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Do you remember what was your favourite meal when you were a child? What did you love to eat?

Well, I wasn’t a great eater I don’t think when I was a child but we used to have corned beef and cabbage, I think we used to have that on a Sunday and potatoes, you know, I used to like that.

And what kind of changes do you notice now about how people ate food or prepared food or got food when you were younger and now? Are there any big differences you see?

Oh there’s a big difference. You never had cakes or anything, maybe on a Sunday just there might be a bit of cake or a biscuit but you never had biscuits the whole week, you would never have biscuits, just bread and butter and jam.

What about the amount of times you’d have to go food shopping? You know the way now everyone just goes once a week and maybe goes to the shop once, you know, how many times would you have to go and get your food?

You didn’t get that much food. We used to buy… the butter, you’d only buy small amounts at a time, you wouldn’t go the way they…

You’d get about two ounces of butter wouldn’t you?


Two ounces and out like the clappers… and two ounces of tea.

So, no refrigerators or anything.

No, you see even here when we moved here…

Oh when we moved here, no fridge and that was a tiled floor there under that now and I used to put the butter on the floor in a pot down under the window there for to keep it from melting, you know, you’d put it down into a put… and the milk, you’d have to put all that near the window on the cold floor.

Did you have a keep at all out the back? You know the way you could put it in a box, the meat and…

No, we didn’t have that, no.

Some would do that, we used to put the vegetables… well at that time we used to grow potatoes and carrots out the back, that was all that type of thing and…

And scallions and lettuce and…

I used to do all that, I don’t know where I got the time!

When you were growing up did you have anywhere you could grow food either?

Well my father used to at one time he used to have cabbage and tomatoes, we used to grow tomatoes along the edge of the grass, you know, you take them in then and wrap them up in brown paper and put them in a drawer for to ripe.

Oh, okay. Did you use recipe books in your house to make food or did you just kind of know different meals, or your sister?

Well I used a recipe book just for baking, I used to make the fairy cakes and the apple tarts, now, before I got married now I always made apple tarts for Sunday, you know, and maybe a few fairy cakes too. I was the one that done that.

Yeah, I used to go for my tea there every Sunday from the time I… and Esther used to make lovely cakes too, didn’t she?

She used to make the fruit cakes. That was my sister, she left work to look after us.

That’s why I married May! There was all this food!

It was the baking!

I couldn’t go wrong!

So you would normally have made that kind of treats? You wouldn’t have bought that kind of stuff would you?


All homemade


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Food and Cooking

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"May Smullen discusses food, shopping and growing vegetables [add smaller file May Smullem 04]." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #329 (accessed March 20 2018, 7:41 pm)