a flat stone which could be placed above a fire to heat it evenly.
A recipe for Welsh cakes from the late 1800s uses plain flour, baking powder, butter, lard, sugar, currants, a beaten egg and three tablespoons of milk.

Allegedly the cakes were popular with Welsh miners, who could carry them easily in their pockets.
Timothy G Roufs and Kathleen Smyth Roufs, Sweet Treats around the World, 2014, p375
Above: Bakestone with Welsh cake.
Diane Rees collection
Barley bread was eaten in the Middle Ages.
As with other breads, it was often cooked on a bakestone that was covered with an inverted cast-iron pan. Various forms of fuel were used, with embers being heaped on top of the pan to turn it into an oven.

                                                                                       New Influences
Italian workers came to Britain from the mid 1800s, with those in southern Wales coming from the mountainous zone between Genoa and Parma, and in particular the town of Bardi. By the early 20th century Italians could be found owning and working in cafes, fish and chip shops and ice cream parlours.
The Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press 2008
Above: The Square Cafe Bargoed
By GugnePorcu, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

From the 1990s there has been revived interest in historical Welsh foods, with an interest in farmers markets, Welsh organic vegetables and farm-made cheese, salty butters, laver bread and cawl meat. The Welsh Development Agency promoted good quality Welsh produce through the 'Wales, the True Taste' scheme, now superceded by Food and Drink Wales, an initiative supported by the Welsh government.


Below: Welsh Teatime Recipes, by A R Quinton, J Salmon Ltd., 2000

Above: The Welsh Dresser, by Sian Llewellyn, Celtic Educational, 1978

                                                        Canning and Preserving

In 1795 Napoleon's Society for the Encouragement of Industry offered a prize for a method of food preservation that could be used by the French military, ie that was economical and reliable.
Nicholas Appert won the prize in 1810, after finding that food cooked inside glass jars did not deteriorate as long as the seals remained intact:
'In 1810 a sum of 12,000 francs was awarded him, as encouragement, by the minister of the interior. In 1816 and 1820 Appert received medals from the Society for the Encouragement of National Industry and in 1822 obtained the reward of 2,000 francs, offered by the same society. Finally, in 1827, the establishment for the preservation of food, founded by Appert, obtained the gold medal at the exhibition.
We have already mentioned the immense advantages reaped by the navy from Appert's discovery. Meats thus preserved prevent scorbutic affections, and  are no more expensive than salted provisions. This establishment preserves all sorts of food, meats, fruits, vegetables etc., with their natural smell and taste. Two boxes of beef, preserved in 1822, were exhibited in 1823, and afterwards in 1839....By means of this ingenious discovery, one may, at all seasons and in all climates, enjoy the luxury of peas, asparagus, apricots etc., as fresh as if just picked.'
Translation of Edward Foucaud, The book of Illustrious Mechanics of Europe and America, New York, 1847, pp341, 342

Right: Canning jar
Jpbarbier Jean-Paul Barbier [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Nicholas Appert used glass containers, but in England in August 1810 Peter Durand filed a patent  for preserving food in iron canisters. He also published an English version of Appert's work.
Engineer Bryan Donkin saw the possibilities of developing this method of food preservation, and bought the patent in 1811
The Canmaker, - Accessed 31-03-2019

'Donkins attention was next turned to the means of preserving meat and vegetables in air-tight cases, and he rented a considerable factory for this purpose'*
The Border Magazine, Edinburgh, July 1863, p244
*In south London
The Canmaker, - Accessed 31-03-2019

Left: Tin made by Bryan Donkin and Co., 1812
Bryan Donkin Archive Trust, via Science Museum Group.  2008-29. Science Museum Group Collection Online. Accessed 5 April 2019.

In 1814 an expedition to Baffin's Bay carried food preserved in cans, and uneaten food from an Arctic expedition in 1824 was found to be still edible in 1937.
The New Scientist, 13 December 1956, p37

At first opening the cans was a challenge - soldiers allegedly used bayonets or smashed the containers with rocks.  Answering a question in the New Scientist in 1998, Clive Orrock said:
'I quote from the instructions printed on a can of veal taken by William Parry on his third
expedition to find the Northwest Passage in 1824: “Roasted Veal: cut around on
the top near to outer edge with a chisel and hammer.” '
Clive Orrock, In the Can, New Scientist , 21 November 1998

Ezra J Warner patented the first can opener in 1858, in America.
Why the Can Opener Wasn't Invented Until Almost 50 years After the Can, Accessed 31-03-2019

Demand by the military during various 19th conflicts allowed companies to expand, which meant that in peacetime they could produce canned food in bulk and sell to wider markets.

WWI. The Imperial War Museum has an excellent webpage The Food that Fuelled the Front, which includes images and text covering all aspects of feeding the troops on both sides of the conflict'

Right: A tin of Maconochie beef and vegetable stew - not relished by most soldiers.
© Imperial War Museum, to whom many thanks

                                                                               Some Notable Companies

Crosse and Blackwell.
'The history of [Crosse and Blackwell] is a curious one. It dates as far back as 1706;* and yet in 1835 it employed only some fifteen hands. In thirty years the number employed has increased from fifteen to nearly four hundred, because of the demand for all the edible luxuries of Europe which can be preserved for the East has sprung up within this period. Some of the lobsters are now caught in Nova Scotia, packed in these small tin cases, and carried off to presently give a savour of home to a dinner up country in India, or in China, or in Australia. No less than 100,000 of these cans travel East every year, in the company of other tins containing salmon which have been caught at Labrador, and oysters, and preserved bacon, and mock turtle and every kind of soup, nay the plum pudding for the Anglo-Indian Christmas dinner goes forth in the same good company, with a host of  other home delicacies.'
The London and China Telegraph, June 10 1867, p297

* The firm was originally West and Wyatt. Apprentices Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell joined in 1819.  When William Wyatt retired in 1830, (Richard West had already died) Crosse and Blackwell bought the business, borrowing £600 from their families to do so. - Accessed 02-03-2019

