/ Food & Drink

Beef dripping, anyone? Let’s reminisce our forgotten foods

A BBC article about getting forgotten foods back on the table grabbed my attention. It made me wonder which foods we’ve cast aside, and whether there’s anything from the past we’d like to reheat.

The journalist in the article mentioned black pudding made from fresh blood – they apparently use a dried blood mixture these days as it’s easier to transport.

Others lamented the difficulty of finding foods from their childhoods. Some mentioned ‘Gipsy tart’, ‘cows udders served warm with brown bread and butter’ and ‘proper beef dripping sold from trays’.

Others missed ‘barley port wine gruel’, ‘Titbit brown sauce made by Fletchers’ and ‘Black Bun’; a dense fruit cake eaten on Hogmanay.

Penny sweets – now only £1

It got me thinking about my diet when I was younger. At first, I had trouble remembering what I ate growing up in the 70s and 80s, and I certainly couldn’t remember anything I felt a real nostalgia for. That’s apart from penny sweets; but you can still buy these, even though they no longer cost a penny.

My colleagues told me they missed popping candy, but you can still get this (and it’s a favourite of Heston Blumenthal). They also mentioned ‘Oink crisps’ (hollow pig shaped bacon crisps) as well as other brands of sweets and crisps, potato waffles and Findus crispy pancakes.

Still, much of what we remembered is still around but we just choose not to eat it anymore.

Leave some food in the past

It was actually much easier for me to remember the things I definitely don’t miss – the milk we were made to drink at school that had been sitting around and had a thick layer of cream on the top, or the school dinners of rubbery liver and spam – yuk!

So tell me – what foods do you miss from your childhood and want to see back? And which ones are you glad to see the back of?


Count Dracula ice creams

HP Original Sauce and not the watered down “Original” sauce you get now.

Small chocolate Easter eggs with a delicious pink interior sold by Woolworths.

Anyone remember ‘Toastie toppers’? I’m quite glad to see the back of them! Awful weird paste that you spread on toast – blergh.

I really miss the magic ice cream sauce that you’d melt in the microwave (or in a warm pan of water) then pour onto the ice cream – when you poured it back on it would set rock-solid, giving you crispy chocolate bits in the shape of your ice cream. Can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, but it was amazing!

Probably for the best – I remember opening a half-used tube of the microwave chocolate sauce and finding neon yellow fluff breeding inside. Certainly put me off it.

That magic ice cream sauce still exists in Asda!

Mothers Pride white sliced bread is something I would rather forget from my childhood. It was often all that was available from the baker’s van. No doubt other white sliced bread was/is as bad, but eating Mothers Pride put me off white bread for life. Someone must have liked it.

One of my earliest memories is being administered cod liver oil by my mother, on the basis of its nutritional benefits. It tasted revolting, as anyone who has chewed a cod liver oil capsule will know. I see that the liquid is still available, though goodness knows why.

I’ve never liked fat, meat from identifiable body parts, or offal (perhaps for the same reason), but I recall both sets of grandparents serving up “horrors”. My step-grandfather was a butcher and would eat a slice of solid fat in preference to lean, or his favourite – Bath chaps. My other grandfather liked stuffed heart for Sunday lunch.

My grandmother cooked on a coal-fired Aga and made wonderful bread. Unfortunately, she was not the best cook in all respects and made her rice pudding using flaked rice which, for some strange reason, she cooked overnight in the cooling Aga. By the morning, the milk had curdled and soured, and the rice had the consistency of wallpaper paste. Of course, this wasn’t for breakfast – we had the pleasure of waiting for this to be served for tea.

Ugh…cod liver oil ( for its superior health benefits), was to
substitute a more palatable Waterbury’s Compound AND the
Seven Seas capsule version.

When doing sports, consumed a lot of Glaxo’s so-called glucolin,
I think, finely powdered sucrose dissolved in water for instant

Biscuits: Huntley & Palmers, Peak Freans (sp?) ecetera.

And both Ovaltine and Milo and, of course, Horlicks.

Black pudding isn’t dying you’ll be pleased to hear – the Manchester Egg was invented last year using the stuff and it’s proving popular.


Here’s to more chefs creating new from old.

barry b says:
27 March 2012

Tudor crisps with the little blue bag,

Are you not thinking of Smith’s Crisps, which came with a bag of salt (or none, or several)?

