When it comes to cooking, TV shows like Masterchef certainly offer real food for thought.
For they highlight the fact that meals and menus (like fashions) come and go in a merry-go-round of fads and fancies.
Take black pudding, for example, a few years ago, chefs would have looked down their noses at the very mention of this traditional and well-loved food.
Now, they serve it with everything from scallops to chorizo sausage.
The same is true of another popular plate-filler, namely belly pork.
A cheap and cheerful (not to mention very tasty) cut of meat with ordinary folk, it certainly wouldn’t have appeared on the menu of most restaurants.
Yet look at it now, it’s everywhere, with “foodies” singing its praises as if it’s just been discovered.
So what about the meals you used to enjoy before the days of celebrity chefs and TV cooking shows?
I stopped some people in South Shields and asked for their thoughts.
Former councillor Arthur Meeks told me what he used to tuck into: “It was more or less home cooking, such as mince and dumplings and suet pudding. We had treacle pudding and substantial stuff like that.
“There was not as much junk food.
“Now I eat fast food because that’s the way the world is.
“I find that people don’t have the time to cook things like they used to.
“Working mothers also have to look after children, that’s how it is.
“My favourite meal is Sunday-type dinners, with Yorkshire puddings,” added the 79-year-old.
Vera Rogers says she and her husband, Dave (67), still eat much of what her mother used to cook.
Mrs Rogers, who is 66, and does a lot of her own cooking, says she is especially fond of mince and dumplings.
“I used to get mince and dumplings when I was a girl at Horsley Hill Junior School.
“The dumplings were always brown and very tasty.
“We do eat spaghetti and curry, but basically we eat the same as we used to years ago,” added the couple, who live in the Harton area of town.
Dumplings were also a favourite with Councillor Eileen Leask, only she preferred hers with leek and ham broth.
And although she used to enjoy homemade food – often with produce from her dad’s allotment – she now struggles to find the time to make such meals.
“I tend to make big batches of curry and chilli, but it’s hard to do something like that from scratch.”
Doreen Halliday, from the King George Road area of town, also has fond memories of mince and dumplings, as well as those sweet sticky puddings.
“We don’t eat many puddings any more, such as rice puddings, spotted Dick and Eve’s pudding.
“People’s tastes have changed, you tend to see more fruit and yoghurt being served after a meal,” added the 73-year-old.
What about you? What did you used to eat – that you don’t anymore?
Recipe for Eve’s Pudding
For the filling:
2 large cooking apples (about 500g/1lb2oz in total)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp caster sugar
For the topping:
100g/3½oz caster sugar
100g/3½oz self-raising flour
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp boiling water
1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350/Gas 4.
2.Peel, core and roughly chop the apples.
3.Add the apples to a saucepan with the lemon juice and water.
4.Stir, cover and cook briskly for five minutes until the apples are soft.
5.Add the butter and caster sugar and stir.
6.Transfer to a 900ml/1½ pint capacity ceramic gratin dish, about 5cm/2in deep.
7.Leave to cool while you prepare the topping.
8.For the topping, cream together the butter and caster sugar until fluffy and light.
9.Fold the flour and egg in alternate spoonfuls into the sugar mixture until blended, being careful to keep folding rather than stirring energetically - this will keep air in the mixture and fold in.
10.Add a spoonful of boiling water to the mix.
11.Spoon the mixture over the apples. Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the topping is puffy and golden. Serve with cream or custard.