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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Everyday Life


By Alistair L Goldsmith

Janet and Arthur Irvine Wartime rationing was not discontinued until 1954 although, as supplies improved, availability increased and goods were taken off the ration system. Nevertheless food remained dull if fortifying, but gradually oranges, bananas, cream, pineapples and other goods appeared in the shops, albeit in homeopathic quantities.

Indian Banquet As the 1950s progressed and trade returned to pre-war levels of activity, not only was there evidence of conspicuous consumption during the era of "you've never had it so good", but there began to be seen the effect of new ethnic groups coming to the city bringing with them new and exotic cuisines from India, Pakistan, China and other parts of the Middle and Far East. By the 1970s not only were commercial operations to be seen and enjoyed, but also experiments, and latterly expertise, in preparing products from abroad were being essayed domestically.

On the other hand, economic recessions in the 1970s and 1980s, coupled with a generation that had little or no knowledge of nutrition for healthy lifestyles, saw a return of rickets, scabies and other diet-related diseases. The "tea and chips" diet of the 1930s had been replaced by the "Coke and pizza" staple.

By the end of the 20th century domestic food preparation from raw material to completed dish was declining, although the availability and variety of produce had never been better. Partly or completely prepared food, which required the minimum of preparation, was available. Sadly, much of this had a high fat content which coupled unhappily with more sedentary lifestyles. In contrast, increasing awareness of the dangers of obesity resulted in increased interest in healthier eating habits.

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