Leading article: Basket case

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The Independent Online

If you want a rough and ready snapshot of they way we live, you could do worse than to root around in the basket used by the statistics office to calculate inflation rates.

In the 1950s, one of the items used to monitor changes in prices was the mangle. It's comforting to know that no matter how desperate things get today, those labour saving devices are unlikely to make a come back.

In the 1970s dried mashed potato was added to the list, the "superfood" of its day. Throughout the carefree noughties we gorged on muffins and fruit smoothies. No wonder we were so irrationally exuberant.

And now? What items define modern living in credit crunch Britain? What will come to symbolise the new austerity?

Welcome to the days of rotisserie and rosé. At least such retro treats will help to disguise the bitter taste of that economic medicine we are going to be forced to swallow. Bon appetit.