Wartime Rations – Day Eighteen

Dinner tonight was two very simple courses.

mince slicesMain course:  Mince slices, from a recipe in We’ll Eat Again, using the last of the mince I cooked the other day. Mix together the mince (or any cooked meat) with mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs, turn onto a floured board, cut into slices and either fry or grill for about 8 minutes. Comfort food on a cold day.

Dessert: Fresh pear.

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What was it like being evacuated to a new school and then going back to your ‘old’ one?

anne2013For the first few months I went to the Kippen village school and sat the ‘Qualifying’ exam. It was fun, though the poor headmaster didn’t know what had hit him with all these new pupils that he could hardly accommodate. No wonder he appeared so distracted. Then he got another blow: pupils MUST have PE twice a week. He couldn’t accommodate that either and told us it would have to take place in the playground – weather permitting. As for gym shoes – “Dinna’ bother. Any old bachles will do.” I can still hear his voice.

As you already know, I almost hated Hillhead School and found Balfron with its many teachers from Hyndland much easier going, and I did well there. Back in Glasgow, it was back to Hillhead but this time the Secondary School which was just as bad as the Junior one. Then my parents gave me a choice: two more years at Hillhead or one year at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Commercial College in Pitt Street. Of course I opted for a year at the College – so here you see a woman with no school certificates whatever – not even the Lower Leaving one. (Partly because I’d had to repeat a year in junior school because illness had kept me away for nearly 4 or 5 months.) Still, I got by.


Wartime Rations – Day 4

Yesterday evening I pressed the ‘publish’ button by mistake when I was only halfway through my blog, so tonight I’ll be more careful not to make the same mistake.

Conscious that most of the vegetables I’ve eaten in the past few days have been cooked, I decided to follow my lunchtime leftover Brussels Sprouts soup with a big bowl of red cabbage, carrot and sultana coleslaw. It tasted just as delicious as it looks and, with no citrus fruits available in Wartime Britain in January, I felt very virtuous having boosted my Vitamin C intake!


For dinner, I tried out a couple of recipes from The 1940s Experiment. The first was Oatmeal Soup – only I forgot to add the milk at the end and used a leek instead of onion. My husband was more than a little suspicious of the idea of ‘oatmeal’ in soup, but I have to confess, this was the best soup ev-ah! Dead simple: pint of broth, one leek chopped, two carrots grated, three tablespoons of oatmeal, and a smidgen of butter for frying the leek before adding it to the stock.  It couldn’t have been more simple and I honestly think it’s the best soup I’ve ever made.



Main course – a real Scottish dinner of mince, tatties and turnip – doesn’t look very appetizing here, but tasted good. Real comfort food.  And I was a good wartime wife tonight because I didn’t peel the potatoes, only scrubbed them before boiling them. I wondered about mashing the skins in with the potatoes, but it didn’t make any difference to the taste.

And then… dessert.  I rarely ever make puddings, or a three course meal for that matter – maybe once a week if you’re really lucky – so ending our wartime meals with a sweet every night is a real treat. Tonight it was Bread Pudding, and the recipe again taken from The 1940s Experiment website.  Deee-lish! Given we’re eating so well, I did rather dread standing on the scales this morning, but if anything, I’ve lost a little weight over the past few days.  Great food, never hungry and losing weight?  Bring it on! The only downside is the amount of time it takes to prepare and cook the meals. (And clean up afterwards.)


Getting back to the war… I was surprised that the blackout started so early in the afternoon in Glasgow and finished so late next morning. I asked Anne how that affected her, especially going to school in the pitch dark. Was she allowed to use a flashlight to see the pavement? Did the classroom windows have to keep the blackout blinds down until 9.17am – or whatever time the blackout ended?

anne2013Memory is very hazy on this, but what there is tells me that hand torches were forbidden unless they gave only a tiny slit of light or else had the clear glass painted or covered in blue – like the lights in railway carriages and, I suppose in buses and trams, but I have no memory of them.  I don’t remember any difficulty with light when climbing up George St to get to Hillhead Junior School – I know Mother used to come down to ‘see me across Byres Road’ – blackout or no – after that I was on my own. Perhaps there was just enough light even though the official blackout hadn’t ended.  It was when I went to Kippen after the Clydebank Blitz that I discovered that my secondary school in Balfron was really Hyndland School shifted en bloc – pupils and teachers.  Their teaching suited me better, but I was unfortunately still sent back to Hillhead when I returned to Glasgow.