Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘rationing’

“This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. … It is evil things that we will be fighting against—brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution—and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”

Neville Chamberlain – September 3rd, 1939

On September 3rd, 1939, it was announced, that Great Britain was at war with Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and life for the British was to change drastically. I am sure you are all aware of the tragedies of WWII, but I want to focus on the one part of life during wartime Britain that I have a keen interest in. Food.

During the First World War, Britain had a food crisis, in that two years into the war, we were left with only six weeks food and from therein, food had to be rationed. There was no strict plan in force, and unfortunately many measures taken towards rationing failed. During the Second World War, rationing was re-introduced just months after war was declared, in an effort to make sure that Britain had food. Infact, during the war, Britons were at their healthiest than ever, nobody ate too much fatty foods, too many carbohydrates, etc. Rationing provided everyone with a healthy, balanced diet.

Anyway, that’s enough fact regurgitating for now, I’ve got a few more blogs planned for this week, where I can share some more!

If I were to ask most people now, what they would expect ration based meals to be like, I would expect them to be suspicious of them, expecting them to be dull, and bland meals, however, I know this not to be true. Sure, life during the war was hard for everyone, but food brought people together, and when you’re limited in the kitchen, and as they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, and some great dishes were made during this time of austerity!

I’m going to share with you, a three course feast, all based on rations, and to start off with, a dish that people would have enjoyed, until 1942, when onions were rationed for two years, until 1944….

Onion Soup

Ingredients :

  • 6 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 30g butter (ration per week ranged from 227g to 57g), or margerine (ration per week ranged from 340g to 113g)
  • tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp sugar (ration per week ranged from 454g to 227g)
  • tbsp vinegar
  • 1 litre of beef “tea”, made from Oxo or Bovril, for authenticity
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bread (bread wasn’t rationed until after the war, but you would have been limited to “national loaf”)

Method :

  1. Place your pan on the stove, and bring to a high head, add the butter and oil.
  2. When very hot, add the thinly sliced onions and sugar, and stir for 5 minutes, until they start to take on colour.
  3. When the onions have taken on colour, reduce heat to a minimum, and leave to sweat for around 30 minutes.
  4. Return to a high heat, and then add the vinegar to the pan.
  5. Add the beef tea, and reduce to a simmer for an hour without a lid on.
  6. Adjust the seasoning with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with some bread to dunk in.

So there is your starter for your three course, wartime feast! It’s brilliant how so few ingredients, so simple, can make something both tasty, nutritious, and on a cold night during the war, warming, which would have been a welcome treat for any air raid wardens working throughout the night, in their trusty Thermos flask!

As I said, food was something that brought people together during WWII, but one other, was music. It was important to keep morale high, and the BBC, gave big band and jazz, dance music, better slots in their radio scheduling. Also, artists like George Formby (and no, I still won’t play any Fromby numbers on my ukulele!) were played. Upbeat, jaunty music kept morale high.

The reason I’m now talking about music, is that my good friend, Lorraine “Swingaroo”, is putting on a monthly event in Preston, the “Swingaroo Vintage Dancehall“, where music from the 1920’s, to the 1950’s will be played. There will be a good mix of music, from vocal harmony groups, to big bands, to rock’n’roll, and each night begins with a dance lesson, to teach you how to do The Lindy Hop, I’ll be the one flat on his face. I’m a terrible dancer.

So yeah, this is the reason for my rationing era themed week, I want to help get you “In The Mood” for the Swingaroo Vintage Dancehall, and remember… “We’ll eat again, don’t know where, don’t know when”

Read Full Post »