Further Back in Time for Dinner, episode 2

Further back in time episode 2

The previous episode seems to have been very well received, it was rather nice to see people all over the internet having so much admiration for Debbie.
She’s made quite an impression.

Skip the first 2 minutes if you don’t want to see previous bits and spoilers, 2 minutes of precious broadcast time wasted!

The participants get a few days off between recordings to relax, check up on emails and eat junk food, etc.
So they start their new decade fresh and excited.

This week the Robshaws are living through the 1910s.
A lot of changes and it is interesting and fun to see the changes, although they are a bit extreme.
Somehow it doesn’t feel or look very 1910s, the change is so radical.

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In the kitchen we see a range, a rather unusual looking cooker.
This time the presenters tell us right away that it is not an original because it would “blow us all up”.
I am glad that they are honest and upfront about this, I know that a lot of shows have to make compromises.
It is sometimes too difficult, too expensive or simply impossible to do everything 100% historically accurate.
And even when it is possible, those pesky Health & Safety laws ruin your plans.
So even though I cant help wondering if it was really impossible to use an original but refitted 1910s gas cooker and if they really are at risk of blowing everybody up  (I’ve been cooking on an antique range for over a decade and although it would probably give health & safety experts an heart attack, it has never blown up), the range the production team build is a pretty decent alternative.


Mind you, the huge majority of people in the 1910s would still be using coal furnaces and even though both presenters told me health & safety wouldn’t allow it, I think that budget and time were also a big issue.
Many other historical reality tv shows have used original coal fires and ranges to cook on.
Still, I wonder why they mention it this time and not last time.

The Robshaws look fine and dandy in their 1910s outfits, especially Mr. Robshaw looks rather spiffy.
Mrs. Robshaw’s hair is a bit rebellious.
Much to my and probably most viewers delight, Debbie Raw is returning to the household.


This time the butter is kept in the Ice Box.
I wonder if they are really using it, is there Ice in the top?


Several viewers felt sorry for Debbie because her job was so lonely.
All she did was cook in that kitchen and rarely got to see anyone.
This wouldn’t be the experience of most maids back then.
A girl like Debbie would have probably known the maids who worked next door and would now and then have a chance to chat, even if only over the garden fence.
But above all, she would have had to deal with the delivery men and boys.
Every day butcher, baker, grocery delivery boys would knock at the door and Debbie would have to let them in, make sure they brought all the right shopping, perhaps even show them where the kitchen was.
The ice delivery man for instance would have to bring the ice block to the ice box, the coal man would need access to the coal shed or basement, etc.
And this would have been a good excuse for a little chat, some harmless flirting perhaps and it was often the only chance these girls had to meet men.
Ladies were warned about this and were advised to have some strict rules regarding these moments.
Either way, Debbie would have been less lonely than we see in the show.


Debbie deals with the pigeon like a trooper.
I’ve plucked and prepared bird myself, it was not a pleasurable experience.
Seeing Mrs. Robshaw struggling with opening a can is quite amusing and a scene I can imagine happening in a real Edwardian household.


It is nice to see the candles burning here and there, but we’re not fooled, we know there are TV lights there.
Goodness those rooms look bright.


Time for suffrage!
Women unite!
I find the Sas rather peculiar though.
It appears to be fastened with velcro!
Which is rather strange because a sash is so easy to make and wear, why on earth put velcro on it?Did they rent it from a costume shop, is it again something to do with health & safety?
Why not make one yourself or have the ladies make one, they appear to have plenty of spare time.
And are those colours correct?
Those look like WSPU colours, would those be used for NUWSS sashes?
The Suffragettes were not all one single organisation after all.


How wonderful to see the great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurt, must be quite the honour for the Robshaws to get to meet her.

The vegetarian meal looks pretty good, better than the stuff I used to eat when I was a vegetarian myself, many many years ago.

The suffragette board game is awesome.
Must have it!

Still not sure about those taps…


Wonderful to learn more about the social progress that was happening back then, huge improvements for the common people.
So few of us realise how much we owe to those who fought for these changes back then, making the world a little fairer.

