Back in time for Dinner, BBC2 - TV review

Authentic meal plans came courtesy of the fascinating National Food Survey which suggested bread and dripping with every meal

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The Independent Culture

In BBC2's Back in Time for Dinner, the Robsham family - dad Brandon, mum Rochelle and their three children - are taking part in experiment which sees them shopping, cooking and munching their way through 50 years of British culinary history.

The genius touch is that it's not just the food on their plates which is time-travelling (each day of the experiment represents a new calendar year); the Robshaw's clothing and even the decor of their home also changes to suit the era, recreating the complete post-War dining experience. Up went the plaster walls because, as co-host Giles Coren noted, "there was no open-plan living in the Fifties".

In fact, with food rationing continuing for almost a decade into peacetime, there wasn't much of anything, plus no fridge to keep it in, and certainly no dishwasher to help clear up afterwards. This was a rude awakening for Rochelle, who was lumbered with all of the cooking and cleaning, while the Robshaw's usual family cook, Brandon, was banished to the fireside with a pipe and slippers.

Authentic meal plans came courtesy of the fascinating National Food Survey, which suggested bread and dripping with every meal ("just like salty, weird jelly spread on weird bread" according to 10-year-old Fred) and a sorry-looking egg-powder cake for 15-year-old Ros's birthday tea. That is, assuming Rochelle could work out how to use the old-fashioned tin-opener.

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