I was born in England during WW2. As such, I do not remember the war although I have heard many stories about it from my parents and grandparents. Some of the events after the war still stick in my mind, like the fact my mother cried when she first arrived in Canada and saw a full butcher shop. In England, food choices were very limited and many foods were rationed until the early 1950’s. This made for some interesting wartime recipes.
The interesting thing is that even with food in short supply, people were healthier than before or after the war particularly the children. There was a conscious effort to feed the children well and they were given extra vitamins and lots of fresh vegetables. Vegetables gardens were started in all the vacant lots and people spent their days off picking rose hips and other wild foods that could be donated to food drives.
Because of the food shortages, many new recipes were developed that were very basic, but still had some flavor.
The following listing is for one adult (children receive half) per week. This is from the Ministry of Food. This list varied at times, but in general this is a good example.
- Bacon and ham (3-4 slices/rashers) 4 oz
- Other meats – to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb minced beef)
- Butter 2 oz
- Cheese 2 oz
- Margarine 4 oz
- Cooking fat 4 oz
- Milk 3 pints
- Plus 1 packet dried milk per month
- Sugar 8 oz
- Preserves every two months 1 lb
- Tea 2 oz
- Egg (shell egg) 1
- Plus 1 packet dried egg per month
- Sweets 12 oz per month
Other foods such as canned meat, fish, rice, canned fruit, condensed milk, breakfast cereals, biscuits and vegetables were available in limited quantities on a points system. An adult’s monthly allowance might provide a tin of salmon or fruit, and half a pound of dried fruit. Bread, flour, fish (if available), offal, game (including rabbit, venison, etc), sauces and pickles were not rationed, but were not always available.
Note many vegetables were available that were grown locally.
Here are a couple of wartime recipes, we intend to post more in the near future.
Vegetable Pie with Cheese and Oatmeal Crust
- 1½ lbs. Cooked mixed vegetables.
- ½ Pint stock or water
- 2 oz. Oatmeal
- 6 oz. Flour
- 1 oz. Fat
- 2 oz. Cheese Pastry
- Water to mix
Method, Place cooked vegetables in a pie-dish with a little vegetable water. Season, rub fat into the flour then add the grated cheese, oatmeal and salt. Mix to a stiff dough with water. Roll out the pastry then cover the pie and bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes.
LETTUCE, PARSLEY AND POTATO SOUP
- 1 medium onion
- 2 medium potatoes
- 2 cos ( not sure what this measurement is) lettuces
- 1 large bunch parsley
- 1½ pints vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsb vegetable oil or butter if available
Chop the onion, sweat in butter or oil until soft. Add the potato and cook gently for a further 3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chopped lettuce and parsley and continue simmering until all ingredients are completely cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
As you can see these wartime recipes are probably not going to become your favorite recipes. But they do give you some ideas of what you can do with very little. More to come in future posts.