This blog is designed to bring to the fore the concept of a return to a diet of simple, understated food. The past century saw such enormous strides in the provision and preparation of food that a lot of the old traditions have fallen by the wayside.
At the turn of the century there were no supermarkets, fridges, freezers, microwaves or even controlable ovens. Even the toaster was a ‘modern’ , and therefore expensive, tool.
My own grandmothers response to all the new innovations was one of trepidation. She never owned a fridge let alone a freezer. Food was stored in a larder, a stone floored, enclosed ‘room’, close to or in the kitchen, that remained at an even temperature throughout the year. She would never have a new fangled ‘washing machine’ in case the electricity leaked overnight and burned the house down!
The stone floor would remain cold enough for the short term storage of milk, cream and similar perishables. Otherwise the running of the house mimicked the running of the household of an elegant town-house or country estate.
Monday was washday, Tuesday shopping and ironing, Wednesday housekeeping and linen changing, Thursday preparing for the coming weekend and possible ‘company’, Friday was for housekeeping and ‘ordering’ . Saturday would be for shopping and preparing for the Sunday Lunch, possible the most important meal of the whole week. The remainder of Sunday, after church and lunch, would be baking. The cakes, pies, biscuits and sweetmeats for the following week would be made and lovingly stored in air-tight tins until required.
Other than that, children needed rearing, vegetable gardens needed tending, fruit needed propagating and lawns needed to be mowed. And the middle classes began to rue the day when the family budget would have run to a cook/housekeeper or a housemaid at the very least!
Life was not fundamentally harder or more demanding then than it is now. It is simply that times, and priorities, change.
The aim, as I see it, would be to retain the better elements of the past and marry them into the present in order to get the best of both worlds.