In the seventies, most of our eggs had white shells but gradually brown shelled eggs appeared in the shops and people thought they were healthier. In 2021, during the pandemic, white eggs were back in the supermarkets and sold for half the price of brown ones. The reason? Specific breeds of hen lay white eggs and these breeds can be kept in very large flocks as the hens are not as aggressive as brown egg laying hens. The white shelled eggs are therefore cheaper to produce and used by the food and catering industry. The pandemic closed many of these companies so there was a surplus supply of white eggs which supermarkets are selling at reduced prices. There is no nutritional difference between white and brown eggs although my 1970s students insisted there was and always wanted my brown eggs.
Schools went metric in 1971 – that’s over 50 years ago! I threw out the scales measuring ounces and pounds and the jugs with pints and fluid ounces and changed all my recipes to grams and millilitres. Now fifty years ago the UK is still selling milk in pints and beer in half and full pints. Our recipe books are written in metric and imperial according to the Guild of Food Writers whose authors are publishing for 2021.
You can read about my struggle to teach in metric on this link
Students would bring in treasured recipe books with the old measures and tell me that the cake wouldn’t work unless it was measured in ounces! Please can someone decide that we should go completely metric and measure in cm and drive in km!
In the 1950s, Britain produced just 1 million chickens a year – today 2021 it is over a billion.
Intensive farming methods were imported from the US and in the late 1960s the price of chicken dropped by a third. During the late 1970s government campaigns advised people to eat less fatty, red meat and choose chicken as a leaner, healthier alternative. By the 1990s nearly a quarter of meat eaten in Britain was chicken or turkey.
In 1972, the year of my memoir, chicken was still too expensive to cook in school and none of the textbooks wrote about it or asked questions in the dreaded exams so I didn’t include it in my teaching. You can read about my chicken lesson here.
Today chicken is the most popular meat around the world – in 2021 there were 25 billion farmed chickens. Most poultry is intensively farmed but the price of chicken is now affordable and popular.