Do you Remember These Popular Food Items from The 1970's?

My mum always went the extra mile when it came to social dining and I have inherited my love of entertaining from her. However, unlike her I have never served a glass of orange juice as a starter.

orange juice in glass next to vintage telephone

Other popular choices were half a grapefruit (I hated helping to prep those using that fiddly bent knife) melon and of course, soup.

Chatting to friends over dinner last night it seemed mum was not alone in offering fruit juice as a appetizer and we figured it was probably because with the second world war a relatively fresh memory, orange juice was still a luxury treat even in the 1970's and could be found as a starter on the menus of Britain's finest restaurants back then.

It got us reminiscing about other favourite treats and wondering if we prepared a 70's nostalgia dinner what would we include?

  • Findus Crispy Pancakes. Minced beef for me, served with a side order of buttered peas. Apparently Findus have recently redesigned and repackaged their pancakes and you can now get them stuffed with ham and mozerella.
  • Arctic Roll. At the request of my son I bought one a Tesco branded version of this a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly the children tasted and rejected it while the adults yummed it up.
  • Prawn Cocktail. Sauce made by mixing ketchup and mayonnaise with a touch of lemon juice, Worcester Sauce or paprika or all three depending who you talk to. Served with iceberg lettuce and a buttered slice of thin brown bread cut into triangles.
  • Angel Delight. With "Hundreds & Thousands" (sprinkles) sprinkled on the top. You can still buy this, even in Waitrose but I offered it to my children once and they thought it was disgusting.
  • Bird's Eye Trifle. Again topped with the "Hundreds & Thousands" which came in a tiny sachet. Add alcohol to taste. I made one once for my gran's birthday party and didn't have the usual sherry so improvised with vodka. It went down very well. Move over Heston. Again, you can still buy this from most supermarkets apparently complete with sprinkles.

I'm amazed how many "nostalgia" products can still be bought. Who is buying them? I tried the Angel Delight along with the children and couldn't for the life of me see why I liked it so much. Maybe my taste buds have changed.

Other delights I remember from my childhood include Space Dust, frozen chocolate mousse in tiny plastic pots, tinned meatballs, orange drink you mixed from powder (My Gran used to buy this) and Vesta curries which I recall came with crispy bits (like prawn crackers?) to serve with it. I never ate the curry but I loved those crispy bits.

A sophisticated meal might include the aforementioned starters or egg mayonnaise (an egg cut in half, plated cut side down and topped with mayo and a sprinkle of paprika) or pate served with thin sliced crustless toast. This might be followed by Chicken Chasseur, Coq aux Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, stroganoff or chilli con carne. 

Dessert might be trifle, pineapple upside down cake or any one of a host of "school" deserts like rice pud, spotted dick, sticky toffee pudding or treacle tart. Fruit salad and cheese was an easy winner too. For a showstopper finish there might be a Black Forest Gateau or a Baked Alaska.

What family favourites from your childhood you you remember? 

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