Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Hello Jean
On a recent half-term visit one of my grandsons (8) asked me what food I ate when I was a boy. This got me thinking about food in Summervale in the 1950s.
I think one of the things that stands out is the monotony and predictability of the meals then. Sundays always seemed to be a roast (beef or lamb), Yorkshire pudding, greens and lashings of gravy, made with Bisto. This was often followed by heavy puddings like Spotted Dick and custard or bread and butter pudding - all designed to fill up active,

hungry children.

My Mum always cooked this in a cloth in boiling water. Loved it and it was just as good next day fried with sugar on top! And I wonder why I’m over weight??

Sunday tea was fairly predictable, too.  Heinz spaghetti on toast or fish paste sandwiches (which I quite liked), or tinned pink salmon, celery, tomatoes and cucumber. For a special treat we had Libby's tinned fruit

salad and Carnation milk. Lovely!

Very occasionally, tinned peaches and clotted cream appeared on the table. Even better! If our mother had been busy in the kitchen, we might have got some fairy cakes too.


Or those very sticky pieces of homemade toffee!
Breakfast in our house was usually cereal because mother had to work at STC, so there wasn't usually time for a cooked breakfast in the week. Corn flakes, shredded wheat or weetabix and milk were the regulars. In winter the milk was often heated. We were sent off to school with slices of toast and dripping, meant for the morning break. But we usually scoffed them en route to school.


Anyway, our real treat came at break ,if we managed to secure a cream bun off the tray that was on sale each day in the school hall.
School dinners weren't up to much at the Sec. Mod. in Ditton Street. Meat and two veg was standard fare, with soggy cabbage suffering from overcooking. Puddings were typically rice, tapioca or semolina with a dollop of jam dropped in the centre.


I remember occasionally persuading one of the cooks to add an extra dollop. Much of the time we seemed to be quite hungry, so it was always exciting when we were called up for 'seconds'. The very rare 'thirds' were even better!
When we got home from school we were soon out to play. I remember seeing
Mick Jolly one day eating what he called a 'doorstep' - a chunk of bread smothered in jam. This impressed us and we soon copied Mick, taking out a doorstep whenever we could.
In the evenings, before bed, we would have what we called 'supper' For us it was either hot milk (ugh - I hated the skin!) or Ovaltine or Horlicks.  The "Ovaltiney Kids" were on Radio Luxembourg at that time, so we often ended up with Ovaltine and a dry biscuit - broken biscuits from the International Stores on the corner of East Street and Ditton Street.


I suppose they were a lot cheaper than whole biscuits. When I worked for Tony White's grocery on the High Street on Friday evenings, I remember Tony would sometimes give me some broken biscuits to take home.
Anyone else got some food memories from 1950s Summervale?
Best Wishes everyone
Peter Westmacott

I cannot remember breakfast. As I could not drink cows milk I guess I had bread and ??

I loved the finger rolls from Tolleys and my favourite on Saturday mornings was a ripe tomato in a warm roll with butter!

Lunch – or dinner as we called it was things like Stews and shepherds pies, meat pies, steak & kidney puddings and rabbit stew – yummy.

Fridays was fish day – which I hated and I was made to sit and eat it. I can remember gagging at the table but was still made to sit there. I still don’t like fish very much.

Sundays, yes a roast and still the tradition in our home. I can remember my mother drawing a chicken and the smell was just awful. We also had lamb and beef and pork if there was an “R” in the month. Pork was considered dangerous to eat in the summer months as it went off. Roast lamb and mint sauce with fresh garden peas still reminds me of Family Favourite with Cliff and Jean Metcalf.

Pudding usually apple pie or perhaps rhubarb – as i did not like pastry I never had any.

Tea – Sardines on toast, sandwiches, salad with cold meat. Cold bread pudding with a cup of tea – lovely.


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