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 # 5 – Fighting fit 1970s – fibre – fruit – free of sugar

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The diet advised to our family after my father’s heart attack swapped foods, rather than restricted food types. Instead of butter for spreads, we used soft margarine. Instead of beef dripping for cooking, we used safflower or sunflower oil. Instead of full-cream milk and full-fat cheese, we used skim milk and cottage cheese. Instead of beef, lamb and sausages we ate chicken and fish. Grilling of meats replaced deep-frying. There wasn’t much difference in advice given for cereals, fruit and vegetables. The same British diet pattern remained. Cereals for breakfast. Sandwiches for lunch. Meat or fish and three vegetables for dinner. Fruit for snacks. Occasional celebrations. Continue reading “My food history # 5 – Fighting fit 1970s – fibre – fruit – free of sugar”

My food history # 4 – critical moments – my father

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Oils and fats

There are some defining moments in my life that have become etched so vividly in my memory that I can feel the events exactly as if I was still there. Where I was. The time of day. The clothes I had on. The colour of the wallpaper in the hallway. The shakiness in my mother’s voice. Such was the night my father had his heart attack and was rushed to hospital by ambulance. The slow-motion event was replayed four years later after his stroke. That time my father did not come home. It was January 1974. My father was 49 years old. I was one month shy of my twentieth birthday. Continue reading “My food history # 4 – critical moments – my father”