Recap

Take a sharp turn into 1980s: Your guide to Episode 5

THURSDAY JULY 12 at 8/8:30 NT. Back in Time for Dinner's fifth episode dives into the 1980s, a wildly neon decade where many firsts take flight, including the birth of globalization, yuppies and enormous hair!
(Back in Time for Dinner / CBC)

Air date: Thursday July 12 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC | Watch online »

The Campus family enters the 1980s, a decade of big hair, wild fashion and workout wear. For the first time since the series began, the men are sent to the kitchen to bake a quiche. Tristan gets some free time outside of the house and takes in the food trend of the moment – the muffin.

The family gets a crash course in the decade's health craze from Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod of Body Break. Aaron and Tristan have a special date night, learning how to make a high-end '80s meal with food journalist and author, Lucy Waverman.

But perhaps the decade's highlight meal is one done in the appliance no '80s family could live without – the microwave.


What's happening in Canada? Bust, boom, AIDS and trade

Canada starts the decade in the grips of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Unemployment is at 12 per cent, while interest rates continue to skyrocket. But by mid-80s the economy roars back into gear. People begin to spend money on cars, homes, travel and dining out. Fitness club memberships — previously a niche interest — become commonplace. The avatar of mid-'80s consumerism is the Young Urban Professional, or Yuppie— late 20-and-early-30 somethings with high-powered careers who want it all, and want it now.

The start of the AIDS crisis has Canadians terrified and AIDS-sufferers stigmatised. Media coverage of this new disease focuses much of the blame on gay men for its spread, but other groups, including Haitians and IV drug users are also implicated.

After decades of protectionist policies, Canada signs the Free Trade Agreement with the United States in 1988. Opponents claim the FTA will be the end of Canada as we know it. Proponents claim it will supercharge our export sector.

What's happening in the family? New men and terrified kids

By the 1980s, the middle class dual-income family, which had been novel in the 1970s, becomes standard. The continued rise in women working outside of the home means that men have to start picking up the slack. The "New Man" feels comfortable making food and taking care of the kids. He had a sensitive, nurturing side and he isn't afraid to show it. (He was also more mythical than real. Women continued, and still continue, to do the vast majority of the housework.)

For kids, the freewheeling 1970s — where you could go roam the neighbourhood on your swing bike and not be home until the streetlights came on — were over. Kids in the 1980s were subject to "streetproofing" and constantly warned about "stranger danger." Teenagers were also bombarded with fear-filled messages, including reminders to "just say no" to drugs, and fearful warnings about the dangers of premarital sex.

What's happening in the kitchen? Fancy flavours and less fat

The 1980s are a decade of conspicuous consumption. Baby Boomers are in their peak earning years, and eager to show off their wealth. Some of that wealth creeps into the kitchen. International, gourmet foods are hot. The kitchen is a place to show off your style and sophistication. Lettuce was out, arugula was in, and previously exotic flavours like ginger and chili peppers were everywhere.

A new emphasis on fitness also impacted what Canadians were eating. Low calorie and low fat foods appeared on store shelves for the first time.

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