Living through history. Our changing food environments. 1950s – 1970s.


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While I was growing up and in the years as a young adult, as my own family mainly consumed home-prepared foods, garden-grown vegetables and eggs from our back-yard hens; swirling all around me were economic improvements and major shifts in social norms, a prelude to the storm that was to become a complete restructure of our food environments within a generation.

Working and walking

In my parents youth, in the 1930s and 1940s, times were tough with the depression, World War 2, and food rationing. The 1950s through to the 1970s were decades of relative improved prosperity. My father worked full-time. Initially he rode a bicycle to work. In the 1950s only 10% of families had cars. (2) Gradually we became a one-car and in the 1960s a two-car family. My mother was a homemaker, as the majority of women were in the 1950s. There were no modern appliances. Housework took many hours with washing, ironing, sweeping, cleaning, and chopping wood. The evening meal was cooked over many hours. In the 1950s, women averaged 77 hours per week housework. (2) As children we walked to and from school, except on rainy days when we caught the bus. After school we rode bikes around the neighbourhood or played in the back yard. Continue reading “Living through history. Our changing food environments. 1950s – 1970s.”

My food history # 1. The 1950s and 1960s – my childhood diet



Late 1950s and early 1960s- my Childhood Diet

As a young child my family had a red-meat-centred diet.

We ate meat every day except Friday. We usually had two courses for evening meals, either soup and main course or main course and dessert. My mother served the food out and we needed to finish our main course in order to get dessert. Soups were home-made by my mother over many hours. Main course was lamb chops or sausages deep fried in beef dripping, or beef stews. We had three vegetables every night for dinner of potatoes plus an orange/yellow/red vegetable and a green vegetable. After school we would help with the preparation by shelling of the peas, and the peeling and chopping of vegetables. It was a routine afternoon activity. For desserts we had home-made sweetened milk-based puddings such as blancmange, custard, rice pudding, tapioca, or sago. These were often accompanied with jelly or stewed fruit. Sometimes we simply had jelly and custard. Continue reading “My food history # 1. The 1950s and 1960s – my childhood diet”