The London and China Telegraph's description of Crosse and Blackwell at the World's Fair in 1867:
'The "World's Fair" in Paris is now in its zenith of its splendour....The chief exhibitors in this department [Food Products] are the firms of Crosse and Blackwell and Huntley and Palmer....The really artistic and brilliant array of ornamental glass and pottery in which the great purveyors of European delicacies to our Anglo-Indian empire, Messrs. Crosse and Blackwell are pleased to enclose their condiments and preserves.... The case of Messrs Crosse and Blackwell is one of the handsomest in the British section; and the elegant jars, many of them, be it observed, of fine Wedgwood ware, bought direct from the great firm, are set forth with great taste. As a show of bottles and pottery it is worth a visit. The variety of food preserved is as extraordinary as its quantities are. The necessity for all these preserved provisions has grown with the extension of our population in different parts of the world.
The London and China Telegraph, June 10 1867, p297

Above: Morris delivery van, 1937
Charles01 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]
In 2017 archaeologists at the Crossrail site in Tottenham Court Road discovered over 13,000 Crosse and Blackwell containers from the 19th and 20th century. Formerly the site of the company's Soho factory, the finds included earthenware marmalade jars, jars for preserved ginger, mustard and piccalilli, and glass bottles for mushroom catsup. Crosse and Blackwell used the site until 1921.
Preserved in time: 13,000 containers discovered at Crossrail site, - Accessed 05-04-2019


William Underwood Company.
Launched in 1819, selling luxury goods and ships' provisions. Foodstuffs included lobster, oysters, fish, meat, fruit, some vegetables and soups.
Gary Allen and Ken Albala, The Business of Food, Enclopaedia of the Food and Drink Industry, Connecticut and London, 2007, p73

Produced by William Underwood and Co., Boston, Mass
24918 Fresh turkey
24932 Deviled turkey
25271 Preserved fresh halibut
24923 Fresh codfish
25273 Fresh halibut
24922 Fresh mackerel
24924 Fresh salmon
24926 Fresh lobster
24933 Original deviled lobster
David S Jordan and Alembert W Brayton, Bulletin of the United States National Museum vols 12 -15, Washington 1878, pp185, 261

Above: Illustration of can of Underwood Deviled Ham
1921 advertisement, via Wikipedia, Wmjames [Public domain]

Above: Auditorium Main Plant, H J Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, USA
Miami U. Libraries - Digital Collections [Public domain]
My grandfather worked for Heinz, as did my father, who joined the firm aged 16. He went into the army at 18, but rejoined the company afterwards - they sponsored him at university, where he read chemistry. Both my grandfather and father travelled in their jobs: my grandfather to Northern Ireland and Canada, and my father to Portugal and Italy - he became fluent in Italian. Part of my father's work involved being on a taster panel, testing new proposed products.
Jan Morris

In 1869 Henry J. Heinz and L Clarence Noble began selling prepared grated horseradish - according to the horseradish was grown on a patch of garden given to Henry by his parents. They sold to nearby grocery stores, using clear glass bottles to show the quality of the food, together with distinctive labels. Heinz and Noble soon expanded their range with a other pickled foods and condiments.
Heinz Story, - Accessed 02-04-2019 Accessed 01-04-2019

Patent application 1425 - Celery Sauce. Heinz, Noble and Co., Pittsburg, Pa. Application filed August 18th, 1873 ' "Celebrated celery sauce" and a figure of the celery plant.'
Patent application 1426 - Horse-radish Heinz, Noble and Co., Pittsburg, Pa. Application filed August 18th, 1873' "Strictly pure horse-radish" and the figure of a horse-radish plant and root
Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, vol4, July - Dec 1873, Washington 1874, p212,213

'Of the industries of Woodstock one more remains to be noticed - the pickle factory. A stock company was organized in the fall of 1873, with $50,000 capital. The building being ready, a Mr Hopkins came from the east with the best of recommendations, and carried on business swimmingly till - pay day, when the bottom fell out.
The Directors then leased the factory for five years to Heinz, Noble and Co., of Pittsburgh, the integrity and business capacity of this firm being above suspicion. More money was raised, a new engine put in, vinegar machines set up, two additions built and the number of tubs doubled. Cucumbers, cauliflowers and cabbage were produced and turned over to the Nobles till the payments became due, when this firm too collapsed.'
C Walker and Co., Biographical Directory of the Taxpayers and Voters of McHenry County, 1877, p104

1876 F & J Heinz Company is launched. Heinz Tomato Ketchup appeared in the US, arriving in the UK in 1886.
Heinz Story, - Accessed 02-04-2019

In 1886 Henry Heinz took 5 cases of tinned products to the grocery buyer of Fortnum and Mason in London. The products included Tomato Ketchup and Baked Beanz. The buyer sampled the contents and said, "I think, Mr Heinz, we'll take the lot." Fortnum and Mason first stocked Cream of Tomato soup in 1910.
Fortnum and Mason, - Accessed 03-04-2019

Above: Advertisement for Heinz 57 Varieties, 1909 0r earlier. Scanned by the Seattle Public Library. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons"

In 1896 Heinz saw a poster on the New York railway advertising 21 styles of shoe. He was taken with the advertisement, and worked out that his company produced over 60 varieties of foodstuffs. He liked the number 57 - which resulted in Heinz 57 Varieties.
Heinz Story, - Accessed 02-04-2019

Above right: Women stamping out ends for cans. 1909 or earlier.Scanned by the Seattle Public Library. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Salesmen for the company had to be tall (6 foot according to, 5 feet 10 inches according to the book H J Heinz Company), smartly dressed* and particularly skilled at pitching their sales. The black sample bag included vacuum flasks, pickle forks and olive spears.
* A photo in H J Heinz Company shows a British sales force with each one carrying a furled umbrella.
Debbie Foster, Jack Kennedy, Images of America - H J Heinz Company, South Carolina, Illinois and others, 2006, p48

Although sales dropped, Heinz remained profitable during the depression of the 1930s, with Howard Heinz, Henry's  son, adding baby foods and instant soups to the product range.
Walter A Friedman, Birth of a Salesman, Massachusetts and London, 204, p238

Wartime shortages meant that tomato ketchup was not available in the UK between 1939 and 1948.
The Harlesden factory was bombed at least twice during WWII.
Heinz Story, - Accessed 02-04-2019

Baked beans were not rationed in the UK during the war, being classed as an essential food, but according to a lump of bacon, which used to be part of the product, was removed. It was never reinstated. - Accessed 04-04-2019

In 1940-41 there was a 'Quality for Milions' advertising campaign.'What a splendid food to preserve the stamina of the Nation in War-time.'

