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U.C.P. Memories

There are plenty of local food traditions that have stood the test of time. A few that are still enjoyed by many local folk today include black pudding and what about Lancashire hot pot? A warm, tasty bowl of hot pot is as popular these days as it always has been. But there are a few notable exceptions to this and although some food stuffs were common-place at the turn of the 20th century right up to the 1960s they are hardly seen today and probably would not sell well if they were. When we asked about the UCP in Bolton we got a great response from readers keen to talk about the food sold there and what it meant to them. Reader Arnold Harrison, who lives in Little Hulton has memories of the 1930s and 1940s when tripe, cow heels, ox tails and hearts were all eaten "not because of their popularity but because there was little choice," he says. "It was food and it filled up an empty stomach," he adds. He recalled the UCP in Bolton. "On a Saturday morning mother would take me to town for our shopping and the UCP would be the first call. "Honeycomb tripe and cow heels would be purchased and carefully placed into the shopping basket which I would carry. "On the dedicated day it would be trip and onions or tripe cooked in milk or even cold, raw tripe cut into cubes and doused in vinegar." He explains that his parents "loved it" but Arnold was not so enamoured with this "local delicacy" although he recalls "the dog enjoyed it because it was food". In those days, says Arnold, there was no other choice other than to go hungry until the next day. "My father was a large person with a physical, manual job and one tea time mother placed his tea onto the table and it was two rounds of bread and butter and two boiled eggs. My own was two round of bread and butter and the tops of his two eggs. Not many people in those days were on diets," he recalls. Arnold says he would run errands for the neighbours in the avenue where they lived "until I dropped" because his end reward was always a jam butty. "We would raid people's gardens for crab apples and if caught we had already paid the price by eating them," he laughs. Talking about food today Arnold comments: "Is it progress when domestic pets now turn up their noses at food presented to them. At one time they lived off scraps." The UCP in Bolton played a vital part during the war years, explains Arnold who says that it provided sustenance to the people of the town. "It was not the best food but it was food that carried us forward," he says.
• Source: www.theboltonnews.co.uk

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