Wartime Rations – Day 18

I experimented with another recipe from Marguerite Patten‘s book, We’ll Eat Again today; Potato Cheese

potoate bakeAdjusting the ingredients for only one person, and substituting cabbage for parsley, I used 8 oz mashed potato, 1 1/2 oz grated cheese (almost my whole ration for the week!), 1/4 oz oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of chopped cabbage. (I fried the cabbage in a little bit of bacon fat first to add a little more flavour.)

Method: Mix the potatoes, half the cheese and cabbage together.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the mixture into a shallow dish, cover the mix with the remaining grated cheese and all the oatmeal. Put under grill to brown.  I added a side dish of red cabbage coleslaw for colour. Even reducing the portions/ingredients, I still found it too much to eat at one sitting, but it tasted really good and the oatmeal and melted cheese added both flavour and texture to what was, essentially, mashed potatoes!.

I am, however, a little concerned about my Vitamin C intake, especially with no citrus fruits available. In We’ll Meet Again, Marguerite Patten offers not just recipes, but also nutritional advice from the time. According to the wartime nutritionists, everyone needed at least 1,ooo units of Vitamin C every day.

(Here’s  a breakdown from the foods I’ve already prepared today.)
8 oz cooked potatoes:  480
1 oz cooked cabbage: 70
2 ozs raw cabbage: 200

I wasn’t able to find the Vitamin C values found in carrots defined in units, but all books agree it’s pretty high.

So if my maths is correct, even without carrots, I’ve had 750 units of Vitamin C out of the wartime recommended 1,000 and it’s only lunch time.  Not bad

On to news reports from The Glasgow Herald from October 23rd, 1944.  (If you click on the link I’ve supplied, you’ll find that they’ve combined both the papers from the 23rd and 24th in the one link.) Six pages again. Blackout time for Glasgow: 6.28pm until 7.36am.

I continue to find myself much more interested in The Home Front aspect of the news. Perhaps that’s because the actual war news is all positive.

British and Canadians Gain Ground. Breshens and Esschen Captured.
Patton’s New Push.
US Progress in the Philippines.
Another Hungarian Town Captured.
Eighth Army Forces (in Adriatic sector) Drives Germans Back in Swift Advance.

There’s definitely a sense that the end of the war is only a a matter of time.  Especially with the following headline:  Public Houses Open on Victory Day. If Victory Day should fall on a Thursday, the half-day holiday usually held on that day will de disregarded and the ordinary permitted hours will be observed. No Liquor will be sold for carrying out throughout the day.

Typhoid at Greenock. Three case of typhoid had been reported in Greenock in the past two months. In each case the patients had eaten shellfish gathered from the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Although it couldn’t be proven that this is where they had contacted the disease, ‘Shellfish should be regarded as unfit for food unless thoroughly boiled for full half-an-hour.’

Miners employed at Fortissat Colliery, Shotts, and at Ferniegair Colliery, Hamilton, decided at meetings yesterday to resume work today. Some 450 men were involved in the disruptions.

The SYHA (Scottish Youth Hostel Association) was actively looking to buy mansions or other buildings suitable for Youth Hostels, for either immediate or post-war use.

 

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Wartime Rations – Day 16

After my ‘lapse’ over the weekend, I’m trying to get back on track. One of the things I’m finding hard is not having toast with marmalade in the morning, but with only 2oz of jam/marmalade a week, I’m trying to save it for special occasions. So, in looking through Marguerite Patten’s cookery book ‘We’ll Eat Again I came across this recipe for Carrot Jam in the ‘Making Do’ section.

carrot jam

Wartime Carrot and Apple Jam

Method: Cook 8 oz peeled carrots in a little water until a smooth pulp. Cook 1lb sliced cooking apples (weight when peeled) in 1/4 pint water until a smooth pulp. Mix the carrot and apple pulps together. Measure this and to each 1 pint allow 1lb sugar. Tip back into the saucepan, stir until the sugar has dissolved, then boil until stiffened. This never becomes as firm as real fruit jam. (I used eating rather than cooking apples, so I would suggest you dial back on the sugar a little.)

