General Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

Gift subscriptions

Genes Reunited gift subscription

Do you know someone interested in discovering their family history?

You can now buy a gift subscription to Genes Reunited so they can research their family tree.

Buy gift or redeem gift


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Eating in the UK in the 1950s

Page 0 + 1 of 2

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. »
ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Barry_ Report 12 Sep 2013 04:36

Pasta had not been invented.
Curry was a surname.
A takeaway was a mathematical problem.
A pizza was something to do with a leaning tower.
Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas.
All crisps were plain; the only choice was whether to put the salt on or not.
A Chinese chippy was a foreign carpenter.
Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever part of our dinner.
A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining.
Brown bread was something only poor people ate.
Oil was for lubricating, fat was for cooking
Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves - and it was never green.
Coffee was Camp, and came in a bottle.
Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.
Only Heinz made baked beans.
Fish didn't have fingers in those days.
Eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi.
None of us had ever heard of yoghurt.
Healthy food consisted of anything edible.
People who didn't peel potatoes were regarded as lazy.
Indian restaurants were only found in India.
Cooking outside was called camping.
Seaweed was not a recognised food. (Except apparently in Wales.)
??? Kebab ??? was not even a word never mind a food.
Sugar enjoyed a good press and was regarded as being white gold.
Prunes were medicinal.
Surprisingly muesli was readily available; it was called cattle feed.
Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.
Water came out of the tap. If someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than petrol for it they would have become a laughing stock!

The one thing that we NEVER, ever, had on our table in the fifties ... was elbows!


LadyScozz Report 12 Sep 2013 06:22

Didn't you have macaroni & cheese?

Good list!



DazedConfused Report 12 Sep 2013 06:31

I am sure that all the Italians living in the UK at that time may have something to say about pasta not being invented. Also they would have been eating pizzas at home.

The first Curry/Indian restaurant was in the West End c1900. And If I remember rightly, the King of Sweden used it regulary and had lager imported to drink with his curry.

I know my dad in the 50's made a killer curry with RICE...... Usually lamb left over from Sunday roast...

Kebab would have been a word in Turkey......

Muesli was around

Really this list is not that accurate. Have seen something similar in the past. How quickly we forget just how long certain things have actually been around in the UK.

Hayley   Empress of Drama

Hayley Empress of Drama Report 12 Sep 2013 06:44

First thing I thought of that Dazed, what did Itailians eat then... :-D :-D :-D


LadyScozz Report 12 Sep 2013 08:40

There's a thought.....

what did Italians eat before Marco Polo brought the recipe for noodles (spaghetti?) from China, and tomatoes were brought from the "New World" ?



Cynthia Report 12 Sep 2013 09:03

I love that list and can identify with it totally.

We thought we were living the exotic life when, by the 60's, we were dining on Chicken/Scampi in a basket and a Vesta curry.

I can remember the excitement of the arrival of cheese and onion!

People used olive oil for rough skin.

Peering into a small freezer in a shop was mind blowing.

I regarded yoghurt as something akin to curdled milk.

And yes......definitely no elbows on the table. Knife and fork to be held correctly too!

Those were the days...... :-D


Sharron Report 12 Sep 2013 09:03

My grandmother would make a stew with a bit of curry powder in it and that would be curry, complete with a dumpling.

I remember my excitement, at some time before 1963, when Heinz advertised their tinned ravioli. Didn't take much!

Of course there was already tinned spaghetti but that didn't count did it? Neither did macaroni because that was pudding not pasta which was foreign stuff.


GeordiePride Report 12 Sep 2013 10:21

Iceland was just a country



Sharron Report 12 Sep 2013 10:30

Olive oil came from the pharmacy.


LadyScozz Report 12 Sep 2013 10:55

macaroni pudding?



LaGooner Report 12 Sep 2013 10:57

Scozz we used to have Macoroni pudding at school. All sloppy in milk cooked like rice pudding :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P


LadyScozz Report 12 Sep 2013 11:00

it sounds disgusting :-(

Worse than (I hated this stuff!)......... blancmange! YUK YUK YUK!

