Food Story: Joy & Sugar Sandwiches and Mushrooms

How exciting it is to be able to showcase our third guest blogger, Joy from Healthy Eating For Healthy Living Tips. Joy is from the UK and is highly credentialed in nutrition with lots of free health information on her sites. Her research topic for her nutrition work was migraine and nutrition. Joy has graciously offered to share one of her food stories so let’s see what she has to say!

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Delighted to be invited to write on “Food Stories”, thanks. Pondering “where to start” I finally decided to share a story about food that happened to our family in the 1950s.

My Mum and Nan were both excellent cooks, so the family enjoyed three home cooked meals a day, every day. Breakfast was often bacon and eggs; most lunches involved three courses, with hearty portions of meat, potatoes and two or three vegetables – often followed by my favourite suet puddings and lashings of custard. And none of these prissy starters you see these days – a good plateful of Yorkshire Pudding with gravy (or treacle) was OUR appetiser. “Tea” was often a yummy sugar sandwich – with butter, of course. Friday was always “fish” day.

Despite the generous portions of what would now be termed unhealthy food, none of the family were obese in the way that so many adults and youngsters are today. I wonder why? Could it be because:

• We walked to and from school
• School included “outside sports” every day, rain or shine (however much I hated it)
• My after school activities included helping Mum with the cleaning
• I felt “grown-up” working weekends and evenings in the family shop (open 15 hours a day), on my feet all day – sitting down was unheard of. It was a sweet shop and often I was given permission to choose some chocolate as “a little treat”
• Duties over, I went out to play “skipping” etc with friends
• TV? No way. That was an adult activity after sis and I went to bed
• Fizzy drinks? Two bottles for the whole family delivered(!) to us once a week – regular drinks were tea or water
• Take-aways? The only take-away we’d heard of was the fish and chip shop
• Snacks / crisps? There was always fresh fruit on the table
• Did you spot those regular eggs and vegetables? Collected daily from the corner store (reachable on foot)

We were usually exhausted by the long hours in the family shop, but these days, particularly working in the family business, were the happiest of my life.

My Mum and Dad are still in pretty good health, coming up to their 90th birthdays. My Nan passed away of old age in her early 90s. My “Gang” made it to his mid-eighties. My funny food story about Gang was when he cooked fish and chips for the whole family on impulse at 3 in the morning once when he couldn’t sleep. Everyone was duly woken up, ate it, and then presumably went back to sleep again.

One cloud on the horizon of our happy and food-focused family was that my sister (who hopefully won’t mind me sharing this) was a frail child with several health problems. This wasn’t helped by the fact that she flatly refused to eat. (Don’t worry it has a happy ending – she’s fit and healthy now, a superb cook and eats the most balanced diet in our family.)

Her lack of interest in food drove the whole (adult) family to distraction. Me? I didn’t mind – I got her leftovers and was a “bonny lass” – Yorkshire euphemism for “plump but not gross”.

The concern for my fragile sister escalated into several visits to the doctor because my Mum was concerned that practically the only things sis would eat were tomatoes and mushrooms.

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The doctor shook his head gravely and pronounced that was not a healthy diet, which I can’t take issue with! Then he followed it up with “Mushrooms have NO nutritional food value whatsoever” and his advice was to “Put a sugar pastille in a glass of milk three times a day and she’ll drink it to get the sweet. That’ll soon fatten her up”. (My sister isn’t stupid; she fished the pastille out with a spoon, munched it happily and tipped the milk down the sink.)

Despite all the fuss and “bad diets” we both grew up fit and healthy. I’ve never been what you’d call slender but I only weigh a few pounds more now than I was at my chubbiest in school, and one day I noticed that the rest of the world seems to have got fatter around me.

The doctor who recommended pastilles, milk and “shame about the mushrooms” was only doing his best with the knowledge at the time. He was a kindly soul and never missed buying his 20 cigarettes a day from the family shop.

Funny how life turns out. Fast forward fifty years, and here I am, still a confirmed workaholic and chocoholic, writing a blog about healthy eating and the research behind it. Some of my recent posts have been about whether milk is a good food for building bones (or not!) and an interesting series I might resurrect – having been reminded by these ramblings – about clinical trials into the anti-cancer properties of mushrooms.

Not to mention the fact that my nutrition course enthused about mushrooms as a good source of easily absorbed, high quality vegetable protein. They are also brimming with B vitamins and essential minerals. For those of us not enthusiastic cooks – they’re dead easy to prepare!

Joy … http://healthyeatingforhealthylivingtips.com

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What do you think?

  1. That was a funny read. It must be nostalgic to go back and think about those days. I remember doctors giving all kinds of wrong advises and be fine with it. One that I remember was – ‘don’t drink milk without adding sugar, it’s harmful’……hahahha!
    Minnie(thelady8home) recently posted … Pan Seared ginger Salmon atop sautéed vegetablesMy Profile

  2. Hi Sara, Thanks. I’ve heard that too – and hope it’s true as (fingers crossed) there seem some pretty good genes in our line. My Dad’s 90th birthday later this week :-)
    Joy recently posted … What to Drink at Your BarbecueMy Profile

  3. I enjoyed reading this! :) I’ve heard that health risks (whether you are prone to obesity, hypertension, cancer) can also be attributed to a person’s genetic information. There are some who don’t easily get cancer no matter how many sticks per day they consume while some can easily get it too. Same goes with obesity too.

  4. Your stories are always some of the best expressed my friend – wonderful shots too :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted … Story Time, Story Time!My Profile

  5. We also had no time to be fat or lazy when we were growing up. We walked to school in all kinds of weather, were always outside playing, rode bikes, had few soft drinks, no takeaways and yep, it was always fish on Fridays. xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted … Playing with FireMy Profile

  6. love mushrooms and toast and as we get older we often expand what we eat anways
    rebecca recently posted … Zucchini blossoms stuffed with feta and oreganoMy Profile

  7. Isn’t a wonder that any of us made it adulthood? I mean with no car seats, no child proof containers, cribs that could choke us, being fed processed food, it is a wonder there is anyone left. Survival of the fittest!
    Eliot recently posted … Spicy-Sweet Chipotle RubMy Profile

  8. What an enjoyable post. Sugar sammys and ‘shrooms. :)
    Joanne recently posted … Rhubarb Cottage Pie: A Gluten Free RecipeMy Profile

  9. Thanks Joy! So fun to read your story.

  10. Very cool! Love the photos!
    Shawn recently posted … Mini Taco BitesMy Profile

  11. Very lovely post, loved to read about your story!
    Catalina recently posted … Sour Cherries Creamy Cheesecake BrowniesMy Profile

  12. Interesting story about how your blog came about, also makes me think of how far the world has come simply in the area of knowing more about nutrition. Glad I stopped in!
    Tina recently posted … Orange CrispsMy Profile

  13. Very nice post! I like the way you express yourself…
    Eftychia recently posted … Guilt Free MuffinsMy Profile

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