New Foods

A few weeks ago I was doing some clearing out/ de-cluttering. I realised that quite a few of my recipe books were now looking extremely tatty. On flicking through them before throwing them out I started thinking about the food items which didn’t appear in them and definitely wouldn’t have been around in the 1950s! I will just say next that most of the foods I’m going to list here already existed somewhere in the world. They are not new, just new to us in Britain.

Reading about the history of food trends in Britain, the first wave of ‘foreign food’ cuisine was French which arrived in the late 1950s and continued to be popular through the 1960s and to the present. These trends are ones I’ve read about but I was unaware of them as a child. Fashions didn’t spread as quickly back then and the average person in Britain didn’t come across fancy restaurants or try out recipes from cookbooks like Elizabeth David’s 1950 publication A Book of Mediterranean Food.

A Book of Mediterranean Food: Elizabeth David                          A Book of Mediterranean Food (Penguin Cookery L... by David, Elizabeth Paperback

An early copy.                                                                Still in print.

This famous book came at a time when many foods were still rationed and very few people went abroad on holiday. With the rise of Italian, Chinese and Indian eating places in the large cities in the 1950s and through to smaller towns over the next few decades, new foods began to filter down into normal households.

Food trends continue to ebb and flow, almost without us noticing. Here are some of the things I hadn’t even heard of even ten or fifteen years ago.


This is a traditional cheese from Cyprus but I can still remember the first time I came across it, not much more than ten years ago. I loved it then and still do!

Image result for halloumi cheese  Image result for halloumi cheese


I haven’t seen this here in my part of Yorkshire yet but I keep reading about it in magazines and online. It’s being particularly hailed  as a meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans. I’ll report back when I eventually get to try it!

Image result for jackfruit     Image result for jackfruit recipes

The raw jackfruit                                   Cooked jackfruit


Suddenly this drink is everywhere! Ten years ago I had never heard of it now there isn’t a party, wedding, dinner party or hen do without it.

Image result for prosecco  Image result for prosecco




Another first taste memory. We were in France on holiday when I had my first panini (and I loved it) and now nearly every cafe has them on the menu. They’re a version of what we here call a toasted sandwich but with different bread and more adventurous fillings.

Related image  Image result for toasted sandwich

Panini                                                     Basic British toasted sandwich

Couscous, quinoa, freekeh

Where once we had rice, now we have a whole load of alternative grains and seeds to choose from. To date I have tried quinoa and couscous but not freekeh.

Image result for freekehImage result for couscous

Pesto, balsamic vinegar, coconut oil, coconut milk,

Image result for pesto                           Image result for balsamic vinegar


Image result for coconut milk tin  File:Coconut Oil amp 30050.jpg

This is an assortment of items which now feature in many of our kitchen cupboards and which were unheard of here until recent years.

Green tea and herbal teas

Image result for green tea  Image result for herbal teas

Tea used to mean a hot drink made from the leaves of the tea bush. Green tea has become very popular now and is also from the tea bush but it seems you can now call any hot infusion a tea. We see every sort of leaf, fruit, herb and spice presented as a tea, often in combinations of more than one.



Wholemeal, wholegrain, gluten free, decaffeinated, ‘Free From’, vegan, vegetarian, meat free, additive free, sugar free, low fat, fat free. These labels are everywhere now and SO helpful when you have specific requirements in your food shopping, whether from preference or for medical and dietary reasons. Back in the 1950s, with rationing just coming to an end, food was food. Be grateful, like it or lump it was the attitude. How things change!


Image result for free from foods asda




14 thoughts on “New Foods

  1. The food when I was growing up was of the Fanny Farmer and Joy of Cooking tradition. Then the health food craze hit Vermont in the ’60s, and my brother and I would fall asleep to the sound of my mother grinding whole grains to make her own hot cereal.

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  2. It seems to me..that the old mention..’like it or lump it’..might well rise to the top of the food news. The concerns for how many foods are shipped..all over the world, and for how much many cultures..are..thrown out..say..up to 30 %? The flavor of the moment..was in super star asendence..back when wwll was over..and my mom, for one..was starting to send off to Baraboo, Wisconsin for herb seeds. Oh how she worked the series of wet bricks/moiste paper towels..sitting upon craft ‘sprouting’..and then..hand planting the best plants. Fast forward..over my multicultural cook books, including moms..and I do ..hear your comments on tatty or in my case..dogeared..books. Over the years..i have found 30 and 40 year olds..who when invited to search my shelves..found books they had never seen..or would like to their..more modern, short backup. I pass them on..with pleasure. Italian the encyclopedia sized one! Cakes made in 1928..take 3..they are thin..and have such cute to..’display’. Yuppers..I do understand. My eldest son..has provided the diff. forms of jackfruit..aND SO far..i figure I can slab together..things like my sauces..and a few slices of green squash, or zucchini..and bake to..’texturise’..and cheaper. As to cost vs. nutritional values..i am at a is play with new things..until we all get sucked down the rabbit hole of divinsions..curr. rip-tiding around us, all around the world. Do think to share some of your collection of they will history..and it is..always be able to..hold books..’to hand’..and study/enjoy them. Thank you this wander down..memory lane. ina

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    • I always enjoy your comments! They’re full of such interesting stuff! So, is jackfruit nice? Or just, as you say, useful to ‘texturise’? I went through a seed-sprouting craze in the early 70s. The oldest cookbook I have is a children’s one I was given for Christmas when I was ten years old and that will never be given away but I love showing it to friends.

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  3. Hmm..chewy..and depending upon the assorted currys, fruit is like a camilion(?) becomes what one wants if it. My flavor tastes have only been with the cooked varietys..and I take my a store..actually try..the raw-ripe version. I back. 🙂 ina

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  4. Other half and I often talk about how deprived of good food we were in the 50s and 60s, so many things we’d either not heard of or couldn’t get. I knew of coconut milk because occasionally in the 60s we were able to get a whole coconut (which was a pain to open) and drink the milk out of it, likewise we’d get the odd pineapple, but other things… unheard of! As for halloumi, we didn’t know about it until a friend visited who brought some with her, just four years ago. I can’t eat it as it has sheep milk in it, but hubby lives on the stuff – there are very few mornings when he doesn’t have it with his breakfast.

    I don’t think I’ve had jackfruit. My sister was talking about it recently – meaty, like a protein, apparently. To me it sounds like a fruit-version of tuna which I can live without!

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    • Ah yes, coconut milk straight from the coconut! My dad used to love fresh coconut when we could get hold of one – not very often – and he used to drill holes in it and pour the milk out into a container, then he would break it open with a hammer and chisel so we could eat the flesh. I’d forgotten all about that and am now more used to seeing it in tins.

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  5. English food has an undeserved bad reputation. It’s often spken of as being dull and stodgy. Surely this is a resu;t of post-war austerity? I adore it – every time I visit the UK i eat trad English dishes in the pubs. The puddings are just marvellous.

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    • I think British food sometimes gets compared with the spicier food from some other countries. I agree, it can be brilliant. I can also see that to people who are used to food with more spices in, it might seem bland in comparison. I think you’re right about post war austerity too. The range of foods available during rationing was very limited and I’ve seen recipes from the forties which were absolutely dire!

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      • I’ve seen recipes from colonial NZ that were absolutely dire, too. It was all about making do with what you could get. Let’s face it, making do has always been the reality for most people! I’m of the belief that those of us who live in more affluent times should thank their lucky stars that we can be choosy about what we eat and how we cook it.

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