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History Cookbook

Postwar/Modern Picture Gallery Food

The end of the war did not mean the end of rationing
In Britain, the end of the war did not mean the end of rationing.
This happened gradually between 1948 and 1954. After the war, the amount of produce available to buy actually fell. Bread was rationed in 1946 and potatoes in 1947, neither having been restricted during the war itself. More
There were huge changes in food production and consumption
The post-war years saw a huge change in all aspects of food production and consumption
This included how food was grown, processed, packaged, obtained, cooked and eaten. More
There were great changes in the types of food eaten
There were also great changes in the types of food eaten.
More meat, sugar and fats became available and the healthy diet that people had been forced to eat during the war and post-war years came to an end. However, from the 70s onwards, although more meat was eaten, more people also became vegetarians. More
Many people stopped growing their own food
The number of people growing their own food declined sharply.
In the late 40s and early 50s, many people continued to grow their own food. Vegetables were grown on allotments or in people's gardens, if they were big enough. In 1950, there were 1,200,000 allotments being used. This declined quickly throughout the period. More
More foods could be purchased all year
Foods became less seasonal, more could be purchased all year round.
In the early post war years, the vegetables and fruit being sold were mostly those in season. As freezing techniques improved and more and more food was imported, people were able to buy a greater variety of fruit and vegetables, as well as get them out of season.   More
There were fewer specialist shops with the growth of supermarkets
Self-service shops and supermarkets became common.
In Britain in 1947, most goods were purchased separately from different types of shops - the grocer, greengrocer, butcher and baker. There were only about 10 self-service shops in Britain. The idea of self-service grew and developed into supermarkets. More
Food became pre-packaged and easier to prepare
Food gradually became pre-packaged and easier to prepare.
In the early post-war years, food was bought fresh and wrapped on purchase. Fresh meals were prepared each day. People started wanting food that was easy and quick to buy and tinned and pre-packaged food became popular.  More
Most homes had refrigerators
Refrigerators, then freezers, became ‘essential items’.
Refrigerators meant that people could keep food fresh for much longer and did not need to shop so often. Freezers soon followed in the late 60s and frozen peas became the most popular vegetable. More
Convenience foods really took off
With more women working, convenience foods really took hold.
Convenience foods were already popular in the 60s (1962 saw the invention of instant mashed potato). With more women working in the 70s, the use of convenience foods increased greatly. Everything from fish-fingers to ready-made cheesecakes and TV Meals could be bought. Much less fruit and veg was being eaten. More
The time spent cooking declined
The time spent cooking also declined.
Food preparation was quicker, although in 1980, the average length spent preparing the main meal of the day was still an hour. Pressure cookers were popular as they reduced cooking times and the microwave had also become a fixture in some homes by the 1970s.  More
New kitchen gadgets became essentials
New kitchen gadets became seen as essential.
The 1950s, 60s and 70s saw many more kitchen gadgets. There were electric can openers, coffee makers, hot plates, automatic teamakers, non-stick pans, electric food mixers, liquidisers and portable food slicers. More
The first food outlets were seen in Britain
The fast-food outlet was first seen in Brtiain.
In 1954, the first ‘Wimpy Bar’ with a fast food selection opened at the Lyon’s Corner House in Coventry Street, London. In the 1970s, fast food really took off. The first McDonald's restaurants appeared in the 1970s and hamburgers became a favourite fast food. More
Fizzy drinks became very popular
More and more carbonated (fizzy) soft drinks were purchased.
Throughout this post-war period, the purchase of fizzy drinks increased. Aluminium cans with pull-ring tabs made their appearance in the early 60s, followed shortly by soft drink vending machines and, later, plastic bottles. More
The TV chef and cookery programmes became popular
The TV chef and cookery programmes became popular.
In the post-war era, TV chefs were very popular, just like today. Philip Harben was followed by Marguerite Patten and later by Johnnie and Fanny Cradock, who would cook in full evening dress! More
Foreign foods became fashionable
All kinds of foreign foods became 'the rage'.
Soon after the war, some people were beginning to want to cook something a little different. TV cooks introduced food from all over the world, whetting people's appetites for more unusual ingredients. The ability to import more foods saw a wide range of foreign foods become popular. More
Tastes were changing - coffee was becoming as popular as tea
New foods challenged traditional favourites.
Tastes were changing in other ways. Coffee was becoming as popular as tea and the Sunday roast was now as likely to be chicken as the traditional roast beef. More
Takeaways grew in popularity
Takeaways also grew in popularity.
In the early 1950s, usually the only takeaway was the fish and chip shop – and Fridays was its big day! Then a few Chinese takeaways were opened in the London area and quickly spread throughout the country. More
Migration saw a wider choice of ‘foreign’ food and more people eating out
Eating out became more affordable. 
As more people had 'disposable income' (money available to spend on leisure pursuits), the number of people eating out increased. An increase in migration saw more restaurants offering ‘foreign’ food opening throughout the 60s and 70s and there was an increasingly wide range of choice when eating out. 
 Dinner parties became very popular
The dinner party became very popular.
There were a range of aids for entertaining guests in your own home. Soda streams, fondue sets and ‘hostess trolleys’ became 'must-have' items among the better-off. Tupperware parties also became a great favourite. More

Plum Sauce
Chop the plums into small pieces, removing any stalks or stones Put the plums and sugar into the...