Letter: Are family diets going back to the 1920s?

Letter: The other day my wife and I went to a local Chinese takeaway. Before us were a mother and three young children. They ordered chips and gravy for the whole family. Not a great meal for a Saturday night.

chips food diet

Letter: The other day my wife and I went to a local Chinese takeaway. Before us were a mother and three young children. They ordered chips and gravy for the whole family. Not a great meal for a Saturday night.

We have countless food programmes showing what we could have and what is good for you.

Countless times we've been to a restaurant and cafe and seen food left on plates wasted.

There are people today receiving food handouts.

I know we are going through hard times, but no-one in our society should have a meal of gravy and chips. Or are we really going back to the 1920s and 30s.

John R Brown


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Comments for: "Letter: Are family diets going back to the 1920s?"


Correct, Mr Brown. They should have ordered whatever healthy meal you were having whether they wanted it or not. Or at least, they could have ordered mushy peas as well to get their greens.

And a spam fritter.

The Original Jake

They were probably bored with their usual diet of mung beans, tofu and organic, sustainably farmed plankton and fancied a blow-out.

Offa Ducksback

I assume that the Broons then tucked into their Monosodium Glutamate with Fried Rice in a smug glow of self righteous, contentment.

Perhaps the kids don't like Chinese food, perhaps it was the nearest takeaway that was open? Perhaps they were short of cash?


Or perhaps they had a delicious healthy meal waiting for them at home but just wanted chips to go with it and didn't want to stink out their kitchen cooking them.

Or perhaps they were time-travellers from the 1920/30's.

We'll probably never know.

We do know however that Mr Brown often eats in restaurants and cafes and had a takeaway the other day and has plenty of time to watch TV...which in this day and age has some serious bragging rights.

Rob, Telford

I note that Mr Brown refers to a local takeaway and gives his address as Shrewsbury.

How different this story would have been if it had happened in a Michelin starred takeaway in Ludlow - handcut, pan-fried pommes frites (made from organically-grown, rare breed potatoes) drizzled with a Bisto jus.

Makes you drool just thinking about it.....


Eating whatever they can afford to eat maybe?


Exactly. This is what these middle-class, Jamie Oliver-loving lifestyle fascists conveniently forget... to eat well, costs money. They have no understanding of the fact that other people may not have access to the same resources they do, that poor families might not always have the choice between good food and bad food, just the choice between eating and not eating.

I suggest that next time the letter writer observes such a heinous example of parental irresponsibility, he contents himself with his feelings of self-satisfaction, rather than waste his time sending snotty, unpleasant and small-minded letters to the Star.

The Original Jake

You say that to eat well costs money, but to eat poorly also costs money. With effort and planning, to eat well can cost as little as eating poorly, so people who consistently eat poorly do so out of choice, not necessity.

Tonight, I'm cooking up a huge pot of really tasty jambalaya, which would easily fill up a family of four, contains a healthy mix of protein, carbs, vitamins & minerals and very little fat, takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook and only uses one pot... all for the princely sum of around 75p per (generous) portion.

Don't get me wrong though, I like a greasy portion of chips as much as the next person and I don't expect the person behind me in the queue to judge me for it!


Which is fair enough if you were planning to spend 75p per portion... It's more than possible to feed yourself for a lot less than that, just not very well. There are plenty of families around who couldn't afford 75p per portion per meal and whose priority is to fill their kids' bellies, rather than ensure proper nutrition.


When was the last time you bought chips and gravy AC? It costs a lot more than 75p. And you've got to be kidding, who in the UK can't afford 75p for a home cooked meal, that's about a fiver a week?

The Original Jake

Guess what's for lunch today?

Leftover jambalaya!

Nom :-)

Rodney Nosnail

With curried jambalaya tomorrow and jambalaya sandwiches the day after.


Perhaps they were Canadian and were preparing the French-Canadian dish called 'pouteen', which is simply chips drenched with gravy (and usually has large amounts of grated cheese thrown on top). I can heartily recommend it, although perhaps not every night


Typical middle-class do-gooding, sneering, holier-than-thou snobbery. Chips and gravy might not be a decent, well-balanced meal but what business is it of yours? Who appointed you to act as nutritionist to this random family? Why were you even paying any attention to their order anyway? Again, what business is it of yours?