'Favorite luncheon rendezvous of smart young New York is the Cafe Lounge at the Hotel Savoy-Plaza. Here in this colorful setting dramatised by vivid murals, patrons enjoy food excellently prepared, perfectly served and tastefully complimented with famous keystone-labeled condiments such as rich and spicy Heinz Tomato Ketchup! Savoy-Plaza's experienced chefs know that salad dressings - like many of their specialities - benefit wonderfully from a dash of Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Heinz Chilli Sauce, and a generous portion of Heinz pure vinegar.'
Advertisement in Life Magazine, 21 September 1942, p32

'WW2 Packaging Hidden Under the Floorboards' has a great description of a tin of Heinz baked beans hidden in a Surrey house. - Accessed 04-04-2019

Heinz 57 Varieties were first advertised on television in 1955
1967 Was the year that introduced the slogan 'A million housewives every day pick up a tin of beans and say: Beanz Meanz Heinz.'
Heinz Story, - Accessed 02-04-2019

Remains of a type of flatbread made from wild wheat, barley and plant roots has been found at an archealogical site in the Black Desert in Jordan. It has been dated to between 14,600 and 11,600 years old.
Arranz-Otaegui, Amaia; Gonzalez Carretero, Lara; Ramsey, Monica N.; Fuller, Dorian Q.; Richter, Tobias, July 2013, . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115 (31): 7925–7930.

                                                                                      Bread in wartime

At the beginning of WWI Britain was dependent on food imports, which then became threatened by enemy attacks on ships.
In addition there was decreased manpower to produce food because of people joining the military, and as the war progressed poor harvests at home and abroad affected crops.

The public’s main concern was prices - there was a 61% increase in food prices between July 1914 and July 1916.
Board of Trade’s figures, Ian  F.W. Beckett, Home Front, 1914-1918. How Britain Survived the Great War (Richmond, 2006), p. 110.

The first Ministry of Food was established on 22 December 1916 under a food controller who, under the New Ministries and Secretaries Act 1916, was empowered to regulate the supply and consumption of food and take steps for encouraging food production.

'Captain Bathurst. The Food Controller's powers enable him to regulate the supply of food in such manner as he thinks best for maintaining a supply of food in the United Kingdom.'
Hansard HC Deb 19 February 1917 vol 90 c993W

By May 1917, the Minister for Food warned the Cabinet that feeding the country after September would be ‘a difficult problem’.

 The Bread Order, 1917. 'This regulation made it illegal to sell bread until 12 hours after it had been baked. According to The Times, the government realised that stale bread was "more nutritious" and would be consumed 5% less than fresh bread.'
Above: WWI poster to encourage limiting the consumption of bread. It was hoped that voluntary rationing would be sufficient.
Clarke & Sherwell Ltd; Ministry of Food [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
                                                                                  The  National Loaf

At the beginning of WWII the food situation was the same as it had been at the beginning of WWI - the UK was dependent on a high level of imports, and supplies coming into the country were vulnerable to attack. Moreover, the less ships were used for food, the more they could be utilised for materials for the war effort.

'By mid 1940 shipping space was at a premium and considerable importance was therefore attached to the need to make available for human food a greater proportion of the wheat grain than had been customary.'
Nutritional aspects of bread and flour, Department of Health and Social Security, London 1981, p4, 2.5

As in the previous conflict, the government was reluctant to ration bread - instead they adopted the solution of extracting more flour from the grain, creating National Wheatmeal Flour, or National Flour.

Harriette Chick (1875 - 1977), a biochemist and leading medical researcher in nutrition, worked for the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine, London from 1905 until 1945 (afterwards becoming an honorary staff member).  In WWI she worked on processing tetanus antitoxin for the army, and developed the means whereby typhoid, paratyphoid and dysentery could be diagnosed. She then researched beri-beri, caused by a lack of vitamin B, and as a result dried egg and yeast were added to soldiers' diets.
A founding member of the Nutrition Society, in WWII she studied wartime diets and was involved in developing the National Loaf.
She was awarded a CBE in 1932 and a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) in 1949. According to the Cooksinfo website, the DBE was in recognition of her work on the loaf.
Catherine M C Haines, Helen M Stevens, International Women in Science, A Biographical Dictionary to 1950, California, Colorado and London, 2001, p60 - Accessed 05-03-2019

'Flour was used as a vehicle for the introduction of calcium into the diet in 1942 at a time when a possible shortage of dietary calcium was foreshadowed as a result of the restrictions in imports of dairy products. Bread made from higher extraction flours was also known to contain more phytic acid and this had been shown to interfere with calcium absorption.'
Nutritional aspects of bread and flour, Department of Health and Social Security, London 1981,p44, 8.2.2.

