In the coldest shop in town yesterday, the conversation went like this.

We keep meeting in shops.

The best people do.

Haven’t got all my shopping for Christmas yet, have you?

I’m not too bothered, I’ll just get what I need. I never saw the kind of shopping where I used to live, like I see here,

Maybe you’re seeing the farmers coming in to town and stocking up. When I was little the shops were closed for nearly two weeks and my parents kept food stores in their garage.

Did they! Did the fresh food and vegetables keep that long?

Those things went in the fridge.

Post-war, when rationing was just still existing there wasn’t as much to buy. Shops were closed for the holidays. Fridges weren’t in general use. We didn’t have one. Central heating wasn’t widespread either.

Oh no I suppose not, I hadn’t thought of that. (She was a bit younger).

There were cold larders. You made your provisions last. It was simple but good cooking.


0 thoughts on “DID YOU REALLY!

  1. We didn’t have a fridge until well into the 1960s. My mother always boiled the milk so it would keep, except for one pint which was allowed to sour and then turned into cream-cheese. The larder was positioned at the coolest aspect of the house and had a large marble shelf for cooling things. Other food was cooked and covered so it would last a bit longer. It all worked well enough. Fridgy things like ice-cream were a luxury, bought from street vendors who knocked at the door. We were always vegetarians, but meats could be smoked and hung to keep for months. There were also tins rather than frozen food, but it never tasted like fresh or frozen!

  2. As a child, I can remember being sent to the local shopping parade often to buy food for the main meal of the day: meat from the butcher, veg and spuds from the greengrocer, and butter or cheese etc. from the grocer.

    Just a few mins walk from my suburban street, almost all daily requirements could be purchased.

    Rather different now, of course.

  3. Indeed. A rather similar description of daily or even two days domestic shopping was discussed following on from the revelatory elements of the days of yore within our living memory.

    I can certainly remember walking a long distance, to fill up shopping bags twice a week for my mother,memorising the list, it was invariably the same grocery shopping each time. She did all the rest of the shopping cooking.

  4. Yes, I hadn’t tasted ice-cream till I was about five or six. Then, there were the ice cream sellers with their cold boxes at the front of their bikes; a few years later little vans came round the streets with their tinkly tunes. They made good sales. Tin openers were great tools, there is a refinement in design these days!

    Your experiences with milk are evocative. When daily deliveries occurred, they obviated the requirement to boil up the milk as enough pasteurised was purchased for the day.

    We had meat, all economic bits cooked nutritiously. Some things I would still cook but the family turn up their snotty noses, including hubby. I loved my faggot or offal casseroles. Sausage ones were a good cheap alternative in my student days. Lights were cooked with a thick gravy as was oxtail. Hearts were stuffed; I can do all that, though I was never keen on eating lights – I did eat them – the texture didn’t appeal. Soup/casserole dishes were good as they could provide main meals for two days. The plates were always piled high with potatoes to ensure we felt well fed, plus any other vegetable that was in season. We bought vegetables at the local greengrocery, again choosing potatoes for particular types of use and of course, those in season. There aren’t so many varieties now. Tomatoes were new to me when I was about eight.

  5. I hate to enlighten you, but you are much as such in age to the period I knew. The difference might be where you lived and how you lived.

    People who lived in rural setting and/or close to the sea would have had access to all sorts of food that rationing would not have affected.

  6. Thank you for enlightening me. I really must stop using my own mind.

    I do not remember any of the experiences you quoted above, “no ‘fridges, cold larders, no central heating, walking miles to get food, etc.”

    Sounds more like black and white films from the 1930s!

  7. As I said, it depends on your personal circumstances.

    There are plenty of people around who do have similar recollections to mine. People a year or so older have additional memories of living in London I don’t have. I don’t have them, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist, they are just not within the realm of my memories or my experiences in London.

    Someone today, was describing self-sufficiency at a similar time out in the country where shops were not within easy reach; again, there were many similarities to family daily living that I knew, however, there were differences between town and country living that were interesting to compare.

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