Food and cooking and family meals

I’ve been very busy in the kitchen today, making sauce for meatballs, reorganising the freezer, making an apple cake. This is what I wrote a couple of years ago about food and cooking and family meals:

I wonder how many of the up-to-date gadgets we buy for our kitchens will still be in use in a hundred years time, or even fifty? When my parents first married, although my dad was a scientist, his pay was actually very low and we lived in rented accommodation, a lovely ground floor flat with a very big garden but rented, not our own. My mum didn’t go to work until my sister and I were old enough to look after ourselves for an hour or so when we got home from school, so as a family we were always very careful with money.

My dad had the use of all of the garden of the flat, so half of it was a vegetable patch and he grew everything we needed. My mum was a great cook, and in those days there was no such things as convenience or ready meals; we didn’t even have a fridge, let alone a freezer. She had two cookery books, Mrs Beeton and the Be-Ro flour baking book.

Looking at my copy of Mrs Beeton which was printed in 1912, I was interested to see these adverts in the front cover. We often had steamed puddings, both savoury (steak and kidney) and sweet (jam, treacle or fruit) but they were just cooked in a pudding basin, wrapped and  tied in a cloth and boiled for hours on end… we didn’t have the sophisticated “Queen’s” pudding boiler or a gourmet pudding steamer. We didn’t have  a separator, although very useful, and although we had lots of cake tins of different sizes – some of which I still have, we didn’t have sprung tins.

However, we did have a mincer; it wasn’t a slicer as shown here, although there were attachments which would slice; the mincer was principally used to mince left over meat from the Sunday roast, to make rissoles and shepherd’s or cottage pie. I can see my mum now, whizzing the handle round so the pinky-grey mince came churning out, and then feeding in carrots and onions to add to the mix.

We recently acquired a going-free-to-a-good-home Mouli purée maker… I remarked that it would save the electricity used with an electric blender, and of course, in past times, equipment such as mincers used no power except muscle-power!


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