'Wholemeal loaf soon. A national wholemeal loaf will be available in the shops very soon - possibly this week - said an official of the Ministry of Food today. It will be a standardized article made from an 85 per cent extraction flour and follows scientific enquiries as to the best proportion of the wheat berry to put into the flour.'
Loncolnshire Echo 4 February 1941

The National Loaf was grey, dry, and had a tough crust. Cynthia Morey heard it described as 'Hitler's Secret Weapon'.
Cynthia Morey, Dark is the Dawn, 2009, p127

However, there were rumours that there might be compensations for eating the bread. In April 1942 MP Henry Channon dined with Lord Woolton, the Minister for Food. 'We...discussed the new vitamin bread, the National Loaf and I asked whether it was really an aphrodisiac? His Lordship looked startled.'
Chips, the Diaries of Sir Henry Channon, London 1967, p328

Although bread was not rationed during the war, it was restricted afterwards.
June 1946 'The introduction of bread and flour rationing from July 21 was announced by the Food Minister in the House of Commons yesterday.'
For the average adult (depending on the type of work they did) the ration was 90z of bread per day, some of which could be taken as flour or in cakes.
Winston Churchill, describing the measure as "extreme", said that the announcement was "one of the gravest I have ever heard in time of peace."
The Guardian, 28 June 1946,,105118,00.html - Accessed 03-03-2019

3rd July 1946 'The most hated measure ever to have been presented to the people of this country.' Daily Mail - Accessed 03-03-2019

One of the first advertisements for tea appeared  in 1658 : 'That excellent and by all Physicians approved, China drink, called by the Chinese, Tcha, by other nations Tay alias Tee, is sold at the Sultaness-head, a Cophee-house in sweetings rents by the Royal Exchange.'
London Mercurius Politicus, 30 September 1658

In 1662 Portuguese Catherine of Braganza married England's Charles II, and her fondness for tea popularized the drink. She is even said to have brought a casket of tea with her when she first arrived in England. - Accessed 05-03-2019

Edmund Waller wrote a birthday poem to Catherine, linking her to the drink:
'Venus her myrtle, Phoebus has her bays;
Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise.
The best of Queens, and best of herbs, we owe
To that bold nation, which the way did show
To the fair region where the sun doth rise,
Whose rich productions we so justly prize.
The Muse's friend, tea does our fancy aid,
Repress those vapors which the head invade,
And keep the palace of the soul serene,
Fit on her birthday to salute the Queen.' - Accessed 05-03-2019

'In 1664 the East India Company procured, with some difficulty (and at a cost of 40s per pound) a quantity scarcely exceeding a couple of pounds, as a rare present to King Charles II; four years later they had to pay at the rate of 50s a pound for a further quantity, destined to a similar use. Their own first importation was in 1669, when they received two canisters from Bantam, in Java.'
William Hughes, The Geography of British History, London, 1874, p224

The Licensed Victuallers' Association broadly agree, but put the first importation at 1667. 'Three years later [ie 1667] the Company issued their first order to import Tea, directed to their agent at Bantam, to the effect that he should send home 100lbs of the best Tea he could get.'
Licensed Victuallers' Tea Association, A History of the Sale and Use of Tea in England, London, 1870, p8

'In 1670-1 a duty of eighteen pence was imposed upon "every gallon of Tea made and sold, to be paid by the makers thereof" '
However, the tax was difficult to collect and easy to evade, 'so in 1688 the excise upon the liquor was repealed and heavy Customs duties imposed upon the imported Teas instead.
The East India Company now obtained the monopoly of the Tea trade.'
ibid, p8

'In 1745 the Legislature thought fit to reduce the duty from 4s per lb to 1s per lb., and 25 per cent on the gross price. This alteration gave such an impetus to the trade that in one year the consumption increased from about 730,000lbs to 2,360, 1785 the Government repealed the Excise duty, and imposed a Customs duty of only 12½ per cent..... this low duty, however, was too good to last; by a gradual advance in it from 12½ to 96 per cent the annual consumption was kept stationary for about 30 years.'
ibid pp12,13

When taxes were high there was an inevitable consequence:
"If you had high tariffs and goods people wanted, it gave smugglers a business opportunity,"  Helen Doe, Exeter University.
Would you risk jail for a cup of tea?, Accessed 06-03-2019

'When we read of the same article fetching fourteen-pence a-pound in Hamburg and eight shillings in England, we fear that human nature would be hardly strong enough to bear up against the temptation of transferring a good deal from the cheaper to the dearer market without allowing it to come under the observation of the Exciseman.'
Licensed Victuallers' Tea Association, A History of the Sale and Use of Tea in England, London, 1870, pp13,14

Afternoon tea.
Anna Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, is usually credited with the ritual of afternoon tea in 1840, after she became hungry in the afternoon, and asked for a light meal and tea.

Above: Wooden tea caddy. Date unknown, but from a time when it was thought that a lock was necessary.
Anne Bligh collection
However, a encyclopedia of 1822 has this to say: 'Tea, a meal or refreshment now almost universally taken in this country, sometime in the afternoon or evening.'
James Jennings, The Family Cyclopedia, London, 1822

Women were gathering together to drink tea at a much earlier date, although the time of day is unclear. 'Plain dealing', writing to the Gentleman's Magazine in 1735, had a lot to say about the habit: 'In Billingsgate, Stocksmarket etc. the females scatter scandal in plain English monosyllables: but ladies of better breeding make the Tea table their mart to disperse scandal, and attack reputations with great elegance, and soft language...'
The Gentleman's Magazine, vol 5, London, 1735,  p133

Tea was certainly drunk in the afternoon in the late 18th century, although possibly without food. This seems to have been the case in the early 1770s when Dr Lettsom described the changing habits of  breakfast and food in the afternoon: 'Before the use of tea, the general breakfast in this country consisted of something more substantial; milk in various shapes, ale and beer, with toast, cold meat and other additions...And one cannot suppose but that such a diet, and the usual exercise they took, would produce a very different state of blood and other animal juices, from that which Tea, a little milk or cream, and bread and butter affords.
It was not the breakfast only that seems to have contributed its share towards introducing a material alteration in the animal system, but the subsequent regale likewise in the afternoon. Tea is a second time brought before company; it is drank by most people, and often in no very  small quantities. Before the introduction of this exotic it was not unusual to entertain afternoon guests in a very different manner; jellies, tarts, sweetmeats; nay cold meat, wine, cyder, strong ale and even spirituous liquors under the title of cordials, were often brought out on these occasions, and perhaps carried to a culpable excess, and much to the injury of individuals.'
John Coakley Lettsom,The Natural History of the Tea-Tree with Observations on the Medical Qualities of Tea and Effects of Tea-drinking, London 1772, p66f

Tea rooms.
'[The tea rooms of] Miss Cranston...designed by Mr Mackintosh, are reckoned by some of the pilgrims to Glasgow as one of the sights of the city.'
The Studio, vol 26, 1902, p95