After a week exploring what was going on in Canada 70 years ago, it’s back to Scotland and The Glasgow Herald for October 21st, 1944. Once again, it’s 6 pages of close type, minimal photos and blackout times.  (6.32pm until 7.32am.)

Two adverts on the front page caught my attention.

The Dog’s Bazaar. A bazaar was to be held in aid of The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection. There was to be a special stall in aid of the Scottish National Institute for Blinded Sailors and Soldiers. Admission was one shilling and those attending were asked to remember to bring their clothing coupons with them and that no loose coupons would be accepted.

Nowadays, people frequently complain that Christmas gets ‘earlier and earlier’ each year, but maybe it was always thus. On October 21st, 1944, Copland’s Stationery Department in Sauchiehall Street advertised  ‘a good selection of Christmas cards and calendars. As supplies somewhat limited, we would suggest the advisability of an early visit’. I wonder if Christmas advertising has always started early, or was this to make sure cards would arrive in time for Christmas for the troops stationed overseas. 

Keeping with the Christmas theme, I found this in the Letters to the Editor:  Sir. We have been told of extra rations to be distributed for Christmas. Can we conscientiously accept them when we think of the starving people in France and other European countries. We suggest that these extra luxuries should be sent to the children of France as a gesture of good will from the people of Britain.

In war news:
Allies enter Cesena. (Italy)
Landing operations in Philippines.
Red Army liberates Belgrade
Aachen fall to the Americans.
Canadians gain ground near Antwerp.

The Cost of Fighting: The average daily expenditure for the three months ending June 30 was a little over £13,250.000 per day.

Although we now know that Rommel was forced to commit suicide, the Allies believed the German reports that he had ‘died from wounds’ after his car was strafed near the village of Dozule east of Caen on the afternoon of July 17th. Wing Commander Baldwin, one of the pilots involved in the attack said, “We saw two despatch riders, one biggish armoured car, another motor transport, a staff car and a smaller armoured car. This indicated somebody of importance and I gave the usual order for the section to peel off one by one and strafe the vehicles. We skimmed along the road at tree top height and let the vehicles have about 300 cannon shells. One of the despatch riders got away as there was plenty of cover beneath the hedges and trees. The other was killed on the spot, and, as we cut off back home we saw the cars either smoking or in flames.”

Far East ‘Snaps’ Wanted: The Admiralty invited the public to submit any photographs they may possess of scenes or subjects taken in Far Eastern areas.

A ship’s steward on a merchant vessel was fined £50 or three months imprisonment when he was charged with smuggling 252 pairs of artificial silk stockings and 10 lbs of sugar.

Wanted: Repatriated officer wishes to replace lost silver cigarette case, gold cuff links and reliable wrist watch; price must be reasonable.

Wartime Rations – Day Eleven

When I was looking through Marguerite Patten‘s recipe book We’ll Eat Again yesterday for sandwich fillings, I noted a recipe for Potato Rarebit.

Rarebit

Potato Rarebit. Recipe from We’ll Eat Again by Marguerite Patten.

(Use mashed potatoes as a basis for a rarebit. Beat the potatoes until soft and smooth; add a little milk if too stiff. The potatoes should be like thick cream. Put in as much grated cheese as you can spare, with seasoning to taste. Spread on hot toast and brown under the grill.)

I had some mashed potatoes (with chopped bacon and leek) left over from a couple of days ago, so I thought I’d give it a try. Surprisingly, it was very good, and with some homemade coleslaw on the side, very filling.

steweed

Stewed Sausages with carrots and leek.

For dinner tonight, I had a favourite from when I was growing up – stewed sausages – accompanied by the rest of the leftover mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. It’s a really easy meal to make. Fry the sausages in a little fat, add leeks and carrots, add some stock (or cider if you’d prefer), cover and simmer until veggies are cooked.

Checking out what was making news in The Calgary Herald for October 16th, 1944, (15 pages today) I found the following:

Field Marshall Edwin Rommel (The Desert Fox) had ‘Died of Wounds’ the German newspapers reported. Hitler had ordered a state funeral for him.  (In fact, we now know the wounds he died of were from his forced suicide. Rommel had been injured on July 17th, 1944 when the RAF strafed his car. However it was his ‘defeatist’ attitude that angered Hitler and he was forced to commit suicide.)

