Eating In 1950-2000

Eating In 1950-2000

The rationing of the Second World War ended in 1954. Controls on food were gradually removed. However, it became clear that most of the population, especially in London and other cities, had lost interest in preparing good food or had forgotten how to do it.

A whole generation, including those who had always had a cook before the war and those straight out of school, needed to be instructed in basic cookery skills. The nation had become used to cooking with Spam and dried eggs and was bewildered by fresh ingredients. This led to the development of The Good Food Guide, first published in 1951 when 5,000 copies were sold.

Food technology profited from research during the Second World War. The most significant advancement was in the preservation of food by freezing. No homes yet had freezers, so frozen fruit and vegetables were bought for immediate use, saving time and eliminating waste. Freezing remained at a basic level for many years, but the rise in home freezers in the 1970s saw a refinement of the technique.

One result of growing cultural diversity, especially in London, has been an increase in the variety of 'ethnic' and exotic food available to purchase. Some Asian ingredients not known in the UK before the Second World War include aubergines, chillies and coriander. Some examples of Caribbean food readily available today are plantains, mangoes, yams, okra and pumpkins. In addition, foreign travel has become more accessible and affordable, and so eating habits have adapted to include foreign dishes first tasted and enjoyed abroad.

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