Catherine (Kate) Cranston was a pioneer in the development of tea rooms, beginning business at 114 Argyle Street, Glasgow, in 1879.
Miss Catherine (Kate) Cranston,, Accessed 08-03-2019

Insisting on high standards of cleanliness and service within stylish interiors, she created a welcoming atmosphere, particularly for women., Accessed 08-03-2019

She opened 205 Ingram Street, Glasgow in September 1886. She had acquired 209 Ingram Street by 1895, and by 1907 she also leased 215 and 217. She employed Charles Rennie Mackintosh to remodel the four units over a period of 12 years, starting in 1900.
Berlin, Werkbundarchiv, Museum der Dinge: Hermann Muthesius Estate, letters from Mackintosh to Hermann Muthesius, 24 January 1900, 12 July1900; Glasgow City Archives Collection: Dean of Guild Court plans, B4/12/1/7863; 'Studio Talk', Studio, 28, 1903, pp. 286–8, quoted in M179, Miss Cranston's Lunch and Tea Rooms,, Accessed 08-03-2019

Right: She also opened tearooms in Buchanan Street
Charles Rennie Mackintosh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Temperance Tea Parties.
'A Public Temperance Tea Party was held in the National School, in Ulverston, last Friday afternoon, when upwards of 200 took tea.' The school was decorated with real and artificial flowers and greenery, and large mottoes were hung in the room. One motto was from Proverbs, 'The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty'. 20 stuffed birds on a board added to the decoration.
A 'highly respectable company' attended and enjoyed the excellent provisions. After tea there was a meeting, where a reformed drunkard spoke of the benefits of eschewing alcohol; a later speaker said that abstinence was the only sure plan.
Kendal Mercury 25 July 1835, p4 cols 1,2

Concern over increasing alcohol consumption, and its effect both on individuals and society as a whole, led to the development of the temperance movement in the 19th century. Part of this movement was the emergence of temperance tea parties from the 1830s onwards.
The supporters of the movement came from liberals and evangelists, inclusing both men and women of the working and middle classes. Their message was that a religious and sober life rewarded the follower with a healthy body and a disciplined mind. The idea was that pleasurable behaviours which did not involve alcohol would spread from the tea party to the home and workplace.
Erika Rappaport, Sacred and Useful Pleasures: the Temperance Tea Party and the Creation of a Sober Consumer Culture in Early Industrial Britain, Journal of British Studies 52 (Oct 2013), p990-1016

Above: Polychrome mosaic of a rooster, National Museum of Rome, Baths of Diocletian
By Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

                                                            Late 14th century French recipe for Roast Chicken
'Take hens and cut their throats, then scald and pluck, being careful not to tear the skin...'
After soaking the chickens to refresh them, the housewife then had to take a reed, insert it between the flesh and the skin and blow into it. The entrails had to be removed through a split made between the shoulders; the skin was left on the feet, legs, wings and head.
The chickens were stuffed (with minced pork, mutton, veal and chicken, ground in a mortar with eggs, 'rich harvest-time cheese' and spices), skewered on a spit, glazed and cooked over the fire.
Gina L. Greco & Christine M Rose (translators), The Good Wife's Guide, (Le Ménagier de Paris), Ithaca and London 2012, 242

For the first half of the 20th century, chicken was regarded as a luxury item, a treat to be had occasionally.
Burnett 1966, Visser 1999, quoted by Peter Jackson, Anxious Appetites: Food and Consumer Culture, 2015

Hens were basically reared for their eggs; in WW2 over 1 million people kept chickens - 30% of the laying stock by the end of the war.
Holroyd 1986:155, ibid

1953 saw the building of the first UK broiler shed, and as the number of farms increased the price of chicken decreased. UK chicken production in 1950 was circa 1 million birds; by 1967 it was over 200 million.
Godley and Williams 2007:2, ibid

In a survey in 2011 Indian Chicken Tikka Masala was voted as the most popular UK dish.
Poultry World


'It's a wery remarkable circumstance, Sir', said Sam, 'that poverty and oysters always seem to go together'.
Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, chapter 22. First publ. 1836-37

A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said,
      Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
      Are very good indeed —
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
      We can begin to feed.'

Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Alice Through the Looking Glass, 1871
Above: A scene from The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll, drawn by Sir John Tenniel, 1871
via Wikimedia Commons
'The costermongers have nicknamed the long row of oyster boats moored close alongside the wharf "Oyster-street." On looking down the line of tangled ropes and masts, it seems as though the little boats would sink with the crowds of men and women thronged together on their decks. It is as busy a scene as one can well behold. Each boat has its black sign-board, and salesman in his white apron walking up and down "his shop", and on each deck is a bright pewter pot and tin-covered plate, the remains of the salesman's breakfast....the red cap of the man in the hold bobs up and down as he rattles the shells about with his spade. These holds are filled with oysters - a gray mass of sand and shell - on which is a bushel measure well piled up in the centre...'
Henry Mayhew, Mayhew's London, first published 1851, Spring Books, London, p105ff
                                                                                Recipe for Oyster Soup
6 dozen of oysters, 2 quarts of white stock, ½ pint cream, 2oz of butter, 1½oz flour; salt, cayenne and mace to taste.
Scald the oysters in their own liquor; take them out, beard them, and put them in a tureen. Take a pint of the stock, put in the beards and the liquor, which must be carefully strained, and simmer for ½ an hour. Take it off the fire, strain it again, and add the remainder of the stock with the seasoning and mace. Bring it to a boil, add the thickening of butter and flour, simmer for 5 minutes, stir in the boiling cream, pour it over the oysters, and serve.
Time 1 hour. Average cost 2s 8d per quart.
Seasonable from September to April. Sufficient for 8 persons.
Mrs Beeton, The Book of Household Management, London 1861, p103


'Oysters are considered one of the world's most luxury foods'
Luxury Food Magazine September 2017,


In the 19th century Mrs Beeton had recipes for many more parts of the sheep than we would use today: in addition to leg, shoulder and breast of lamb there are recipes for chops, neck (best end and scrag), fry (offal), liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, brains, head, heart, tails, tongues and trotters.
The recipe for stewed sheep's trotters - pieds de mouton en ragoût - requires two gangs (8) of dressed trotters, onion, flour, milk, salt and pepper. The dish took 3 to 3½ hours to cook.
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, p559ff

The recipe for trotters is on p612
Above: A Southdown wether
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1907 edition, opp p544
For the recipe for lamb's head broth, see the section Some Aspects of Health, under Health

Above: Helix pomatia
By Waugsberg href="">from Wikimedia Commons</a>

'Les Romains en étaient si friands qu'il les engraissaient dans des viviers construits pour cet usage. On les nourrissait avec du blé et du vin cuits, pour les rendre plus faciles à digérer.'

