Simon Rogers 

What did the Famous Five eat? A diet in data

Was it really just lashings of ginger beer? How one food writer turned all those hams, hard boiled eggs and jam tarts into a guide to a generation's eating habits
  
  

Enid Blyton's Famous Five books are 70 years old. And, as all 'Five aficionados know, a good part of all those hundreds of thousands of words are taken up with food: descriptions of food, plans about food, eating of food.

The diet of the Famous Five is the subject of a piece by Josh Sutton today on our food site. His obsession with their eating habits took him further than just a piece - he manually tracked mentions of foods in each Famous Five book since 1942, categorising their entire diet. Sutton is obsessed with eating outside and responsible for the Guyrope Gourmet.

The books reflect the rationing of postwar Britain, with the Five eating healthily. And as the books went on, the descriptions became ever more elaborate.

But it always comes back to a healthy diet, writes Sutton.

The five always eat a balanced diet. Despite an abundance of Humbugs, toffees and ginger pop, over all 21 volumes, when grouped into the five main food categories (fruit and vegetable; meat and fish; dairy; starchy foods; high fat/sugar foods), no one category appears to outweigh another. This seems to come naturally to the children rather than by dictat from an adult. Sweets are eaten sparingly and hunks of crusty bread are often accompanied by handfuls of radishes or fresh fruit

This is how that diet splits up by food type.

Josh has shared the data with us and you can download it below. What can you do with it?

Data summary

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