The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Spam fritters
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be, as the saying goes, but in a new cafe in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire they're giving it their best shot.  Called The Larder, the cafe is set firmly in the 1940s, with waitresses in hairnets and pinnies, limited menu heavily influenced by Spam, and lots of old items that bring back some powerful memories.

On each table there's a little notebook where customers can write their own memories of the period, or, if they aren't old enough to have lived through the times, to pass on tales from those who did. The owners then produce a regular newsletter featuring some of the best stories.
It's strong stuff (like the tea!) that reduced me to tears after reading some of the memories. And it brought back a few images from my own past, even though I'm too young to have been a war baby. My parents met during the 1940s when Dad was in the navy and Mum was in the WRNS. Their wedding outfits were both still subject to cloth rationing - Dad wore his de-mob suit and Mum's dress was made from a rescued piece of silk. My grandparents (Mum's side) were in the cloth trade and presumably had access to things that others might not have.

Back at The Larder, we dined on Spam fritters, beans and mash, washed down with a pot of builder's tea. Rather than a table number, our order was identified by a photo of the great James Stewart of Harvey and It's a Wonderful Life fame. I think I saw Ronald Colman on another table, and there was definitely a Judy Garland.

And above it all were wonderful, authentic lamp shades made from blown glass, exactly like my grandmother had in her hallway. 


  1. What a BRILLIANT idea. We have friends not far from there - I must ask them about this. ...whatever did we do before nostalgia?

  2. This sounds like a fabulous place that I would definitely enjoy visiting! I'm not a war baby but born in 1946 I am old enough to remember rationing and shortages very clearly. Actually I rather like spam - not on sandwiches but grilled and put on a slice of cheese on toast. My grandchildren all like it served like that as well:)

  3. Looks like a great place and I like the notebook idea for memories, I have an identity card issued when I was born in 1950, I guess I might have had a ration card too as it didn't finally end for some items until 1954. We visited a local exhibition recently and in their coffee area were given plastic animals (ours was a Zebra) instead of table numbers:)


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