Mum’s Economy Meal Of The Week, 10 January 1978

I was dealt another food-induced involuntary memory at the time of writing. It comes hot on the heels of my bizarre “caviar on toast for breakfast” childhood memory, recovered on new year’s eve.

Strange Case Of Dr Green And Mr Knipe…And Beluga Caviar And Scotch Whisky And A Bust Of Hitler, c22 December 1981

Anyway, the lunchtime special of the day (10 January 2018) in my client’s staff canteen was baked mackerel with onions. Very tasty it was too.

I remembered, so clearly, that my mother’s baked mackerel with onions was one of my favourite dishes.

Awaiting onions

I also remembered that it was one of mum’s “economy meals”. Times were hard in the mid to late 1970s. Mum shopped very carefully to help make ends meet. In addition, she had a routine which was to include one meal per week described as the “economy meal”.

Sometimes it would be a fish economy meal on a Tuesday. Sometimes it would be a meat economy meal on a Wednesday. Monday was leftovers from weekend roast day. Thursday was always fish day. Friday night was friday night. That’s how it worked.

Mum was almost apologetic about the economy meal, but the strange thing is, I used to look forward to them, because the economy meal was often, e.g. the baked mackerel dish, a real favourite of mine.

Here’s a recipe for baked mackerel – this is a modern recipe from the Guardian, so it is a bit “sexed-up” compared with mum’s, but looks good.

Thoughts of other “economy meal of the week” dishes started to flood into my head:

When I got home from my meetings, I wondered whether I might have eaten that very baked mackerel dish exactly forty years ago to the day and looked at my old diary. Turns out that 10 January 1978 was a Tuesday, so I might very well have done.

I also realised that Tuesday 10 January would almost certainly have been a “caviar on toast for breakfast…economy meal for dinner” day. Bizarre, but that’s how it was.

What I also learned about that evening, after the second day of the school term, was the following:

gave talk at BBYO with Graham [Majin] on the cartoon. Went down well.

Ah yes, the cartoon. I really need to try to patch that thing together digitally. Graham’s attempt, a few years ago, to get the BBC properly to copy the 8mm film itself shredded the celluloid. Another Ogblog project to add to the list. Watch this space.

Anyway, all that foodie memory came flooding back simply as a result of tasting baked mackerel again in a style so similar to my mum’s…

Proust can keep his madeleines – pah!

One thought on “Mum’s Economy Meal Of The Week, 10 January 1978”

  1. LOVE baked mackerel and my grandmother’s Russian meatloaf was my favourite! Really didn’t like my mum’s stuffed lamb’s heart though…
    Bless our mums; they did work hard on the family meals on a budget – and no supermarkets then either. Lx

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