In the late forties early fifties when I was a small child, for me, a real treat was to be had the day after my mother had cooked a roast. Back then money was scarce. Food rationing, brought in during the Second World War, was still going on. Like a lot of women living during those years of austerity, she wasted nothing. Even the liquid that had leached out of the roasted meat was saved. We used to call it dripping. Don’t ask me why, but that’s what I’ve always known it as.
To a baby boomer child, a dripping sandwich was pure heaven. It consisted of a piece of sliced fresh white bread covered in dripping with a generous amount of salt liberally shaken over it. The fact that I was consuming saturated fat and salt didn’t matter a damn. No one bothered about whether or not what you ate was healthy. All that mattered was that your stomach was full. If I was still hungry, always providing the fire was lit, which it usually was, mum used to give me a piece of stale bread and the toasting fork. The trouble was that instead of carefully watching the toast, I used to get mesmerized by the sparks in the soot at the back of the fireplace slithering their fiery way around. To my childish way of thinking back then, they were alive. I’ve forgotten the number of times I ended up eating charcoal as a consequence of my inattention…
Each week mum used to walk the one and a half miles into town from the farm we lived on, with me gripping her hand, to get our weekly rations. From what I can remember they included a very small loaf of white bread, flour, two ounces of butter, half a pound of lard and two eggs, using my ration card. Not forgetting a tin of treacle, a jar of malt and a bottle of cod-liver oil. If she was lucky, and the butcher was in a good mood, she also managed to get a half dozen rashers of bacon and a small joint of beef, also on my ration card. Thinking about it now, I wonder how she would have fared if she hadn’t taken me with her each time? A lot of people tried to get more than they were entitled to, claiming they had hungry children at home, when they hadn’t…
While I loved treacle as well as malt, having a teaspoon of cod-liver oil forced down my gullet by mum was not a pleasant experience. I hated the stuff! But she always insisted it was good for a growing boy. Dad did his bit contributing to the larder by growing cabbage, peas, carrots and potatoes in part of the garden.
Sixty six years later, I now consume the following:
Belgian Beer Ham
Freshly ground Pepper
Crunchy Peanut Butter
John Smith’s Bitter
A few weeks back I suddenly got the urge to eat another dripping sandwich for old time’s sake. Sadly, thanks to the food nazis, beef dripping as I knew it is no longer available. Given that my body can no longer handle fats like that, maybe its just as well…
How about you? What do you eat these days? Don’t be shy, share what you consume with the rest of us.