Recipes from the 1960s

A hundred years ago when I was 4 glamour entered my life via a young hip relative from Ireland living near us in Manchester. She was a cellist with the Halle Orchestra and her mother was a cousin of my Dad's. I think my Dad was meant to keep a kindly eye on her over the years in this "fast" world of ungodliness known as England. She had safely married and had children so my dad was able to stop worrying. 

Danish Fruit Salad (as known to my family)

If anything, it was the hip relative who became the fab cool support for my mother. You see, there was an entire swathe of women in the 1950s and 60s who were terrified of cooking. Well, actually, they were terrified of running a kitchen. My hip relative had a mother back in Howth (nr Dublin) who ran an extensive kitchen so there was an understanding of "where food came from". My mother had not had that background and she struggled with regular meals and desperately wanted to be The Bestest Hostess Ever.

After more than one crisis the hip young relative was dispatched to my mother with the latest weapon in solving The Dinner Party Drama....the glossy magazine! Complete with photographs and step by step instructions the gap between those bewildered by stockpots and hand-cranked moules, could be deftly navigated on to Summer Supper for Four at least.

The recipe for Danish Fruit Salad from that magazine sat folded inside the manual for the mixer for many years....and that clipping was a frightening evocation of the Sixties in all its wood-grained and daisies glory. The mixer was needed for whipping the cream!

Danish Fruit Salad (best in summer)

You will need the following:

-a posh serving bowl...large.
-600ml (a pint) of fresh cream...not lite, not added to in any way, just old fashioned runny cream.
-Something to whip the cream with.
-lots (up to 2kg( just under 4 pounds) of fresh summer fruits. The core flavours are banana,            strawberry, apple and whatever else you can get.
-a 400gm (1 pound) block of good quality milk chocolate (35% cocoa at least).
-100gm (1/4 pound) halved walnuts.
- Grated chocolate for the topping (I use Flake bars and crumble them up).


Whip the cream to just under what most would call whipped.
Chop all the fruits into bite-sized chunks as you would a fruit salad. Leave the skins on (except for the banana of course). Work quickly as the apples will brown in the air.
Put all the fruit straight into the bowl with the whipped cream to keep the fruit covered.
Chop/break up the chocolate into bite-sized pieces. Put into bowl with the fruit.
Add the walnuts.
Turn the mixture through only a few times to distribute the ingredients. There should be a light covering of cream over the bite-sized items.
Turn the mixture in to your posh serving bowl. Clean the rim of the serving bowl with a paper towel.
Sprinkle the top with grated chocolate or crushed Flake bars (2 at least).
Put into the fridge covered and bring out when needed, This will need to be eaten with 24 hrs (sigh).

.....and yes, the dish does exist...I checked earlier.


Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns