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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Gifts and some thoughts on food

Blogging gifts

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.

This photo came with the e-mail and shows Molebag's handiwork - I just hope mine turns out half as well!

Food exchanges

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?

Food Choices

 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!

Childhood Foods

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?! 


  1. It would have been hard to have been a veggie back in the fifties that's for sure. It must have been the exercise that kept people trim back then certainly not the food! Maybe that is something we should learn from that.....more exercise!! I have to be honest that appeals to me more than cutting out the foods I love!
    I agree about sharing food, nothing nicer than having lots of people around the table. :)
    V x

  2. I look forward to hearing how your sourdough progresses!! I've had no lucky at all in getting one started!!

  3. I love bread and dripping even now and stew and dumplings. I used to get tomato ketchup sandwiches too...

  4. I was born in the later 50s, but have many of the same memories. Simpler food. My father was a trucker and would eat at cafes. One day he took the rest of the family to a restaurant to try a brand new food - Pizza! with Mushrooms! It was the first time I'd had either - I must have been about 8.
    Sharing food with others is a joy. I love the way your friends have gifted you, and you them. Let us know how the sourdough turns out.

  5. You share many of my food memories. Tapioca was the absolute horror of school dinners!

  6. I'd love to try making sourdough bread. I just tried making regular bread in the slo cooker, but the base was very hard!

  7. I'm laughing because this morning I had condensed milk in my coffee. I used some in a recipe a couple of days ago and saved a bit in the can to put in my coffee. (It reminds me of tasting my mom's coffee when I was young. Cheap thrill. Happy Memories.)

  8. Sourdough bread - mmmmmmmmm!
    Julie xxxxxx

  9. The food I remember most from my childhood is "sugar butties". Sugar was still rationed when I was very small so when it was back we must have craved it. I can still remember enjoying that gritty bread!

    And what a great gift that sourdough stater makes. Often thought of trying it myself but never got round to it - story of my life!

    Just want to thank you too for sticking with my sadly neglected blog - you are ace!

  10. Glad to hear that 'The Beast' has safely arrived, and hope it thrives for you. I'll look forward to seeing the finished result, wish I was close enough to taste it too! Molebags x x x x x x

  11. On the food sharing front : I like to make some type of food gift for friends where gift giving is not the norm. I make a savory that we call Nuts and Bolts which is great with drinks and though it is not at all difficult people don't tend to bother and just buy chips and dips so it is a bit different.
    I take your point about food choices but I also know what you mean about deciding what to cook for dinner. I once sat down and wrote a long list of dinners so it help with adding a bit of variety to our meals. We seem to get into a bit of a rut with eating don't we?
    And childhood foods? Thank heavens tripe has just about disappeared. Dreadful stuff!!! I seem to remember rissoles used to feature on the menu quite often and rarely do these days. We eat a stirfry at least once a week but they were unheard of in the old days..... but then the zuchini ( courgette ) was not "invented" then either ! As for condensed milk, I always have a tin in my cupboard and still use it in cakes and biscuits quite a bit. It usually guarantees everyone will love what you have cooked .

  12. I'm a bit obsessed with sourdough at the moment. I've made a starter and I'm trying some breads with it. So far so good, although I've had a brick or two in the past!

  13. Jane, my Mum cremated meat and boiled cabbage to within an inch of its life because that's what my Nan taught her. Although I try not to, I am sometimes guilty of over boiling the greens too because it is ingrained in my DNA. Mum also used to make her own faggots and she'd come home with the fry and the cawl from the butcher. Every time she made them she also bought chitterlings from him and would eat them sloshed in vinegar. I remember heaving at the time as they looked like people's fingers and just thinking about the memory makes me feel queasy.
    Good luck with the sourdough starter. Just shows what can come form this blogging lark!

  14. Ooh, have fun with the sourdough. I wasn't even a twinkle in my Dad's eye in the 50s, but I do remember condensed milk and my infant school dinners included tapioca pudding I recall.

  15. Good luck with the sourdough. I have tried it & failed..but then my culinary skills are fairly non-existent these days. Thank goodness Mr W enjoys cooking. Lizzie x

  16. I was born in the early sixties. I remember eating bread and dripping for tea after having the sunday roast at lunchtime. I also remember the horrid meat paste sandwiches, Birdseye Mousse and Angel Delight all washed down with orange squash!!!x


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