Over the years since I first began blogging I have received many lovely gifts from other bloggers but this must surely be one of the most unusual I think! One of my non-bloggy friends introduced me to another of her friends who was new to blogging and so I came to follow Molebags and gradually to know her although we have never met in person. Yesterday I went up to Surrey on the train and I met my friend for lunch when she passed on to me the above jar, a gift from Molebags, which I brought home with me. Whatever is it I hear you ask. Well it is some sourdough starter and is something I'd been wanting to try for ages. I have made bread for years on and off but never using sourdough starter and it is something I want to try. I had attempted making some starter of my own but something wasn't right and instead of this lovely creamy mix I had a jar of rather off smelling slime!! I will let you know how I get on following Molebag's detailed instructions received earlier by e-mail.
I also received a pot of my friend's home made plum jam and I had taken her a jar of my hedgerow spread and this morning when I was on my way to town on foot my neighbour, who had given me the crab apples when I made my hedgerow spread and to whom I had given a small jar of the finished result, stopped me and gave me the pot back but now filled with her home made mincemeat. I love the idea of swapping our home made produce like this. Food is something so vital to our lives but it is more than just nourishment for our bodies and sharing food with friends and family is something much more important and complex than that don't you think?
A friend and I were gossiping about this and that recently and she said that she was going on holiday to an "all inclusive" place so that she wouldn't have the problem of choosing somewhere each night to have dinner. I had just been saying how I can never think of anything interesting to have and that the choice is harder than the cooking thereof. Then I realised what we sounded like - there are millions of people out there who have no choice at all and if they have anything to eat they are glad!
You can see how my brain works can't you and how one thing leads to another! As I continued to think about food I thought of how different our food is these days. I am reading the book Nella Last in the 1950s since it is about my childhood years and I am reminded of the foods we used to eat back then which are so different to what we tend to eat now. Who remembers rationing? Or tripe and onions, tapioca puddings, spotted dick, bread and milk, well boiled cabbage, chitterlings, pigs trotters (ugh!) and other such things? Where were pasta, pizzas, youghurt, quiche, chicken and so on and we certainly didn't worry about the dearth of olives for any dinner parties as we'd never heard of them! We were apparently healthier back then and I don't remember anyone having trouble with their weight - getting enough food was more of a problem! Of course we exercised more too as we walked or cycled everywhere. We ate seasonally - no freezers then, often no fridges either. And yet we did eat a lot of stuff which we would consider unhealthy now like bread and jam, bread and dripping and does anyone else remember condensed milk - I bought some the other day so as to be able to make a quick chocolate sauce by adding a square of dark chocolate to a small amount of the stuff and heating it to melt and I was immediately transported back to the 50's when I sometimes had bread and butter spread with condensed milk! I still love it and can't resist having a dip into the remains in the fridge - not a good idea! What did you like eating if you were around back in the 1950s? I wonder if we could live on a similar diet nowadays and if we did whether we would be healthy or not. Can you still buy tripe in the UK?!