Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dining down Memory Lane

I was recently going through my late mother’s effects* and came across this typed menu from the Old Vicarage Hotel at Stretton in Cheshire. From the combination of date and day it dates from either 1979 or 1984, but I strongly suspect the former.

It’s very much a sign of a bygone era. The lack of floweriness and pretension in the food descriptions is notable – if you have to type it out, you can’t afford to be too verbose. Also there’s a complete absence of a vegetarian option. Rainbow Trout Cleopatra – which is what I would probably have chosen on that occasion – doesn’t involve asp venom or asses’ milk, it’s just served with herring roe and capers.

Hotels don’t tend to be seen as such desirable dining venues as they once were, and this one has long since been completely rebuilt and massively extended as the Park Royal.

* Don’t worry – she in fact passed away last year, but I’ve only just got round to getting my old scanner working again

14 comments:

  1. A bygone era before gourmet junk food, pulled pork, fusion street food and Jamie Oliver inspired toss "drizzled with tuscan truffle oil"

    Did you get a free pint with it back in the day?

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  2. This was a high-class hotel restaurant, not Spoons. And IIRC the beer was Greenalls keg ;-)

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  3. £8 in 1979 is more than £35 now. It wasn't cheap.

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  4. I think over time the relative price of eating out has declined in comparison with beer in pubs.

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  5. I reckon if a gaff did that menu now, with a retro ironic feel, the grub would fly out of the kitchen. Pity there's no Angel Delight for pud, though, or was that not posh enough? Maybe vienetta ice cream, that's always been posh.

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  6. Bitter was around 35p in 1979 (from Hansard) = £1.55 now with inflation. So beer has doubled in relation to inflation, while eating out can be found significantly cheaper. Curious.

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  7. the menu reads like the better end of a Brake Bros. catalogue, so some things never change..

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  8. @Nev & Oli, I think you hit the nail at least nearish to the head there guys and it shows how better things are today.

    Back in sepia toned Mudgie world kitchens were full of staff peeling things, cutting things and cooking them. Overstaffed and inefficient.

    These days all you need is one factory turning out ready meals and numerous kitchens with a couple of microwaves a piece and a free work experience girl sent over by Ian Duncan Smith.

    Making it an every day treat!

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  9. A respectable enough menu with nothing to overly excite the diner and promote lascivious thoughts through overt sensuousness. Of concern would be the sherry trifle. There really is no need to include the demon drink in recipes of any kind and to do so creates a degree of regularity, even normality about the presence of alcohol. It is to be discouraged and I shall write to the BBC forthwith demanding that they cease to normalise alcohol by using it as a cooking or preparation ingredient in popular cookery shows. One cannot airbrush the past but when one sees examples like this one is reminded that society must be ever vigilant in regard to these poisons being normalised in the eyes of innocent children.

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  10. Lord Egbert Nobacon4 September 2014 at 07:37

    Dinner.
    To be followed by Miss Joan Hunter Dunn receiving the gift of a pearl necklace.
    Happy days.

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  11. Ah the 70's. When orange juice or tinned fruit was still considered a starter.

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  12. "I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food . . ." - W. C. Fields

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  13. cookie, free work experience girls, yes. The factory, well given that prisoners are now employed as customer service agents for UK companies. I imagine it is not such a leap to have the lags cooking up a storm for Wethertramps. Oh actually, just remembered, a prison does have a commercial smoker, forget where and too lazy to google it.

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  14. @Oli If Mudgie gets his way and Nige kicks out all the cheap east european labour the ready meal factory will have to rely on nonces and axe murders to knock up the pub dinners. Has Nige & Mudgie thought this through? The effect on a beer & burger deal ain't been considered by the pub bore kippers.

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