Some controversy surrounded this charming BBC 2 documentary series about how one British family were taken on a time travelling adventure to discover how the way we eat and live has changed since the 1950’s. The controversy, mainly on Twitter, surrounded how hard it was for the lady of the house to use a manual tin opener, obviously a first time experience for her and her family – frankly I thought it was hilarious and I believe that anyone taken back 60 years and given the basic tools they had to use then would have found it a challenge.
The series tasked the family to recreate the foods eaten in the various decades from the 1950’s until the 1990’s, featuring on a particular decade in each episode. The food they had to prepare was based on the National Food Survey of each decade from the austerity of rationing that extended into the 1950’s, ending in 1954. So they had a taste of what it was like to consider the supply, or lack of supply of many basic foods and to experience some of the least appetising selections available then ranging from dried eggs, bread and dripping and even feeding your children left over cold liver! They had to deal with some of the most unpalatable food and the equally austere surroundings of a 1950’s kitchen.
Every decade they explored was in an authentic kitchen of its time, something they had to live with for at least the week of filming each episode of each decade. I was just as intrigued to see the various kitchens and to be reminded of the very basic facilities that most people had in their 1950’s kitchens and the comparison with the modern kitchens that we design and install at Beau-Port – is a world away from the basic 1950’s kitchen design – in fact they did not have any design expertise at the time, more a case of just fitting things in where they were most practical.
I feel blessed to have a modern kitchen and to see how Beau-Port’s kitchen designers Mark and Jacob Johnson can incorporate so many great features into their designs including media centres, study areas, hidden utility facilities, ‘floating’ units, beaded lighting, stain resistant work surfaces, glass splash backs that sparkle, soft close doors, induction hobs, state of the art ranges, Total Control AGA’s that can be switched on and off. My grandmother, who used an old-fashioned baking oven in the hearth of the open fireplace to bake her bread, would have loved a kitchen designed by Mark.
The family in the TV series have so far explored the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and it has been a fascinating journey, not only of the changing way we cook and eat, but also how we live. Each reinvented kitchen for each era has been a trip down memory lane and a reminder of how our kitchens have evolved. The last episode explores the 1990’s and will show how far we have come in terms of the way we eat and live since the 1950’s. Definitely worth watching!