Oh dear, Mrs. Robshaw is going to cook.
This baking in a paper bag sounds interesting but… oh no, don’t try and light the gas stove with a candle!
Think of the dripping wax!
The cooking in a bag is a failure.
It looks like the production team did not give her the proper grease-proof paper or forgot to tell her to brush it over with warmed butter.
I guess the original Soyer-brand patent bags are no longer available, but I wonder if perhaps the bags used for this experiment simply were not the right stuff.
The bags should also be placed on a grid, not a shelve, and secured with paperclips.
The idea being that hot air would get caught inside and also move around the bag freely.
Either way, apart from a little burning paper, the food appears to taste good!


Nice to see Debbie at the cinema, I’ve been to a few historical film showings in my time and watching an old movie with live musical accompaniment is quite magical and if she had not just had a little break and spend a day or so back in 2015, it would have been almost 2 weeks since she had seen any moving pictures!


Well we managed to live through 1912 without one single mention of the Titanic.
Might have been nice to make the family read a newspaper article about it or something.

The bicycles look stunning.
What a wonderful afternoon out this must have been, picnic with the bikes.
I haven’t had a picnic in over a decade.

The modern family feels a little guilty about the maid, you see that in almost all these shows.
Which is only natural I guess because sharing a home someone like that becomes a member of the family.
Nevertheless, in the end it is a employer-employee relationship.
I find it rather puzzling, maybe I spend too much time in the past, but I just wouldn’t have that much of an issue with it.

Nice to see one of the daughters use a vintage camera.
I use those myself and probably would have given her a Box one, much easier.
I wonder if she made a real photo or if they just took a screen shot and made it a little sepia.
Either way, a wonderful idyllic afternoon as the dark clouds of 1914 approach.


The war begins.

For the first time we see Debbie in a shop, “panic buying”.
Has she gone shopping before or is this the first and only time, just to illustrate the hoarding that happened when war began?
Having her go out to a local shop would be yet another job in her busy schedule but it would also allow her to get out of the house and socialise.


The last hurrah dinner is quite a nice but also sad idea.
Young Patrick joins their meal and having the knowledge of what would have happened to a chap like him makes the scene quite poignant.
Also good to have a little reminder of all the refugees the war caused and how they were welcomed.
A lesson modern politicians seem to have forgotten.


The family puts up blackout curtains, which, for the first time, makes the house finally look a little less bright.
This is much more like what it would have looked like every day with just candles or gas light, in stead of bright TV lights.


Time for Debbie to be liberated!
I am sure the production team told her in advance, she should have known that this week she’d leave about halfway through, but it looks like they didn’t tell the Robshaws.
They do seem genuinely surprised and upset which makes the farewell much more interesting.

Time for Mrs. Robshaw to step up to the plate.
Oh dear, she’s almost as bad a cook as I am.

For the daughters there is also a chance to escape the house, setting up a free buffet for soldiers and sailors by a railway station.
What a wonderful way to meet dashing military chaps.
The production teams should have found our girls some handsome young men in uniform!

I know the hay box very well, I have one myself.
They were very common during WW2 in my country and used a lot.
It also seems to have made a comeback recently for ecological reasons as they save so much gas.
Mrs. Robshaw is right though, they have made it rather large.
Quite adorable to see that Mr. Robshaw is genuinely upset about her not being appreciative of all the work he put in.
The straw isn’t packed very tightly though.
The “modern” haybox I’ve got (1940s) has the hay tightly wrapped in fabric with a hole where the pan goes.
But still, it works.
The haybox is brilliant.

What a wonderful idea to give Debbie the women’s land army experience!
Not only is it lots of fun for her but it also reminds the viewer that women also played a big part in winning the war.
And it must have been wonderful for all the Edwardian maids.
Get out of the kitchens, even get out of the cities, have an adventure, make more money, have more time off and on top of all that you do your bit for victory!


Now the family has to deal with rationing, Mrs. Robshaw does the shopping.
We see the shop again and I wonder why we didn’t see the shop last week.
It is such a fun thing to see and would have made Debbie feel a little less lonely.

A celebrity visits, I’m not sure Mrs. Robshaw recognised cookery show presenter, which I find amusing.
He helps her make a barley flour bread.
I like the idea of fining people for wasting food.
The shortages were difficult but I would have liked a  little more perspective here.
The Robshaws are middle class and only experience the wartime diet for a few days.
It might have been nice to remind the viewers of the majority of people who had it a lot, lot worse.

Luckily the war is finally over.
Do we get a Victory party?
Of course we do!


Next week, the 1920s.


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