'The Romans were so fond of them they built special enclosures in which the snails were fattened on wheat and old wine to make them more digestible.'
Alexandre Dumas, Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, p537
Translationon Cooking with Julian,

According to The Living World of Molluscs most monasteries in the Middle Ages had an area of the garden for snails. Being neither fish nor meat, they could be eaten during Lent.

NB. Helix pomatia, also known as the Roman snail, edible snail or escargot, is a protected species in England (not in the rest of the UK). It is illegal to kill, injure, collect or sell these particular snails.
However, other species can be eaten.
Protection for wild animals on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981


'Looe Island [Cornwall]...Before the present inhabitants took possession of this domain, it abounded with rabbits and rats...the rabbits and rats are now much decreased, by the inhabitants of the Island catching and eating them. A rat smothered with onions must no doubt be a delicate dish.'
Thomas Bond, Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Boroughs of East and West Looe in the County of Cornwall, London, 1823, p29

Above: Rat meat for sale in Thailand
By Nicolai Bangsgaard [CC BY 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

'There are very large portions of the human family who esteem rats not only as a necessary of life, but a great delicacy. Among them are the whole of the Chinese, and many natives of the East Indies, besides the tribes of Africa, and the natives and more civilized freed slaves at Sierra Leonne...Then we find that the humbler classes and lazaroni of Naples, and the chiffonniers of Paris, indulge in them as an article of food...'
James Rodwell, The Rat, Its History and Destructive Character, London, 1858, p124ff
From the Larousse Gastronomique*:
Grilled rat Bordeaux style.
Rats from wine cellars are skinned and eviscerated. A sauce of olive oil and shallots is brushed over them, and they are then grilled.
Calvin W Schwabe, Unmentionable Cuisine, University of Virginia, 1979, p204
*First published in 1938


The book Indian Cookin' gives a recipe for Assiniboin Bear Stew, using 5 pounds of bear meat, together with maple or birch sap, wild onions, dandelion roots and wild leeks, amongst other ingredients. Red hot stones in the stew, changed as they cool, are used to keep the meat simmering.
Herb Walker, compiler, Indian Cookin', 1977, Texas, p8
Barbara Rowland collection

The recipe for Mohawk Marinated Bear Steak suggests getting the bear when it is 'fat and rich', just before it hibernates.
ibid, p23
                                                            Food Memories

Shotgun pellets in rabbits and pheasants.

'My mother used to make ginger beer. She kept it under the stairs and it hadn't finished fermenting. We heard a tremendous bang  - the corks went through two levels of shelves

                                                   Samuel Pepys' Stone Feasts
Food is often associated with celebration or commemoration: think of christenings, marriages and wakes, not to mention religious festivals, and street parties for national occasions.
Samuel Pepys commemorated a memorable occurence in his personal life with an annual feast.
Pepys' knowledge of shorthand, his political connections and his rise within naval administration meant that achieved some power and reasonable wealth.

On March 26th, 1658, he had an operation to remove a bladder stone. The stone was the size of a tennis ball and the operation was performed without anaesthetic.

In 1660 he wrote: 'This day it is two years since it pleased God that I was cut of the stone at Mrs Turner's in Salisbury-Court*. And did resolve that while I live to keep it a festival...'
Diary, March 26th, 1660.
*The operation was performed at private houses and inns - Jane Turner was relative.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. Robert Latham & William Matthews, 1970

Pepys' regularly kept his Stone Feasts throughout the period that he wrote his diary, inviting friends to join him. On the 26th March 1662  'At noon came my good guest Madam Turner, The and Cosen Norton, and a gentleman, one Mr Lewin of the King's life-guard...

...I had a pretty dinner for them - viz: a brace of stewed carps, six roasted chicken, and a jowle of salmon hot for the first course - a Tanzy and two neats' tongues and cheese the second.
ibid vol 3, p53

A jowl is the head and shoulders of certain fish such as salmon and sturgeon.

Does tanzy equal tansy? The tansy is a plant of the daisy family with aromatic leaves, used in cooking and medicine.
The Companion to the diaries says that it is a sweetened egg pudding or omelette. Originally it was made with tansy, but by Pepys' time it was generally made with spinach.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. Robert Latham & William Matthews, 1970 vol X, p615

Left: The tansy, tanasetum vulgare, by Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé (1840 - 1925), Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz, Public Domain via Wikemedia Commons.

Neats' tongues were beef tongues, smoked and dried

In 1663 Pepys' feast was delayed until April 4th, ' Whither by and by comes Roger Pepys, Mrs Turner, her daughter, Joyce Norton and a young lady, a daughter of Collonell Cockes - my uncle Wight - his wife and Mrs Anne Wight - this being my feast, in lieu of what I should have had a few days ago, for my cutting of the Stone, for which the Lord make me truly thankful...We had Fricasse of rabbets and chicken - a leg of mutton boiled - three carps in a dish - a great dish of a side of lamb - a dish roasted pigeons - a dish of four lobsters - three tarts - a Lampry pie, a most rare pie - a dish of anchovies - good wine of several sorts.'
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed.Robert Latham & William Matthews, 1970, vol4, p94ff

Lampreys are a primitive jawless parasitic fish, similar to an eel.

They were eaten in a scene in Game of Thrones

Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror, supposedly died from a surfeit of lampreys.

