Do you remember junket, Cherry B and Spam fritters?

Residents at Leypark Court housing with support were treated to a trip down memory lane to talk about the food and drink of yesteryear.

It was a blast from the past for many of the attendees, who were reminded about glass milk bottles, the introduction of free school dinners and the advent of Bird’s Eye fish fingers in 1955 and Vesta curries in the 1970s.

The Your Recipes, Your Heritage project is being run by The Box – previously the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery,  which will reopen in spring 2020.

The Box’s Joanne Gray is seeking recipes from Plymouth residents as part of a two-year project with CaterEd, Age UK Plymouth and Plymouth Community Homes.

The recipes will be collated for a new book which explores the history and changing fashions of eating habits over the last century.

There were plenty of anecdotes from residents, who suggested ways of cooking with Spam and reminisced about the days when Mackisons Stout was prescribed by doctors.

Residents were treated to pasties and a cream tea during the session, which ended with the raffle of a hamper filled with a variety of fun foods including a Fray Bentos pie, Babycham, corned beef and clotted cream biscuits.

Joanne said: “I’m visiting lots of different groups around Plymouth. The book will be made up of recipes contributed by local people. This session has sparked off a lot of memories for people who have remembered details about old cafes and shops that they used to visit in town, and meals that they were fed as children and weren’t particularly fond of!

“There will be a small exhibition in a gallery at the Box to showcase some of these memories and recipes and resources for people to use in their own homes.

“We’ve had lots of recipes for junket, which is a dessert made of sweetened milk and rennet. It seems to be a Devon thing which would make sense as we are a dairy county.”

During her research, Joanne has come across a recipe dating back to 1510 for venison pasties and has been given recipes for Jamaican patties – pasties with a spicy Caribbean twist.

Leypark Court resident Janice Drew said: “I’m submitting a recipe for soused mackerel which contains onions, vinegar and salt and pepper. I’ve also got some for tripe and onion, bread and butter pudding and rabbit stew. We stopped cooking with rabbit in the 1950s as they got myxomatosis. Today has definitely brought back a few memories.”

Fellow resident Sheila Nichols added: “I used to make junket and cream, although I don’t cook much now – I leave the cooking to the younger generation and go and eat at theirs!

“When I was young there were no sweets because of rationing so we used to go to the chemist and buy liquorice sticks. I tasted it many years later and wondered why on earth I thought they tasted so good!

“It’s been really interesting today. I’ll try and get along to the Box when it opens.”

Do you have any memories of food from days gone by? Have you got a favourite recipe you’d like to share?

If so, let The Box know at their website:

Pictured left to right: Janice Drew and Sheila Nichols