Food: In 1972 Quiche, like Stripped Pine, Had Not Been De Rigueur That Long
Roberts, Michele, New Statesman (1996)
Fashions in food flounce up and down like hems and frills on frocks. I was born just after the war, a time when your mother queued for your orange juice ration and there were proper local shops, Sainsbury's in yards of neoclassical marble where muslin-capped and aproned experts measured out your coffee and cut your cheese. For God-fearing Protestants in this suburb of north-west London, olive oil was a lotion you bought at the chemist's and used for treating earache.
Luckily for us, we lived in a Jewish community, so could buy breads and cakes from the Grodzinski bakery at the top of the avenue. Challah bread was exquisite. Arriving home, having lunched on gristle, soapy carrots and soggy pudding, you tore into it to get the taste of convent school out of your mouth. When the neighbours came for drinks, they got bridge rolls spread with cream cheese, cheese straws, vol-au-vents. Cheese-and-wine parties became the in thing, with a hedgehog platter of pineapple bits on toothpicks stuck into a grapefruit half. Sophistication, to me, meant donning my purple minidress and white lace tights and handing round the tray of gin and tonics.
Fashionable student food needed to be filling as well as daring. We made hearty moussakas, lasagne, curries, terrible rice fry-ups, proudly stuffing the leftovers into green peppers. At four in the morning, stoned, afflicted by the munchies, we wobbled to the baker's at the end of the street and bought his freshly made lardy cake. …