It’s true to say that some of our best loved recipes have been handed down through the generations, along with tips on how to make life in the kitchen that little bit easier. We may tweak these a little here and there to fit in with our modern ways, but more often than not, the old ways are the best!

The challenges and successes of cooking for the family in the 1950s are celebrated in the recent cookbook ‘Pass It On: Cooking Tips From The 1950s’ from DC Thompson. It is an interesting look at how women of the day created inventive dishes during the tough rationing period, as well as keeping their families satisfied with a delicious home cooked meal at the end of a long day.

Here are just a couple of our favourite recipes that can easily be recreated!


Beef Stew Recipe

  • 1 lb stewing steak
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 turnip
  • 4 good sized potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little hot water
For a nourishing dinner that even children will eat, cut the steak into pieces and brown in a pan with a little melted dripping (healthier alternatives are margarine or oil). Cut the onion, carrots and turnip into slices. Arrange this veg on top of the meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the sliced potatoes until the pan is full. Add a little hot water and simmer slowly for two hours.

A hearty stew needs a full bodied drink to accompany it. Try our Innis & Gunn Blood Red Sky Beer, which has been matured over oak and infused with selected rums.


Plum Pudding Recipe

  • ¼ lb breadcrumbs
  • ¼ lb orange peel
  • ½ lb flour
  • ½ lb shredded suet
  • ½ lb brown sugar
  • ½ lb currants
  • ½ lb blue raisins
  • 1 chopped apple
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ pint milk
Mix all of the dry ingredients together, grate the yellow part of the lemon rind and squeeze in the juice. Beat the eggs well and add to the other ingredients along with the milk. The mixture should drop in lumps from the spoon. Move the mixture into a well-greased bowl and dust with sugar. Steam for three hours after which the pudding should keep for several weeks.

Try adding a few splashes of port to your plum pudding mixture for some extra warmth. Our Dows Fine Ruby Port will also add an amazing aroma; simply leave the mixture to soak for 24 hours before steaming.


Women of the 1950s had some creative and sometimes strange ideas for making the most of their rationed ingredients. Here are a few tips from real life housewives that we could potentially use ourselves in the modern day.

‘Cheese is apt to get hard when kept for a few days. To prevent this, place a slice of lemon alongside it in the dish. It will keep it moist for longer.’

‘Vegetables that grow in the light should cook in the light, with the lid off. Root vegetables that grow in the dark should cook in the dark, with the lid on.’

‘When buying meat see that it has red lean and nice white fat. Don’t purchase if the lean has a purplish or pale pink tinge or if the fat is yellow.’

‘If you have salty bacon, lay it on a dinner plate and pour boiling water from the kettle over it. Drain before frying.’


A further selection of these recipes can be found at or if you would like to read the full collection, along with more kitchen hacks and classic ads from the 1950s, the book ‘Pass It On: Cooking Tips From The 1950s’ is available to purchase now.



Post By Kimberley Roderick

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