It wouldn’t be difficult to spot the difference between the contents of a typical Fifties’ larder and a modern fridge. The ready-made meals and exotic ingredients such as basmati rice or soya sauce we take for granted today would have flummoxed an older generation who thought spaghetti came out of a tin.
But in recent years things have started to change as more and more traditional fare has re-emerged on our kitchen shelves.
A new generation is discovering the delights of the foods we loved such as the calorie-laden teatime treats we enjoyed on a Sunday afternoon to ones that we weren’t so keen on – school dinner specials such as semolina or Spam fritters.
Take a look at this selection of retro foods enjoying a revival. You might be surprised to learn which ones are hits with today’s foodies!
Steaming ahead on proper puds
Forget sophisticated cheesecakes and roulades, a proper Sunday pudding meant something hot and sticky, swimming in custard or evaporated milk. Sales of hot desserts are soaring once again as the nation rediscovers its love of stick-to-your-ribs puds.
In the last year, sponge puddings enjoyed an impressive ten per cent boom in sales, knocking pies, tarts and flan firmly off the shelves. There was a particular run on family favourite sponges that go ‘back to basics’ for a cheaper price in discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.
Sales of rice pudding also shot up thanks to its healthier image as a low-fat, filling dessert.
Seventies’ foods are on an (Arctic) roll
From psychedelic prints to platform shoes, Seventies’ nostalgia has well and truly taken over this year. And with it has come an invasion of foods that might well have been served in the dining room of Fawlty Towers.
At Ocado, sales of retro favourite, Angel Delight, were up 43 per cent last year, while garlicky chicken Kiev has been flying off the shelves in Aldi.
Thanks to some of the challenges set on last year’s Great British Bake Off, Black Forest gateau, vol-au-vents and Arctic rolls are also back on the menu and bakers around the country are recreating these retro showstoppers in their kitchens. Not to mention the many pop-up restaurants serving Seventies’ fare such as bubble-and-squeak at which we might once have turned up our noses.
Dripping does good
Once the stuff of nightmares for dieticians, a slice of white bread slathered with homemade or butcher’s dripping with a generous sprinkle of salt used to be our idea of a tasty snack. Now it’s back. Natural fats such as dripping and lard are having a resurgence as studies suggest that saturated fats aren’t the enemy to health they were considered in the Seventies.
In fact, a little animal fat (not too much as it’s still high in calories) is thought to be an essential part of your diet, helping your organs absorb vitamins. Experts claim good-quality dripping containing omega 3 could help with arthritis, joint pain and even Alzheimer’s and this unlikely superfood was recently winner of the Supreme Champion of the Great Taste Awards.
Ooh, you are offal (but we like you)
For the generation that grew up with post-war rationing, offal was an affordable meat that was wolfed down with pleasure. Even though the latest recession is said to be over, people are turning to kidneys, hearts and liver once again.
According to one consumer research group, the sales of offal in the UK totalled more than £34 million last year, up 13 per cent on the year before, with kidneys and liver being the most popular delicacies. One reason for offal’s latest success could be its nutritional credentials as these vital organs are packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Some offal (for example, liver) is full of copper to boost our grey matter, while tongue contains three times more iron than ham. Mary Berry says she still loves tucking into oxtail so it’s no wonder these neglected butcher’s products are in vogue. Even tripe, the most maligned offal, is to be seen on many smart menus.
Homemade bread rises in popularity
Ever miss the smell of homemade bread that takes you right back to Mum’s kitchen? Well, it could be returning. Artisan food is having a real moment right now as customers turn back to supporting their local independent shops as well as baking at home.
The awareness of gluten intolerance also means not everyone can enjoy the ready-sliced pre-packed loaves you find on supermarket shelves. Shoppers want to know exactly what ingredients are used in their daily bread. And getting your mixing bowl out to make your own is one of the best ways to do that.
- There's more nostalgia in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.