Jeanette Hadley

how sad that you judge this family for all you know they could have eaten a good well balanced diet all week and mum thought she would treat her kids to something a bit naughty....by the way probably healthier than your salt, fat and msg in a tin foil tray was.

Shrewsbury Lass

I'm not going to repeat the others and just agree. Don't be so up yourself, you were in the takeaway too! None of meals offered can be classed as a "good meal".

p.s. Nothing better than a bit of chips and gravy!!! Lovely.


Why don't you mind your own business what others eat? Too many nosey parkers in the world, live and let live.


I am glad they can afford it, last week I was working late and called in my local chippy for fish and chips, I had a few pence change out of a £5.00 note I admit that I had not bought fish and chips from a chippy for years. next time down to my local Wetherspoons where I can get a pint and something to eat for under a fiver.

The Original Jake

I'm getting the mid afternoon munchies and that picture of chips isn't helping.


I think, in fact, the author was commenting on the growing austerity within our society and expressing concern that we're likely to see more children eating poorly because their parents can't afford better.


The undisputed capital of chips and gravy is Blackpool. Just the job on a blustery day walking along the prom!

edwin turner

i would rather they eat chips n gravy than

a meal probably to be wasted it is hard work

getting children to eat even at home

the worst offenders for waste food is the

carveries with the stuff yer face offers

still---you pay for it whatever


so is the reference to the 20-30's about the economy of that timer not their diet of that time? - because the diet at that time was probably a lot healthier, if yo could actually get food to eat given your own economy and social standing. whatever, chips and gravy is yummy, and everything in moderation is health, obsessive eating of any kind (too much, too little, variety, etc) is not healthy


Odd letter perhaps they just felt like a unhealthy treat what's wrong with that? perhaps as has been said they had something cooking away at home to go with the chips? perhaps shock and horror it was a choice they made in a free democratic country , perhaps the writer should just simply mind his own business .


What is more enjoyable than Fish and Chips cooked in real Fat with lots of Salt and Vinegar eaten out of a newspaper.Mmmmmmm.I agree with AC I'm also fed up with people telling me what I should eat.


Or maybe they just like chips and gravy and was a treat for the kids.

John Howard

From the number of negative comments above, it would appear that Mr Brown has stirred up a hornet's nest that proves his point. Since so many people think chips and gravy is a healthy meal for a young family then we have gone back to the dark ages. It confirms the scene I often see in supermarkets where young mum is accompanied by kid in trolley chomping on a bread roll that's been pinched from the bread counter and certainly won't be paid for at the checkout.

The Original Jake

I think you'll find the negative comments were in response to Mr Brown's judgemental letter, which was penned on the basis of observing a group of people purchasing chips and gravy on one, single occasion.


admittedly I only scanned the comments quickly but I can't recall seeing a single one that indicates people think chips and gravy is a healthy meal, and what in the hell has that got to do with a young mum pushing a kid around eating a bread roll. You must be a troll, in which case I have just fed you - beware folks don't feed the troll!


What a strange comment. No one's saying Chips and gravy is a healthy meal, but it is tasty. And how do comments made about take away food relate to mothers shopping with their children. How insulting to say mothers with babies steal from supermarkets.

Rodney Nosnail

1920s and 30s diet?

When I were a lad growing up in the 20s, we'd consider ourselves lucky to have a taste of gravy more than once a year (Christmas, if Dad had managed to get some cheap boiling bones from the butcher on the way back from the employment exchange) and on the odd occasion that we did get chips they were boiled, not deep-fried like today (King's coronation day celebrations at the poor house sticks in my mind). The nearest we ever came to meat was a dripping sandwich. And the 15 shillings that the Original Jake mentions as a portion price would have bought a banquet for 20 at the London Savoy.

Chips and gravy? If I'd had the chance, I'd have swapped my handed-down underpants for a plate of chips and gravy.

Rob, Telford

"The nearest we ever came to meat was a dripping sandwich" - you sound like one of those posh gits who used to have proper meat dripping.

In our family you made a dripping sandwich by holding a piece of stale bread under the outside tap that we shared with 10 other families - and we were grateful for it I can tell you....


I was bought up in Dawley, so we had exactly the same, minus the bread.


wot next four yorkshiremen


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