I hate the stuff so much I never bothered finding out how to spell it lol

Nolls from Harrogate

Nolls from Harrogate Report 12 Sep 2013 11:20

OH! Barry you've not lived!!

We had Macaroni and cheese at least once a week
During the war we had curried rabbit again once a week
Bananas and oranges were always in the house in the 50's
coffee was always Nescafe ...g/ma had the Camp ..Ugh!
and living next door to an Italian family all my childhood we were used to frying in oil ..they owned I think the first deli in our town and sold large cans of oil which my mum always used, after tasting their chips and preferring them... that was in the 50's
And that is where we first tasted green peppers they used to cook them with almost every meal and when they went on picnics , to which I was always invited as company to their niece we had............cold cooked green pepper sandwiches ...........Now I have never managed to get a taste for that :-D


Mauatthecoast Report 12 Sep 2013 11:37

...and, in my world, avocados were unheard of in the fifties....
....but I loved macaroni pudding baked in the oven mmm :-D

edit: tea bags were introduced in 1952


Cynthia Report 12 Sep 2013 11:39

Macaroni pudding - semolina pudding - tapioca pudding......mostly made edible by a dollop of jam on the top!

Chips were cooked in lard or the fat from the beef.

Dripping on toast was tastier than Marmite.

A piece of beef could last for days.

Chicken and turkey were only for Christmas.

Tinned salmon and tinned fresh fruit with evaporated milk, was a treat at Sunday tea times.

Apparently, my mother-in-law could make a meal from any part of an animal's body - until she discovered the truth about the parson's nose!!


AnnCardiff Report 12 Sep 2013 12:06

we had a brilliant curry caff i Cardiff in the 50's - The Bombay which was down the Docks - now known as Cardiff Bay - it's gone all posh these days

We also had a Chinese Restaurant - but then Cardiff has always been very cosmopolitan because of the trade down the docks

that's how smallpox hit the city in the 60s


Andysmum Report 12 Sep 2013 12:42

Cynthia - you forgot sago pudding!!

I still cook chips in lard. I think they taste much better than those done in oil.

Our first Chinese Restaurant opened in the 60's, but didn't do very well until the owners stopped insisting on us trying to eat with chopsticks! :-D :-D :-D


Sharron Report 12 Sep 2013 13:16

You can't get sago any more in British shops but I think it is sold as something else in Asian shops.

I love all milk puddings, think it is genetic, grandfather had one every day of his life and whatever it was made from, he called it a rice pie, so I do too.

Blancmange too, I would kill for it!

Have never made macaroni pudding myself but I think my mother made it with custard powder. I just might have to have a go.


ChrisofWessex Report 12 Sep 2013 13:23

Mid fifties - I visited regularly a restaurant where one could have spaghetti bol. Used to have to wait 30 minutes for it to be cooked and cost 2/6d.

Myself I used to cook curry and kedgeree. Mum always used Nescafe as did I.

There was a nice Chinese restaurant in the square in Salisbury we used to go to - OH had steak - children and I ate chinese although even aged 3 and 5 could use chopsticks better than me!


Autumnleaves Report 12 Sep 2013 14:00

I remember fruit being scarce which was somewhat compensated for by the orange juice and cod liver oil supplied by the government. Wish I could buy that orange juice now it was delicious!

..There must have been a shortage of paper too, as our local chip shop would have you bring your old newspapers to them.

I remember when grocers had sides of bacon and ham hung up and it was cut to your chosen thickness on a slicing machine. Still remember the lovely mixed aromas in those shops.

I don't recall any foreign shops or people until later years when the councils had built estates for the soldiers being demobbed in 1947.then there were Italians, German wives, some Polish folk .

Many thanks Barry for the trip down memory lane.I am reminded of a friends dad who I loved hearing play his banjo!!!