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Eating Well in Wartime

Apr 23,2012
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The British government was worried about the country running out of food during the war, so it brought in food rationing in January, 1940. Small amounts of sugar, meat, butter, bacon, tea and cheese were available each week, but only if you had the correct number of coupons in your ration book (the photograph below shows a week's rations for one adult in 1943). Eggs, milk, fish and chicken weren't rationed, but were in short supply. Later a points system came in, which allowed people to choose tinned meat, fish and beans, cereals, dried fruit, biscuits, lollies and canned puddings, based on the number of points they had saved. There were special allowances made for pregnant women, small children, vegetarians and those who had particular dietary requirements (for example, Jews and Muslims could exchange their bacon rations for cheese).

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The Ministry of Food also provided information, in the form of recipe booklets, short films and a radio programme called The Kitchen Front to teach people how to cook creatively with such limited supplies. Recipes included 'mock goose' (made from potatoes, apples, cheese and vegetable stock), 'mock apricot tart' (potato pastry and carrots, with a few spoonfuls of plum jam) and 'mock cream' (margarine, milk powder and sugar). The most famous wartime recipe was for Woolton pie, named after the popular Minister of Food, Lord Woolton. 

 

I did attempt to make a few of these wartime recipes myself. Carrot cookies were a success, but I was stumped by Spam. However, in recent times, some people have resolved to eat nothing but wartime food, either to lose weight or to save money or as part of a 1940s re-enactment. The Imperial War Museum in London also had a very popular exhibition in 2010, which included a café that sold meals based on wartime recipes.

Tomorrow: The Blackout

 

 

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Apr 26,2012

Andrea, apparently Spam is also very popular in South Korea, which also had an American military presence. I'm with you on the off-putting texture - to me, it tasted like a salty sponge. But lots of people love it!

Glad it was useful, Platypus.

Apr 26,2012
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

Thanks so much for that information - I believe I'll order it from Gleebooks.

-Platypus

Apr 25,2012
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

I had a friend whose mom was from Thailand and they just loved SPAM.  We all tried it at sleepover and I remember the texture was off putting.  I also heard SPAM is really popular in Hawaii.  I wonder its popularity in Hawaii has to do with the military bases there.

Andrea Zu

Apr 24,2012

Araminta, I haven't tried it myself, but I'm guessing that mock goose tastes and looks nothing like goose! I've seen a few different recipes, including one made mostly of lentils - none of them looked very appealing to me.

Platypus, the Australian paperback of The FitzOsbornes at War came out on 2nd April (none of my Australian books are published in hardcover), and the North American hardcover comes out on 9th October (not sure when that paperback edition will come out, but it's usually at least ten months after the hardcover). I'm not sure why The Book Depository doesn't have the Australian edition of The FitzOsbornes at War, as they have copies of the first two Australian Montmaray books. It may just be that it's taking a while for the books to be sent from Australia to the UK, and then on to you? Some alternatives for online book buying can be found here: http://michellecooper-writer.com/blog/2012/03/how-to-buy-my-books-if-you-dont-live-in-australia-or-new-zealand/

 

Apr 24,2012
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

I really want to try "mock goose"--like, a lot.  Especially 'cause I've never had real goose and won't really have any point of comparison. :)

--araminta18

Apr 24,2012
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

Another fascinating WWII post! I can't believe how little Brits had to subside on.

I was wondering when the softcover The Fitzosbornes At War comes out, as I believe The Book Depository is waiting for it and skipping the hardcover entirely. How much longer will one have to wait?

-Platypus

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