Canadian Veterans were being offered post-war opportunities either in vocational training or educational opportunities. Fees would be paid, and $60 per month given to a single man/woman, or $80 per month to a man with a wife. Additional allowances were available if the couple had children. The programme was available for ‘period of service to a maximum of one year – but can be extended’. Disabled vets received special consideration, their right to training being ‘continuous’.

In New York on Saturday night, Frank Sinatra was hit by an egg as he sang ‘I Don’t Know Why‘ at the Paramount Theatre.

According to Gallup, with the US Presidential election only 3 weeks ago, Roosevelt had 51% of the poll while Dewey had 49% – with an error of 3-4%.

The Personal section was fascinating, operating as a kind of 40s Facebook, with notification of various members of the public returning home from holiday or weekends in Camrose, Banff and Brooks, and of members of the forces coming home on leave. For example: Miss Lucille Allen left this morning for Denver, Colorado, to visit her parents.

An advertisement for Safeway itemised the following foods which people living under rationing Britain could only dream out:
MacKintosh Red apples: 5lbs – 23c: 35lb bag – $1.59
Tomatoes: 19 c per lb
Grapes: 17c per lb
Grapefruit: 21c per 2lbs
Jam: 31c per 2 lb jar
Sirloin steak: 38c per lb
Chickens: 32c per lb

Max Telling, 40, a German POW, escaped from a German POW farm project near Namaka by stealing a truck which was recovered in Calgary. Telling, 5’6″ tall, fair, with wavy hair was wearing a blue/grey suit and blue shirt. He left a thank-you note in the truck thanking the owner for its use. (!!)

An eyewitness account of the gassing and cremation of 4,000 Jewish children in the German concentration camp at Birkenau was given today in a London dispatch. It quoted the letter of a Polish woman imprisoned in the camp for 7 months who was later transferred to a Warsaw prison from which the letter was smuggled out.

Wartime Rations – Day Ten

31LntU63M+L._AA160_It seems I’m doing a lot of ‘Eating At The Savoy’ this week, so dinner is taken care of tonight. That leaves lunch. With cheese being so heavily rationed for my lunchtime sandwich, I’ve turned to Marguerite Patten’s book We’ll Eat Again for some different ideas. What do you think of her suggestions?

1) Shredded cheese and chutney or cooked beetroot.
2) Cooked mashed potato, yeast extract and chopped parsley.
3) Chopped grilled bacon and lettuce.
4) Mashed sardines, pilchards, herring or haddock, mixed with shredded fresh carrot.
5) Minced crisply cooked bacon rinds and toasted oatmeal.
6) Fish paste and chopped parsley.
7) Brawn, shredded swede and chutney.
8) Vegetable or meat extract and mustard and cress.
9) Chopped cold meat and mashed cooked vegetables with seasoning.
10) American sausage meats and watercress.

I’m going to hedge my bets and have a cold sausage sandwich with my soup today.

October 15th, 1944 was a Sunday, so I can’t find any links to any newspapers for that day. Instead, I checked out this great site which has a lot of information on Rationing in Canada during World War Two. Here are some of the main points from the article.

Food was seen as a ‘weapon of war’ so, as in Britain, the Canadian government took control of:

1) Rationing.
2) Promotion of ‘Patriotic Food’.
3) The launch of an unprecedented national nutritional campaign.
4) Controls on the price, production and distribution of everyday foods.

Coupon rationing of sugar in Canada began in April 1942, followed by tea and coffee in August, butter in December, and meat in March 1943. Meat was limited to 2lbs per person per week. (Compare that to the half-pound of meat per person per week in the UK!)

Restaurants offered meatless Tuesday and Friday menus.

Petrol/gasoline was rationed in April 1942.

Alcohol was also rationed – but I couldn’t find a start date or amount for that.

Two hundred cookbooks were published during the war years, and Canadians ate more, and better, than they had for over a decade. (The Great Depression.) Members of the RCAF received approximately 3,900 calories per day.

What were the ‘Patriotic Foods’? Apples and lobster. Lobster! Canadians were encouraged to eat Lobster cocktail, Lobster a la King and Lobster sandwiches.