1 before school every morning.

Thought I took 2 of that for my headaches!!

Italians love (braised in white wine, what else?) pig trotters too…
from Milano to Roma bar possibly Sicily, stuffed with cured/sausage/meat/
pork/wild mushrooms and herbs having removed bony bits…..absolutely

I remember my sisters drinking Bovril as a hot beverage in the 80s and my dad giving us tablespoons of malt as a snack/nutritional supplement. No idea why and no one else seems to be given this as a child but I remember it being tasty.

Ahh yes,
Malt extract, thick yellow goo, to me it tasted vile.

We were given yeastvite to enhance our academic performance & to keep us alert, apparently it contains caffeine, so could have been an early form of Pro Plus.
And yes it did work for headaches, it was our preferred choice over aspirin.

Most hated food, pigs trotters I cannot believe people are still munching on them.

I think I miss And Cadburys 5 boys chocolate bars and Jamboree bags the most

For a nice trip down sweetie memory lane try looking here.

Mexican spice flavour Tubes (crisps)
Pacers – striped chewy mint sweets
Vitalite (Marge – Flora has changed their main recipe and it’s awful)
Beef and Onion flavour Walkers crisps

All processed snacky stuff, but veg and meat isn’t really going change!

Used to like bread with sugar spread thinly on it during the war (sweets were heavily rationed so the extra bread and sugar didn’t affect teeth) – plus bread and dripping especially with the bottom of the dripping basin – thick concentrated national health orange juice straight from the bottle and having warm thick on the turn bottles of school milk (many didn’t like it so I usually managed say 10 during a school day) .

Actually I liked all food – except well hung pheasant or partridge which always tasted like old road kill/

Hopefully you haven’t tried old road kill?

Sugar sandwich! Now there is something from my childhood. My (Dutch) mother insisted it was a Dutch tradition. Typically you spread the sugar thinly on a single piece of bread as Richard says, and then grill it for a minute. Not sure if a genuine Dutch tradition, but it’s a fantastic pick-me-up and I sure didn’t argue as a kid. As you need less than a teaspoon of sugar for an average slice of bread, it really doesn’t seem that bad… does it?

How did I ever eat bread and dripping? And for some reason we put extra salt on it! Yes, sugar sandwiches were popular, and fried bread with jam, and yorkshire puddings with treacle. The early packets of crips with the salt in a seperate blue bag. How many of those blue bags did I eat by mistake?

As kids we would firstly visited the cake shop around closing time for any ‘stales’ – any cakes that would not last until the next day. Then later, again at closing time, we’d go into the local fish and chip shop for a ‘bag of bits’, which consisted of all the fried bits of chips and batter dredged from the fryer.

fred says:
1 April 2012

Calves foot jelly, when I was ill. St Ivel cheese.

Maureen Erdwin says:
2 April 2012

Pie and Mash served with a liquor that was very tasty from the Pie & Mash shop which also served jellied eels see:http://www.inlondonguide.co.uk/london-by-londoners/blog/2011-blog-inside-guide/pie-mash-jellied-eels.html.
Not easily available now as many Pie & Mash shops have closed.
As a child born end of war I preferred this to a school dinner but I also liked school dinners if I could
get seconds, which occasionally happened.

Does anyone remember Virol (spelling?) ? It was a sticky brown paste which came in a jar. I read recently that it was made of bone marrow, which surprised me, as I thought it was just malt extract. It certainly tasted sweet and syrupy, slightly toffee-ish, and was a real pick-me-up when getting over a cold. I think it was still available in the 80s, but I don’t suppose you can get it now.

Elizabethw says:
23 April 2012

I remember dripping for tea, but most of all I remember St. Ivels lactic cheese. It had a funny sour taste, crumbly and moist with a distinctive purple packaging. Does anyone else? I too would like to see Vitalite back on the shelves. I also would like to see Campbells Baked Bean Soup back, it was delicious. I also loved the Cadburys Milk Tray chocolate bar with six different chocolates in the one bar. Yum

hotdolly999 says:
1 June 2012

I miss pacers, the green and white strip chewy sweet, taste of spearmint nom nom nom x

pat brown says:
9 October 2012


Kunzle cakes; now there’s a memory! There is a link to them on the internet! Chocolate shell, sponge base, creamy topping and a garnish. Should be possible to make something convincing!