In the last two weeks I've had lunch in two different little cafés , both charmingly decorated with vintage china and staffed by nice , apron-clad young women . And in both the clientele were mostly women of the Lean Ladies Who Lunch class . Delicious sandwich menus ... artisan breads , grilled chicken , smoked salmon , Rocket , frilly salad leaves and chargrilled vegetables abounded ... but not the tiniest smear of butter . Said Ladies Who Lunch obviously eschew visible fat .
How we've all changed ! This cheese shop is , in fact , almost next door to Els's cosy little cafè with the assorted 1950s chairs and pretty collectibles here in Leeuwarden .
Men were entering in droves , women hanging back somewhat . I , meanwhile tried to drum up enthusiasm for the low-fat Kwark dip , one of my companions bought a small pot of olives and the other one , who can't eat cheese at all , evinced an interest in the decor . When did we all become so feeble ? !
I remember my father's unvarying after-dinner routine of hacking huge chunks off a wheel of cheddar and handing them round to my mother , me and himself in turn till it was finished or we all turned green . Worries about cholesterol , like cellulite and love-handles , all lay in the future . Mind you , we cycled and walked miles most days so we all survived .
Anyway , by chance the other day , I rediscovered my 1940s copy of Food Without Fuss
written by Josephine Terry to help the middle-class housewife who suddenly found herself having to cope with rationing and no cook . The recipes make grim reading but are certainly , like most war-time recipes , almost fat-free .
Perhaps you'd like to try her Maryland Crusts ? So handy when you've a few leftover boiled Brussel sprouts : Arrange them on some slices of cold toast . Then make a cheese sauce with flour ,the sprout water and milk and " as much cheese as you can afford " . Boil up , stirring vigourously and season . Allow to get cold and pour over the prepared crusts . Garnish with a few "carrot gratings" . Personally I'd rather invite myself to dinner at the Hendrearys in Borrowers Afloat " .
"There were boiled chestnuts and a smoked minnow each for the men , " It sounds more filling !
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