Whilst much is made of vintage fashions, furniture and those little accessories one just couldn’t possibly do without, an overlooked area is vintage food. I came to this conclusion while in an aisle of the supermarket that I wasn’t supposed to be in, having made certain promises to the inner goddess, that by the summer the outer goddess would feel a little more goddess like. To be honest, I’m now writing this blog in an effort to justify walking down that aisle.
It was whilst down this aisle, that I came across Tunnock’s Teacakes and Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers and thought that this was just what a vintage store cupboard should be stocking. I get quite nostalgic for Tunnock’s products, having been raised by Scottish parents living in England in the 1980s. This was a time that certain products such as Iron Bru, Square Bread and of course Square Sausage, never seemed to be sold south of the border. As a consequence, the back of our car would scrape over the Scottish border returning from holidays, with a variety of products to keep us going until we next ventured North. On occasion, a relative would send a package down to us, the most memorable occasion was a great aunt who sent 6 packs of Tunnock’s Snowballs down one Christmas. Added to which my Mum, had managed to find 2 packs in the local shop. We didn’t eat snowballs for some time after.
So, why am I putting Tunnock’s in my vintage larder of fame? What I love about them is that their product and their wrapping has never really changed. The back of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer proudly announces that 6,000,000 of these biscuits are made and sold each week, just as it did when I was a child. Other brands have tried to modernise, but Tunnock’s have stayed with their traditional red and yellow packaging bringing me straight back to childhood.
Thomas Tunnock first opened a bakery and tearoom in 1890 in Uddingston, Scotland. Thomas married and raised his family, but his health began to fail and the bakery had to be closed. He passed away in 1920, two weeks before his son Archie returned from Iraq where he had been serving for three years with the Army. Having been demobbed, Archie set about reopening the family bakery and tearoom with the help of his mother. By 1924, business was going well and they were able to open a larger tearoom and bakery, which still runs today. Business continued to grow, and as the years passed, Archie decided he needed to create something with a longer shelf life than cake. In 1952, the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer was born. The snowball was to follow in 1954 and then my particular favourite, the Caramel Log was born in 1955, all the joy of the Caramel Wafer with a coating of roasted coconut on the outside. Finally in 1956, Archie’s son Boyd, came up the Teacake, Italian meringue on a biscuit base, covered in chocolate that’s bound to get the mouth-watering.
Archie continued to work up until his death in 1981, leaving a successful business to his sons that created a product that could be found in many kitchens all over Scotland. Five generations of the Tunnock’s family have now been involved in their production, an important mark towards entry into the vintage larder of fame.
As well as sampling my purchases from the supermarket in my research for this piece, I also visited their website www.tunnock.co.uk and have to say I loved their vintage feel. They now have a couple of products based on their nostalgic packaging and have to say I fell in love with their oven gloves and T Towels. My only trouble is that, although the Caramel Wafers are now common in England, their other products can still be harder to find.
For me, its vintage look, family business and history that gives it enough retro credit to enter my vintage larder of fame. However, I have to say, it was a good thing that I took the pictures first, as during the course of writing this blog, the teacakes seem to have started to disappear and may not make it into the larder!