Do you remember the arrival of the fish finger, the rise and fall of Angel Delight, Vesta curries and Wimpy hamburgers? Did you own a fondue set or host a Tupperware party, or were you starving yourself on the Cabbage Soup Diet? Was life always too short to stuff a mushroom? And what was the point of Nouvelle Cuisine? There has been a revolution in our kitchens. In 1950, the average housewife worked a seventy-five-hour week. No one owned a fridge or had seen a teabag, let alone an avocado or a Curly Wurly . Ten years later, sugar consumption had rocketed: we ate more biscuits for dinner than vegetables and fruit. It was not until the mid 1990s that we started to worry about ‘five a day’. And now, nearly twenty years on from the first vegetable-box delivery scheme, we are fatter than ever before . . . Has there ever been a golden age of the family meal? Full of delicious detail, this marvellous companion to the BBC series is rich with nostalgia and provides a feast of extraordinary factual nuggets. Who can guess the filling of the first pre-packed sandwich in 1984? And who could have foreseen then that a kitchen robot that can write your shopping list is now just around the corner? Reflecting all the fads and fashions that have graced our table, Back in Time for Dinner is much more than a book about dinner; it holds a mirror to our changing family lives.
Mary Gwynn was the founding editor of BBC Vegetarian Good Food and subsequently editor of M&S magazine. She has worked as a consultant editor and trainer for Waitrose for 12 years, and has written six cookbooks to date.
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