July 8, 2008

The Secret to Wartime Thrift

WHEN the threat of German U-boat attacks forced the introduction of rationing in the Second World War, British housewives were faced with some difficult challenges. Keen to help, the Ministry of Food at the time issued a leaflet entitled Eat for Victory, setting out advice on how to cope with food shortages.

With meats such as beef on the ration list and hard to come by, women were urged to try different options such as rabbit or even whale.

The arrival of spam in 1941 was aimed at providing a bit more variety and nutrition, although it got a mixed reception as people tried incorporating the luncheon meat into their diet.

Official advice included inventing new recipes, such as "poor man's goose" which was made with liver and potatoes cooked in a pie dish with water, sliced onion and sage.

More experimental and questionable combinations of foods included fish and cabbage spread sandwiches and dripping cake.

For a sweet treat which used up foods that were in danger of going off, the lady of the house was encouraged to try making "crumb fudge" by dribbling margarine and vanilla on to stale bread crusts.

The ministry also promoted its Dig for Victory campaign calling on families to grow their own vegetables in gardens or allotments.

As well as staples such as potatoes and carrots, people were informed of the nutritious benefit of adding the leafy tops of turnips, broad beans and beetroot to soups and stews.

With eggs also rationed, cooks had to cope with the delights of dried egg.

To keep it as fresh as possible they were told to store it in a cool, dry place. To transform it into a "fresh" egg, they should mix a level teaspoon of the powder with two tablespoons of water. Et voila.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

(c) 2008 Herald, The; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.