Words we don’t hear now.

I have been remiss recently in my blog writing. I have several saved draft posts which I have started and then decided maybe weren’t that good. I began to fear I was running out of ideas. However, this morning I heard the word blancmange on the radio and it sparked something in me! I have done similar posts before so I hope I’m not repeating myself too much.

Blancmange was so common when I was a child! Birthday parties were not complete without jelly and blangmange. For those younger than me who aren’t familiar with the word it was a dessert made from cornflour, milk, sugar, colouring and flavouring. It set like jelly and was most often made from a packet mix in the 50s. We pronounced it ‘blummonge’. Back in the 1950s here in Britain, nobody had freezers so ice cream was not something that was found in the home. Many homes in the early fifties didn’t even have fridges so fresh cream was uncommon. Instead we had jelly, blancmange, custard, or tinned cream – as well as cooked puddings, of course.

My mum had a rabbit mould just like this and for our parties she used to make a brown (chocolate flavoured blancmange) rabbit and put chopped up green jelly around it to look like grass. We thought it was amazing!

A few other food words we don’t hear these days. We didn’t have meatballs or burgers we had rissoles and faggots. When researching these two meat items I read that they were particularly popular in South and Mid-Wales which is why I remember them so well. Rissoles were made of minced meat, breadcrumbs and seasoning and were served hot, whereas faggots were made using meat mixed with offal and were often eaten cold. I hated them! We had a wide range of milk puddings. Most people know of rice pudding but we also had milk puddings made of semolina, ground rice, tapioca and even macaroni!

Macaroni pudding was regularly served up in my school.

Some older people still use this word. Nowadays we call it a radio, back then it always known as ‘the wireless”. Now wireless has a totally different meaning.

In clothing we have lost the words petticoat, bloomers and drawers (usually used to describe old ladies’ long legged knickers), the much disliked liberty bodice, and nylons. My mum wore petticoats all her life and would have felt undressed without one on. They are not worn as much now at all and are more usually called slips or underskirts. Even the word mac is heard less often now.

Many people of my age remember having to wear these in winter. They were worn under the clothes and on top of a vest and most children hated them!

In winter we had warm brushed cotton fabrics which were used for nightwear, bedlinen and even shirts, blouses (another word which has nearly disappeared!) and dresses. I loved the feeling of getting into warm flannelette sheets on a cold night. We also used the term Winceyette which was a type of flannelette.

Cars are very different now although a lot of the terminology remains the same. However, the ‘choke’ was a very important feature on the dashboard and correct use of it was crucial to starting your car. Too little and the car wouldn’t start, too much and you risked flooding the engine.

Plasticine was the only sort of modelling clay we had as children. It still exists, I’ve found out, but has now been largely replaced by a wide range of modelling materials for children including the most well known – Play Doh. Plasticine had a very distinctive smell which came back to me vividly as I started writing this paragraph.

Plasticine was a brand name but is now used as a general term for modelling clay. As children we always just called it clay.

As always, credit to Google Images and Wikipedia. I take care to ensure I don’t infringe copyright when selecting pictures. However, if anyone objects to the use of any image in this post please contact me and I will remove it.

10 thoughts on “Words we don’t hear now.

  1. It was good to see a new post from you, Meryl! I have a blancmange recipe in my mother’s go-to cookbook that she passed down to me when I got married. The recipe had the same ingredients as those you listed, but it didn’t set up like jelly. It was more of a thick pudding.

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  2. Pingback: Words we don’t hear now. – Urban Fishing Pole Lifestyle

  3. We pronounced it ‘blamonge’ and I hated it, but then I didn’t like cows’ milk nor anything that tasted of it and still don’t. Many homes didn’t have fridges even in the 60s but most fridges had freezer compartments so folk who did have fridges often did have icecream in it. I didn’t have a fridge until 1973 and my mother not until 1975. However pantries usually had a stone slab and in any case houses weren’t so warm in those days. We had a rabbit jelly mould exactly like the one in the photo! Don’t forget Carnation milk and condensed milk! I didn’t come across faggots and rissoles until moving to the south in the 60s. Nobody on Teesside used ‘underskirt’ and I’m not sure they would now. However we did use ‘slip’. I first heard it on moving to the W. Riding in 1971. ‘Mac’ isn’t much used now because since the invention of other waterproof materials few people wear them. Winceyette is a trade name. Motorbikes had chokes too. I never heard anyone say ‘clay’; it was always Plasticine. Best wishes Patricia (b. Eaglescliffe 1947, lived Billingham 1954-64, thereafter Sussex, Surrey, London, W. Riding, Norfolk, E. Riding and now N. Riding for 25 years)

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    • What a lovely comment, full of interesting detail! We had a stone slab in our pantry too and also, my mum used to put bottles of milk in the stream at the bottom of the garden in summer to stop the milk going off. We lived in the Welsh countryside – there were plenty of streams around!!

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  4. This has really taken me back to my childhood and I have thoroughly enjoyed the memories. I lived with my parents and sister in an old coaching in. Next door was the Smithy which serviced the horses and carriages. We believe it went back to the 1500’s but have never researched it . The house was not huge but it has a cellar which was the size of the whole house. It had leaded light windows in each room which started under ground level to above the ground. There was a channel in the concrete floor which went through every room. To get to it we had to go down steep scary steps from the scullery. I remember there being a huge food sae at the bottom.

    I distinctly remember my mother on Mondays, which was washing day. She had a big metal tub in which she did the washing. She used an implement which was a wooden stick with what seemed to be like a metal upside colander with some holes in it. It looked like hard work. I remember she used dolly blue to keep the sheets white. The washing was then put through a mangle then hung outside or in the cellar if it was raining. I remember when she got a flatley drying machine to help clothes and sheets dry more quickly as it was electric.

    I remember Jack Frost on our bedroom windows which were leaded lights and very draughty. I could never work out how the patterns in the frost were all the same. In the winter when it was so cold we could go down to the kitchen and get dressed by the range but couldn’t get too close in case we got chilblains

    We had a huge (well it seemed huge to me!!) and I was absolutely convinced I could see the people inside talking !!!

    I remember everything Meryl has mentioned but I have just written My memories of the early 50’s. They were good, uncomplicated times – so so different from today’s busy lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely account of some of your childhood memories! I’m glad you like my blog and thank you for commenting. I only post every few weeks now as I have used up most of the topics I wanted to cover. However, I do still keep getting ideas and I love writing it. If you’ve just joined there are plenty of posts for you to dip into. Meryl


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