The medieval book A Noble Boke off Cookry has recipes for a freshe lamprey bake and lamprey in galentyne
A Noble Boke off Cookry, ed. Mrs Alexander Napier, London, 1882, p49, 117
Above: Portuguese Lamprey rice
By The Ogre [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0  (], from Wikimedia Commons

On the 9th June 1665 'We had a very good venison pasty - this being, endeed, instead of my Stonefeast last March...'
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed.Robert Latham & William Matthews, 1970, vol6, p124

Left: A stag pasty design from Robert May's The Accomplisht Cook, London 1660

                                                                Hot Shoppes
In 1927 J Willard and Alice S Marriott began serving root beers on a stand in Washington DC. The stands developed into a franchise, and hot meals were added to the menu - the franchise became known as Hot Shoppes. The East Coast's first drive-in restaurant was opened the following year.
During WWII Hot Shoppes stopped kerbside sales to discourage the use of vehicles. Butter was not served in the restaurants, nor was sugar supplied as standard. The restaurants opened from early in the morning until midnight during the 1940s to cater for the workers at the munition factories, serving different meals throughout the day to accommodate their different shifts.
By 1957 the Marriott, now a public company, diversified into hotels.
Marriott's Hot Shoppes Cookbook, by Marriott Hotels, 1987

                                                                  The 1940s

Spong and Co was founded by James Osborn Spong in 1856, when he was 16 years old. The works, in High Holborn, London, made 'Domestic machinery'
Left: Spong's slicer and grater, circa 1940s
Below: The end of the box
Barbara Rowland collection
By the time of the British Industries Fair of 1937 the firm was exhibiting slicers, coffee grinding mills, baking tins, pot scourers, steel wool, curtain rods, wire brushes etc. on stands A.409 and A.304.
See for a full history of the company.

                                                                                     Marguerite Patten
Marguerite Patten, born Hilda Elsie Marguerite Brown, was 99 when she died in 2015. A home economist, she was employed by the Ministry of Food during WWII to give advice on making the most of rations, with a regular slot on the BBC's radio programme Kitchen Front. After the war she was one of the first television chefs. Known for her practical approach to cooking, she wrote over 170 books

Left: We'll Eat Again, a collection of recipes from the war years, by Marguerite Patten. Recipes include belted leeks, where 2oz bacon decorates 1lb leeks in a white sauce; and turnip top salad, a mix of turnip tops, white cabbage heart, raw beetroot and carrot.
See also Sources
Barbara Rowland collection

Right: Breads and More Breads, an American publication copyright 1941 and 1948.
Recipes included sweet breads to have with coffee, and a Christmas wreath cake.
Barbara Rowland collection

'This book was given to my mother in 1955. She annotated the recipes, and would often write 'J approves'. 'J' was my father.
Barbara Rowland

The Housewife magazine of 1949 included a recipe for curry. Written in a conversational style, it does not separate the ingredients from the method, which is written in a conversational style.
Onions and garlic can be bought, the article says, but coconuts are unavailable. Rice is obtainable, but macaroni can be used instead. If rice is used, it should be cooked in white malt vinegar or lemon juice. Parsnips and turnips should not be added to the curry, because of their strong flavour.
To make what was essentially a stew into the curry chillies were added, plus curry powder. Side dishes, called trinklings in the article, could be a selection from: tomato chutney, mint and ground ginger, stewed apple, sultanas, orange and onion.
Housewife Magazine, June 1949, p89ff

A year earlier the same magazine (precise date unknown) had recipes for various types of flan: cheese, onion, spinach and tomato. Fat was still rationed in 1948*, and the pastry for the flans consisted of a border around the edge of the dish, and strips of pastry on top.
Housewife Magazine, 1948

*Cooking fat was rationed in 1941, and ended at the same time as margarine and butter, on 7th May 1954
M K Schwitzer, Margarine and other Food Fats: Their History, Production and Use, p68

                                                                                   A Wedding Breakfast
A wedding supplement to the Housewife Magazine (date unknown but 1940s or early 1950s) consists of the following:
Chicken or lobster patties
Savoury canapés
Tongue in aspic
Tiny sausage rolls
Sandwiches in variety
Meringues with ice cream or Chocolate eclairs or Strawberry shortcakes
Small iced cakes
Assorted fancy biscuits
Wedding cake
Pineapple lemonade
Cider punch
Iced coffee


                                                                 The 1960s
Right: 'An easy style of service is a major requirement for today's parties because of smaller homes without dining rooms and little outside help'.
The book goes on to recommend a buffet, where everyone helps themselves whilst 'the hostess guides the proceedings'.
Tips for success included making the table colourful, suggesting stuffed olives, tomatoes, and golden cheese; contrast of hot and cold dishes; making sure that everything would fit on one plate; fork foods and trays.
Left: Cooking with Soup, date unknown but has annotation for 1967
'608 skillet dishes, casseroles, stews, sauces, gravies, dips, soup mates and garnishes' to make with tinned soup.
Below: 'Party and International Specialties', p89
Barbara Rowland collection

                                             Food and Entertaining in the 1970s
Two productions, one a play and the other a television series, reflect some aspects of 1970s' life.

Abigail's Party, Mike Leigh, 1977, is a satire on the taste and values of the young aspiring middle class. In it Beverly and Laurence, an estate agent, are hosting a drinks party for their neighbours. Laurence shows off his complete works of Shakespeare and his Van Gogh print. Beverly has a new tan leather 3 piece suite and a rotisserie, which she has not actually used. She loves the music of Demis Roussis, whilst Laurence prefers Beethoven and 'the promising flutist' James Galway*.
The drinks consumed at the party (Beverly constantly tops everyone up) are bacardi and coke, and gin and tonic. In addition there are lagers and light ales. Nibbles are crisps and cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks. Laurence had to get the olives he wanted himself, as Beverly doesn't like them. Cigarettes are offered with the food and drink - and if the guests haven't enough hands to hold everything, Beverly lays the cigarettes down beside them for later.
The mismatched decor includes things like a capiz shell lampshade and a silver plated candelabra. The dining area has Marcel Breuer style chairs.
*Galway had a hit with Annie's Song in 1978

Abigail's Party, whilst very funny, has a dark side. There is underlying tension - Beverly and Laurence constantly snipe at each other and one of the guests, Tony, seethes with suppressed rage throughout. The stress builds up to a dramatic ending - a comment, perhaps, that all is not well with the values and dreams of young middle class Britain.

