Fifteen Foods that make you Nostalgic

Nostalgia, that pleasant feeling of good times and memories flooding back is often brought on by sights, sounds and smells of childhood days. Nothing quite takes us back like the foods we used to eat or the meals that our parents and grandparents would enjoy. MyDish recently ran an online food nostalgia thread on Facebook that generated many happy memories of family recipes, a surprising number of apparently tasty school dinner meals and instances of our first baking experiences.  It sparked so much interest that they are taking it further so we can see which are the most popular nostalgic food of all times.  We have pulled together the top 15 Nostalgic foods – but what is that special dish that makes you think of times gone by? – tell us here (please!)


What became most apparent was the preponderance of foods that came up time and time again. All over countries like the UK and the USA people were united by their loves of the same starters, mains and desserts and treats.

Why not take a trip down memory lane and see which of these fifteen foods will make you yearn for them once more?

French Toast

French toast or eggy bread is a simple meal made from bread and eggs. Once known as pain perdu or ‘lost bread’ in 14th Century England when the process of toasting old bread meant it would not be discarded as stale. Take a look at some tasty eggy bread recipes.


Arctic Roll

Where would teatime for 1970s and 80s youngsters be without the tasty ice cream wrapped in jammy sponge. A low cost dessert that went out of fashion disappeared from our shelves re-launched in 2008 as a result of the economic downturn and the groundswell of public demand. In its 80s heyday more than 25 miles of arctic roll were made every month in the UK.


Apple Pie and Ice Cream

Popular on both sides of the Pond, apple pie and ice cream is a delicious pudding that can be served hot or cold, sweet or sour but always best when deep filled. When British colonists settled in America they took barrels of apple pips with them to start up new orchards. Check out some of these delicious recipes.


Bread and Dripping

Loaded with saturated fats and a heart attack waiting to happen is one way to look at this snack. Another way to look at it is that it’s joy in bread form.­ Certainly one of the easiest foods to prepare, toast and dripping is a cheap, popular dish that even has a Facebook fan page devoted to it.


Sunday Roast

Without a doubt one of the quintessential British dinners is the mouth-watering and appetising Sunday roast. Packed with an entire day’s calories and well over your 5-a-day quota, this substantial meal used to be the mainstay of every household’s weekend. It is such a part of the national identity that even the French nickname us ‘rosbifs’ (roast beefs) and the Royal bodyguard have been familiarly known as the Beefeaters since the 15th century.


Goblin Puddings

Meat in suet crust pastry with succulent gravy soaking through is many a grown-up child’s recollection of heaven. The pies are steamed, not baked, adding to the toothsome, moist texture. Last year saw the Goblin meat puddings maker, Simpson Foods of Manchester, celebrating their centenary.


Hot Dogs

Where would American’s idea of nostalgic foods be without the humble hot dog? Frankfurters have been mentioned in history since the 13th Century and popular in Vienna which is where the American English word ‘wiener’ derives. Sold at stands in cities countrywide and at sports stadia, the ’dog is a scrumptious snack that can be served with a multitude of condiments and other accompaniments to keep it exciting. Not convinced? Then why not try out some of these recipes for size?


Homemade Rice Pudding

Pudding rice, steamed for hours in delicious creamy milk until thick with a nice skin; memories of this favourite, nourishing pud is sure to bring a moist eye to even the toughest of men. Of course, no decent rice pudding recipe can be without a liberal seasoning of nutmeg. Worldwide there are around 50 versions of rice pudding each with their own names but practically identical ingredients and preparation. It’s also common in the literature of the Victorian and Edwardian period frequently showing up in the works of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.



Plenty of toad, a crispy skin and a soft, yet fluffy, Yorkshire pudding batter is the key to this gorgeous meal. Simple but devastatingly delicious when cooked well (usually by a parent for some reason). Historically, the batter was used as a first course for poor people who couldn’t afford meat. When meat used to be cooked on a spit, the batter mix would be placed under it and allowed to the meat juices to mingle in and if there wasn’t enough meat to go round, the Yorkshire pudding would form their main meal. There are a number of addable ingredients such as dried herbs to the batter but toad-in-the-hole is a bit like a bicycle: once invented, there’s very little you can do to improve it. Take a look at some alternative recipes and see if you agree.


Soft Boiled Egg and Soldiers

One for the young at heart; soft boiled egg and soldiers is a treat any time of day. Toast works well as an alternative recipe. The bread is sliced into rows of thin strips and, after boiling the egg for around three minutes, the yolk remains runny enough to dip the bread in. It is thought that the term ‘soldiers’ comes from the look of the bread pieces in their serried ranks.


Bubble and Squeak

As a youngster, this fried meal consisting of the previous day’s leftovers was a regular highlight of the week. With the rise of food prices, its popularity is returning. And why not? After all, the number of potential recipe variations is pretty much endless. For a generation who has yet to encounter this culinary delight, the name comes from the distinct pops and squeaks the food makes during cooking.


Candy Floss (Cotton Candy)

What food conjures up more memories of times gone by than the pink yummy/sickliness of pink candy floss? The smells, the sounds and the atmosphere of all the fun of the fair comes rushing back. Candy floss is actually spun sugar with a drop of food dye to give it the famous colour. The first machine was invented by William Morrison in 1897 and was then sold at the 1904 World Fair as ‘Fairy Fluff’. Interestingly, Morrison was a dentist by trade – make of that what you will.


Fish and Chips in Newspaper

Since health and hygiene reasons banned the use of beloved newspaper to caress and coddle our gorgeous fish suppers, we can only reminisce at how it used to be. Sterile polystyrene or card cartons just don’t cut it. While thought of as an archetypal British meal, the first instance of fish and chips is actually recorded in Portugal. In England one of the earliest references can be found in Dicken’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ published in 1859: ‘Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil’.


Full English Fried Breakfast

It’s big. It’s beautiful and what’s more, it’s British. In years gone by when breakfast being ‘the most important meal of the day’ was more than just words, it was vital. High calorie content ensured that your working man of the fields, the mines or the any of the physical vocations could get through the day. Just the smell and sound of the sizzling is enough to set my taste buds alight.


And finally…

Some foods are eaten in childhood but left forgotten into adulthood. Other foods become a staple snack throughout life. And the food that constantly tops the taste polls and has to be top in this article? Why, of course – it’s bacon – in the one-and-only bacon butty to be precise!

Bacon Sandwich

Take a bite out of one of these delectable variations of the bacon butty. Americans know them better as the BLT where lettuce and tomato are added to the sandwich. In the UK, popular culture regards the bacon butty as being an excellent hangover cure.


And if you have any foods that remind you of childhood you can enter our competition here to win £100 Marks & Spencer voucher

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