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Interwar Picture Gallery Food

Britain imported a lot of food to feed its people
Britain imported a lot of food to feed its people.
Britain had to import food to support the population, who mostly lived in towns and cities. Despite this, working people had the chance to buy a wider range of foodstuffs than ever before. More
Food was cheaper and fresher than before the war
Food was cheaper and fresher than before the war.
Hygiene in food shops was much better, fresh fruit was available all year round and the milk supply was cleaner. Butchers had begun keeping their meat in refrigerators and, by 1930, cellophane was keeping food fresh. More
A 'good solid meal' of meat, vegetables and potatoes was expected every day
A 'good solid meal' of meat, vegetables and potatoes was expected every day.
Even though there was a wider variety of foods available, home cooking was quite conservative, Most people were suspicious of 'foreign foods' and people still ate what they were used to. Indian or Chinese food could only be found near ports or in areas of immigration. More
The wealthy were eating meals which had fewer courses than previously.
The endless Victorian and Edwardian dinners had been replaced by three or four courses. However, the rich still ate very well compared with other people. More
Cake became very, very popular
Cake became very, very popular.
There were many cake and sweet recipes and a lot of sugar was used in many homes. The interwar years were known as the 'time of the cake'. More
More and more people were eating packaged and tinned food.
Grocers would still weigh out some produce but there were more branded goods including Heinz, Campbell's, Nestle's and Kellogg's. Convenience foods were becoming more and more popular, including instant coffee and American breakfast cereals that only needed milk to be added. More
Some people were already getting worried about junk food.
Even though it was still possible to eat healthily, now that processed white bread, instant coffee, potato crisps and a whole range of new sweets and confectionaries were available, concern started to be expressed about the amount of sugary processed food in people's diets. More
From the early 1930s, the first frozen food appeared
From the early 1930s, the first frozen food appeared.
This was started in America in 1930 by Clarence Birdseye. The first frozen food appeared in Britain in 1937 and was marketed by Smedley.  More
Tea was now the national drink
Tea was now the national drink and a lot of people hardly ever drank alcohol.
This was because the licensing laws of WW1 had stopped alcohol being bought, except at certain times and because, now, people could go to tearooms and milk bars as well as pubs. More
Cocktails became very popular with the younger generation
Working class men, however, still drank beer and the 'bright young things' of the 1920s now drank cocktails.
Cocktails were drunk instead of the traditional sherry or whisky and soda. There was drinking in nightclubs and at parties; as the working class got more sober, a section of the young rich got drunker.  More
People still shopped in open markets or in specialist shops.
There was the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger and the grocer. Goods were often delivered on bicycles or in light vans. Department stores, such as M&S and Woolworths, were well known but there were no supermarkets. More
The growing consumer society let people enjoy a wider choice of food than before.
Eating out was still a luxury, though. With the exception of a visit to the tea room whilst shopping, few people ate out at restaurants, except for the very rich. More
Most families sat down to meals together at set times.
There was breakfast in the morning; dinner was an important meal, often the main meal of the day, and was eaten at mid-day. There was tea in the early evening, after the father had returned from work, and, in middle class homes, supper at night.  More
Gas or electric ovens became a fixture in more homes, especially in the towns.
At the beginning of the period, most people cooked on coal-burning stoves (although gas and electric ovens had been invented). By the late 1930s, this had changed (at least in the larger towns) as electric, and particularly gas, ovens became more affordable.  More
Numerous electrical goods came onto the market
Numerous electrical goods came onto the market for use in the kitchen.
The growing consumer society let people enjoy a wider choice of food than before and a wider range of gadgets to prepare and cook with. Some of these, such as electric pans, did not catch on; modern versions of others, such as toasters and even teasmaids can still be bought today. More
Most houses built in the 1930s had kitchens but they were usually small.
Kitchens were no longer built for servants (after WW1 few people could afford one) but for the housewife herself. Therefore the kitchens were rather small and pokey, not at all like the larger kitchens built in Edwardian homes. More
In the 1930s, the Government started making plans for food storage and control  in the event of war.
Various reports looked at issues such as nutritional requirements to maintain health and strength, food storage and emergency rationing. More

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