Further Back In Time For Dinner: 1920s-1940s
|1940s: a delivery of veg to make Woolton Pie|
If you ever watched Giles Coren and Sue Perkins doing their Supersizers programmes, or you read many magazines from the 1920s and 1930s, you might be familiar with the brands and even the fads of the day. One of the strengths, for me, of the original Back In Time For Dinner was that they followed actual menus, as recorded in the National Food Survey, which ran from 1940 to 2000. Obviously that wasn't possible for most of the decades covered in this series, so instead there were focuses on trends and events: a cocktail party in the 1920s, a meal cooked entirely from tinned food, and Ryvita and slimming biscuits in the 1930s. It was interesting, but Supersizers did cover that, and I felt it prevented us from getting a really good idea of what people ate day-in, day out. Sticking to the menus gave a better sense of what was normal.
|Rochelle wisely stands back from the grenade-like 1930s pressure cooker.|
|Chicken soup and matzo balls. A Jewish classic.|
|Lack of eggs in the 1940s means this dried egg substitute for breakfast.|
|I like this 1920s room, but it doesn't feel authentically colourful to me. Seems more 30s.|
The makers are now looking for families for a follow-up series, Back In Time For Tea, which will focus on food in the north of England. I'm a little baffled by that as the first series followed menus from all over Britain anyhow, not just the south, and 'tea' is a working-class expression for the evening meal, not a purely northern one*. But it will be interesting to see what they come up with; if it's anything like the food Mr Robot remembers his Lancastrian nan serving up, they'll need proper grit and determination to get through it all.
Did you see the programmes? Did you long for a bit more immersion, like I did, or find it a fascinating look at food fashions and trends?
* It comes from 'high tea', the substantial meal served at around 6pm, so earlier than dinner, at about the time working people usually got in. Working-class people had high tea, posh ones had dinner.