Sunday, 1 April 2012

Domestic Social History

Two recent additions to the kitchenalia category of my website are this tin shopping list or 'Household Needs'. 

I think it interesting to note what the items a 1940s housewife would be most likely to buy - tapioca, nutmegs, suet, soda, paraffin and DDT.  This last item was used as an insect repellent and to eradicate bed bugs.  No mention here of pizzas, microwave meals or frozen chips!  Of course housewives wouldn't buy anything like as much food as we do nowadays as there wasn't the choice and many meals were made from scratch.  I can remember as a child the local grocery van calling and we would go inside to choose and buy food.  The van wasn't much bigger than many 4 x 4 vehicles people now use and it would serve customers from many streets.

I have also listed a cookery book dated 1922, The Ideal Cookery Book.  The author writes that this would be most useful to the 'mistress of the household who will find it a great convenience which will lessen the difficulty of ordering daily meals'.  So if you fancy making Fried Eggs in Batter, Tapioca Blancmange or Potato Pudding you can find the recipes here.  A lot of the recipes would make an interesting 'Come Dine with Me'!


  1. The last pic is very pretty. Don't know about the prawn one. :(
    Our mobile grocery service was known as 'the Thursday man'. Guess why? xx

  2. I love those old cookery books!
    Visiting the NT properties,and seeing the vast kitchens,makes you realise just how hard the cooks worked in those days. :0)

  3. I particularly love the meringues...decorating lavishly with Angelica is a dead art now isn't it.
    I've never quite got my head round cooking with sago...

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  5. As much as fried eggs in batter and cooking with suet and lard might seem a bit much, people weren't fat back then really were they? So they must have been doing something right! Is it wrong that I like the sound of potato pudding? :) xxx

  6. The shopping list is great! I do like nutmeg, but one whole one lasts me about a year!, but here looks like a frequent necessity! Also beer and cider feature heavily, which would please the menfolk of today! I do actually like the sound of tapioca blancmange! x

    PS. Our mobile grocery service was Mr Pinks!