It’s hard work being a wartime housewife. ‘All’ I’ve done this morning is go to the supermarket (where I didn’t have to queue) to pick up my ‘rations’, come home, divide them out for the week, prepare some cauliflower soup for lunch, homemade beef casserole for this evening’s meal, wash up the mountain of dishes that prepping all these vegetables takes and it’s already 12.30pm. How did married women, who worked during the war, manage their time? Seriously, between working, shopping, cooking, cleaning up, looking after the kids and doing laundry, they must have been exhausted. My respect for them grows daily!
Once again, I shopped the perimeter of the store, picking up fresh produce, but I did dip down into the centre aisles to make one major decision. As well as rationed and unrationed foods, there were also foods only available on ‘points’ – each person got 16 points per month. What you could buy with these points varied depending on supplies. So what to spend my valuable 16 points on today? Having gone back and forth through the recipe books, I’ve found a lot of puddings that call for golden syrup, so that was my final decision. And doesn’t it look wonderful?
It’s snowing really heavily here, so for lunch I made myself a hot bowl of cauliflower soup from The Glasgow Cookery Book with a bacon sandwich on the side. I have to say, the bacon ration is the saving grace of this whole process. Wartime food can seem so bland, but just adding a rasher of bacon to the soup or sandwich is great on the taste buds! I did adjust the soup recipe a little – I didn’t have a bouquet garni, so I just used a bay leaf, and used one leek instead of the second onion – but it tasted great.
Another three course meal for dinner tonight. We started with cauliflower soup. (I’ve made rather a lot of it, so we’re going to be eating it for a couple of days!) That was followed by a beef casserole, cooked in the slow cooker, served with mashed potatoes and cabbage. It was the first cabbage, other than raw, that I’ve eaten voluntarily since I was a child. You know what? If you cook it in barely any water and add some butter – as instructed on the wartime video, 2 Cooks and a Cabbage, I posted a couple of days ago – it isn’t bad at all. And then pudding – yay! I made baked apples, as per The Glasgow Cookery Book, stuffing them with a mix of sultanas and the delicious golden syrup I bought this morning. Am I full? You bet!
I love going to the cinema, so I asked Anne some questions about going to the ‘pictures’ during the war. This week, I’ll be showcasing her answers.
Clark Gable was top box office, but then so were James Steward, Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman, Spencer Tracy et al. In Britain it was Leslie Howard who was the biggest name with films like ‘Pimpernel Smith’ and, indeed, ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ himself. Bing Crosby was the big singing star and had been for many years, but Frank Sinatra was knocking on the door by 1940 – the rest is history. Crosby teamed up with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour around 1940 with the first of their one-a-year ‘Road to…’ films which were tremendously popular. Maybe the biggest change was in musicals: as well as Astaire/Rogers there had been years of Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy films in Viennese-type or ‘Rose Marie’- type stories. Suddenly the US produced a few films set in Latin America -‘South American Way’ comes to mind; the main star was usually Don Ameche joined by someone like Alice Faye, and later Betty Grable the first pin-up girl, and moved on to the ‘poor glamour girl makes good on Broadway’ genre, until ‘Oklahoma’ changed everything again later on.