It struck me today how our food habits have changed over the years. The ingredients in our local supermarket seem to come from all over the world - the spices, the tins of various forms of coconut, the curry sauces, the pasta sauces, the exotic vegetables our parents had never even heard of. Even the twenty or so different types of bread fill a whole shelf and fill the shop each morning with the aroma of freshly baked bread.
My parents had a very simple diet. It consisted of whatever they grew in the garden, supplemented by meat from the butcher opposite (my mother dressed poultry for him for many years - she absolutely loved doing it) who supplied meat in payment for my mother's work.
Roasts were done every Sunday - beef, lamb, pork in that order, week after week. Chicken on special occasions apart from old hens of our own which were put into a pot and boiled to extinction which then provided delicious chicken in white sauce and chicken soup.
Fruit pies with Bramleys from our tree - jolly good cooker which lasted well after Christmas if it was stored carefully.
If all there was in the garden for tea was lettuce and radishes then that is what we had - with a pile of salt on the side of one's plate, a green salad dressed with vinegar, and home-made bread and butter.
Now life is much more complicated. Today I made a Lyndsay Bareham recipe for Cauliflower cheese. The ingredients included pulled ham hock, grated cheddar and emmental, dijon mustard, crumbs fried in butter. Not difficult but time-consuming and much more elaborate than anything my mother would have bothered with. She would be quite scathing about all this 'fancy food' as she called it.
But there is one area in which she would never have given way to 'modern methods'. Roast beef always had an accompaniment of Yorkshire Puddings. She made the mixture early in the morning before chapel, put the beef in the oven (a side oven with the fire banked up) and then made the puddings on her return, using the fat from round the beef to grease the tins well. Me? I use frozen Yorkshire Puddings which take five minutes on the oven shelf from frozen. Do they taste as good? No but they are a jolly sight easier!