The television comedy The Good Life - 1975 onwards - depicts two suburban couples, friends and next door neighbours. One couple, Margot and Jerry, sum up the aspirational middle class. It is all about the image: your dress, your home, your behaviour, who you know. The five course dinner party epitomizes this aspect of the 1970s.
Example of a menu from the 1970s, mostly taken from The Cookery Year, Reader's Digest, 1973:
Duck pâté p115
Crown of Pork (12 cutlets that you shaped into a crown and decorated with paper frills) p267
Lemon sorbet (a palate freshener)
Meringue Mont Blanc - a meringue flan case filled with a sherry-flavoured chestnut puree, with whipped cread 'to resemble snow' p275
Cheese and biscuits
Coffee, possibly Irish Coffee (a cocktail made with sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey and cream), with mints.

Right: A bowl for punch, negus* or sangria**
* a hot drink of port, sugar, lemon and spice
** a Spanish punch traditionally based on red wine
Anne Bligh collection

Above: The Cookery Year, Reader's Digest, 1973

Left: A Hostess Trolley, an invaluable accessory for keeping several courses warm.
Both from Anne Bligh collection

Whilst Margot and Jerry would have dined as above, the other couple, Tom and Barbara, opt out and try to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.
See   for a clip on when Tom first has the idea.

The 70s was a time when many people wanted to reject the rat race and experiment with a simpler way of living.
One of the main proponents was John Seymour who wrote The Complete Book of Self-Suffiency, first published in 1976. The book calls for readers to 'respect the land, reap the harvest, waste nothing, stay healthy and live well.'

Some stories of self-sufficiency: - Accessed 30-09-2018

                                            Foods that members of the group remember from the 1970s
Not necessarily exclusive to that decade

Above: Fondue set

BY 2.5  (], from Wikimedia Commons

Avocado pear and prawns
Beef olives
Chicken in a basket
Coc au vin
Curried eggs
Devil's food cake
Duck à l'orange
Fray Bentos pies
Prawn cocktail
Steak and chips with onion rings
Vegetables being boiled, not steamed
Vesta meals
Vol au vents

Puddings (probably called 'dessert' in the 1970s):
Angel Delight
Baked Alaska
Black Forest gateaux
Fruit in alcohol
Instant whip
Mandarin oranges
Neapolitan ice cream
Peach melba
Summer pudding
Tins of fruit cocktail

Right: Angel delight
By Hex [CC BY-SA 3.0  (], from Wikimedia Commons

And drinks:
Blue Nun
Double Diamond
Gin and tonic
Home brewed wine and beer
Mateus rosé
Red Barrel
Tio Pepe

Left: Mateus rosé
By CTHOE [CC BY-SA 3.0  (], from Wikimedia Commons
Many of the group remembered using pressure cookers...
               Pressure Cookers - 'Steam Digesters'
The pressure cooker was invented by Denis Papin, a French physicist, in 1679. Pressure builds up inside a sealed container, which allows liquids inside the pot to rise to a high temperature before boiling. In World War II people began using pressure cookers because they reduced cooking time and tenderised cheaper cuts of meat; but the production of the cookers ceased whilst aluminium was needed for the war effort.
Demand continued after the war, and in the 1970s a new wave of pressure cookers incorporated addtional safety features and modern styling. - Accessed 25-10-2018 - Accessed 25-10-2018

Above: Super cocotte décor SEB, 1973. Aluminium body, polyamide lacquered with an embossed aluminium lid and a stainless steel stirrup. On display at the Musée gallo-romain de Fourvière, Lyon.
Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr [CeCILL ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (], from Wikimedia Commons

                                                       Weights and measures

The American cup.
The Conestoga Theory. The word conestoga comes from the heavy covered wagon, such as those used by the pioneers as they made their way across America. Heavy scales were an unnecessary extra burden to carry in a small vehicle, so instead the travellers used everyday cups to measure ingredients. The capacity of the cup did not matter, because the ingredients would all be in proportion.
Raymond Sokolov, in Measure for Measure, notes that Karen Hess, a culinary historian, endorsed the theory. However, he argues that 'The written evidence of early American cookbooks does not depict a nation without scales'.
Raymond Sokolov, Measure for Measure, Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 1988, p150

Indian Cookin' (see above) has a list of measurements; in this book a 'cup' is the amount that a 10-inch cow horn holds.
In addition:
A handful, as you might expect, is the amount that a hand holds when used as a scoop.
Dry materials can be lifted out with two or three fingers plus the thumb.
The bent little finger can be used as a scoop for fat.
Herb Walker, compiler, Indian Cookin', 1977, Texas, p3

Imperial measurements of liquids after 1824
4 gills to 1 pint
2 pints to one quart
4 quarts to one gallon
9 gallons to 1 firkin or quarter barrel
18 gallons to 1 kilderkin or half barrel
36 gallons to a barrel
54 gallons to a hogshead of ale
63 gallons to a hogshead of wine
126 gallons to a pipe
252 gallons to a tun

Imperial measurements of dry goods after 1824
2 pints to a quart
2 quarts to a pottle
2 pottles to a gallon
2 gallons to a peck
4 pecks to a bushel
8 bushels to a quarter of corn
Jim Andrew, Old Weights and Measures, Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, 2008, p5,

However, the author warns of local variations.
'In Cornwall (Launceston and Callington) the customary bushel is 16 gallons; at Helston, Falmouth, St Austell, and Truro, the bushel consists of 24 gallons; at Redruth it is sold per 196lbs, Cornish bushel; at St Columb 186lbs, and at Bodmin 62lbs per imperial bushel. In Devon a sack contains 40 gallons, a bag 16 gallons (in some parts 32 gallons)...
The Literary and Scientific Register and Almanac, 1872, p260