After the Fall of France in May 1940, Canadian food exports became an essential lifeline to Britain. By the end of the war, Canadian exports accounted for 57% wheat and flour consumption in the UK, 39% of their bacon, 15% eggs, 24% cheese and 11% of their evaporated milk.

Canadian housewives were encouraged to save fat and were reminded that one pound of fat supplied enough glycerine to fire 150 bullets from a Bren Gun. Two pounds supplied a burst of 20 cannon shells from a Spitfire or 10 anti-aircraft shells.

Another great movie set on the Homefront in Canada (Alberta) during World War Two is Bye Bye Blues. Based on the true life experiences of the director’s mother during the war (she found work as a pianist/singer with a dance band to pay the bills when her husband was taken as a POW by the Japanese) it’s extremely hard to find, but well worth it!

WW2 Month of Rations – Research

As with last time, I will be including the images of the wartime food I eat each day with a little history of the war.

What I personally enjoyed most about my previous ration challenge was hearing the stories my Aunt Anne, who was a child during the war, contributed to my blog, as well as her advice on what I was doing right… or wrong.  (No rice pudding!)  I’m thrilled she’s given me some more stories this time around.

anne2013

For research,  I’m using The Chronicle of the 20th Century, which describes the events of each day of the century.  There are all kinds of WW2 sites available online, but I recently found a link to Real Time’ WW2 Tweets.  It’s absolutely fabulous and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

history book

When it comes to the food, I’ll be mostly using three books of Marguerite Patten’s wartime recipes published by the Imperial War Museum –  We’ll Eat Again, The Victory Cookbook and Post-War Kitchen.

cookbook

There are also some great wartime ration websites out there, my favourite being The 1940s Experiment.  She has some great recipes and information, so please check it out!

And of course, there’s always Youtube.  Here’s an excerpt from an informative (and funny!) documentary series the BBC released a few years ago.

Wartime Rations – Day Three – Ooops!

I think I mentioned in my very first post that I was on a steep learning curve with learning how to use this blog.  It now appears I forgot to push the ‘Publish’ button yesterday.  Sorrreee.

I’m having a lot of fun with my week of wartime eating and would like to acknowledge a few sources – in addition to my Auntie Anne – which have provided me with a lot of information.

The first is Marguerite Patten’s book  ‘We’ll Eat Again‘ based on wartime recipes. Most of the meals I’m eating this week are taken from her book.

The second comes from The 1940s Experiment.  This is a fabulous website and contains not just recipes but videos and stories of life of the Home Front.

Also, check out Foyle’s War.  Not only is it a great drama, but it addresses the challenges of daily life on the Home Front, including issues like rationing, food shortages and the Black Market.

As for today’s meals – except for my usual breakfast of porridge – it’s been a very ‘red’ day.

Lunch –  Borscht , a slice of bread and some fresh strawberries.

Strawberries Borscht

Dinner- I haven’t eaten three courses in one meal for ages, but tonight I was hungry, so I had Borscht, Cottage pie  (left over from last night) and Broccoli, followed by Rhubarb Crumble. The crumble was excellent and it was wonderful to have something sweet.

Rhubarb crumble

Some thoughts on sweet wartime treats from Anne:

Sweets and chocolate had their own coupons, for which I was quite grateful because I had ‘grown out of’ them at a fairly early age and so was able to sell them (big Black market dealer, me) and buy myself a treat in a cakeshop.  Similarly with clothing coupons (which also covered cloth and household linen).  I couldn’t afford much in the way of new clothes except for what Mother made, so got a good price from wealthier friends.

Much more than sweets, I missed the Italian ice-cream shops with their tiled floors and little booths with marble-topped tables with iron legs – I’ll never taste ice-cream like that again.  They all closed down when their owners and families were interned.  I understand that the majority were released after a few months when ‘investigations’ were completed.  There was an interesting TV programme last year about internees: many/most? were taken, along with Austrians, to the Isle of Wight and housed in what had been boarding houses.  They had left a lot of their art behind.  Apparently they had only been there for days before ex-professors and teachers among them were holding classes in everything you could think of, and people were sketching, painting, learning maths, new languages, singing – you name it.