Wartime Rations – Days 27 and 28

My last entry for this month’s wartime rations. When I spent a month eating wartime rations earlier this year it was really easy; perhaps because it was in the middle of winter when everyone hibernates at home. This month, with anniversaries, birthdays, Thanksgiving… well, I’ve probably ‘eaten at the Savoy’ just as frequently as eating rations.

meatballsSo my last entry for this experiment was the final dish I made with the remains of my ground beef ration for this week; meatballs made with the same ingredients as the burgers (chopped onion, breadcrumbs, seasoning, bound with tomato sauce), baked in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes and then covered in gravy. On the side, home-made fries and my newest favourite, shredded cabbage fried in a little bacon fat. For dessert, we chopped up and shared the remaining toffee apple. Given that November 1st brought snow here in Calgary, reminding us that winter has finally arrived, it really was the perfect comfort food.

If you’re wondering why I’ve used archived copies of The Glasgow Herald as my go-to paper during the past month, it’s not just because I come from Glasgow, but my Uncle Alex, Anne’s big brother, used to be a journalist with the paper. An RAF pilot during the war, when he returned to Scotland he became the Voice of Scottish Golf, not just on the radio, but with The Glasgow Herald and then as the editor of Golf Monthly. When he died in 2000, both The Telegraph and The Glasgow Herald published obituaries.

anne2013Anne says: He started as a general reporter; he ‘covered’ the launching of the Queen Mary, I know, because he came home saying, ‘She did it!’ – but whether he was talking about Queen Mary successfully throwing the bottle of bubbly or the great ship successfully floating instead of sinking to the bottom, I don’t know, ships always being referred to as feminine. Then he started covering sport and eventually as you know became Scotland’s prime golf journalist.  He was sent to the first post-war American (Open Golf/Ryder Cup?) and his boss told him proudly that he would be flying there (flying being a great rarity at the time).  Alex of course was disgusted after his years and years as a bomber pilot DFC, so they let him travel one way on the QM.  I remember a photo of him with some famous golfer (Henry somebody I think) which appeared in the paper and of which there was a print at home.

Alec & Anne  crop

Anne with her big brother Alex (Percy) Huggins, early 1940s.

Another memory from Anne: After Alex had done many, many more than the stipulated number of bombing flights he was transferred to the Azores on anti-submarine patrol. Here there were bananas, and when he came home on leave (after VE Day), managed to bring us a few – Mother made sure their skins were put right on top of the rubbish bins so that when the lid was lifted the dustmen could wonder at them!

Having bombarded you with almost daily posts for the past month, I’m going to take a break for a few weeks and plan to return with my usual schedule on December 15th – although I may add the occasional post before then. Looking forward to catching up with you.

Wartime Rations – Day 26

burgerDinner tonight was real hot comfort food before going out into the cold Hallowe’en night trick-or-treating; homemade hamburger, roasted squash and mashed potatoes.  Burger: ground beef, breadcrumbs, chopped onion and seasoning to taste, bound with a little tomato ketchup.  For the squash; I chopped it into  bite sized pieces, sprinkled the pieces with a tiny bit of sugar and cinnamon, tossed them in some melted butter and roasted them uncovered in the oven at 190C for about 35 minutes.

For dessert, my husband and I chopped up one of the toffee apples I made yesterday into pieces and shared it. It tasted so delicious that we decided we’re going cut up the apple next time before dipping it into the syrup and leaving it to harden. Sounds decadent… but within our wartime ration allowances!

I’m heading out trick-or-treating with my granddaughter shortly (her first time!) so a very quick catch up with The Glasgow Herald for October 31st, 1944.  One article in particular caught my eye.

The Population Problem:  Scotland is definitely a younger country than England or Wales, but an examination of the Registrar General’s figures show that in both countries the population is ageing. Women of child bearing-age between 15-45 in 1937 formed 24.2% of the population but within the next generation they will drop to 18.5%.

At the end of the South African War, children formed 1/3 of the population, today they form 1/4. If the same story continues, in 70 years time the number of children in Scotland would be halved to 1/6th.

Population breakdown: Scotland 1944
Population 5 million
2 million live in 4 cities.
1 million live in 26 large towns
1/2 million live in 66 medium towns
1/2 million live in small towns
1 million live in rural areas.
2/5 of the population live within 20 miles of Glasgow

Given that it’s now exactly 70 years since that report looking into the future, I thought I would check out the current statistics. It makes for interesting reading.

In 2011, the population of Scotland was 5.2 million.

The population of the 5 major cities was as follows:
Glasgow:   592,820
Edinburgh: 486,120
Aberdeen:  217,120
Inverness: 56,660
Stirling:  89,850

If children are defined as aged 0-19 years of age, they made up 22.39% of the population in 2011.

If children defined as aged 0-14 years of age, they made up 16.14% of the population in 2011, almost the exact prediction from 1944.  Fascinating!

Wartime Rations – Day 25

toffee apliesI know it’s not Hallowe’en until tomorrow, but I thought I might get ready early and make some traditional toffee apples.  After all, apples are within my rationed fruit for this time of the year, and I have plenty of sugar left over. So even in the midst of war, there would be some cheer for the children. It turns out that the recipe is extremely easy (this would have made enough for 4 large apples); 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, half a teaspoon of vinegar.  Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then boil for about 20 minutes. When the mixture hardens when you drop a little into a bowl of cold water it’s done. Being very careful, dip the apples into the mixture and place on some greaseproof paper to set for about an hour.

But what of a traditional Hallowe’en (October 31st) or Guy Fawkes (November 5th) in wartime? An editorial in The Glasgow Herald of October 31st, 1945 (page 4) suggests that both customs disappeared during the war but had quickly resurfaced: One peacetime practise of Scottish youth has already established itself – guising. A colleague reports that on Monday night three urchins liberally bedaubed with soot, came to his door with the traditional chant of, “Please, sir, gie’s war Hallowe’en”. The black-out banished the ‘guisers’ – or galoshans -and it is pleasant to see that at least one old Scots custom has survived the war.

anne2013Here are some of Anne’s thoughts on Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes back in the 30s and 40s.

The full title was All Hallows Even(ing), the day before All Hallows’/All Saints’ Day in church, the night the dead were liable to come back to haunt you.  So Hallowe’en was the time for dressing up (to disguise yourself to avoid the ghosts)and fancy dress parties.   I’ve often wondered if guising, not guysing was the word originally used, but transformed itself into Guysing for Guy Fawkes’s 5th November.

At Hallowe’en parties there were usually a few sparklers, the sparking fireworks children loved to hold in their hands – though the sparks were hot if you didn’t hold the sparkler carefully.   Children did go knocking on people’s doors – any doors, not just their neighbours’, and the usual request was, ‘Please, missis, gie’s oor Hallowe’en’. (for 5th Nov, the plea was ‘Penny for the guy, please’, but this usually happened in the street, not at the front door, and was more common in England).

For the Hallowe’en children, Mother always had apples and handfuls of nuts or sweets to hand out: ‘Don’t give them money, their parents are often waiting round the corner to take the cash to the nearest pub’.  For these goodies the children were expected to perform in some way, maybe sing a song or recite a poem.  We were taken aback once by a girl of about 7 or 8, hand-in-hand with a much smaller brother, who said, ‘I’ll sing and he’ll harmonise’ – difficult to keep one’s face straight till they’d performed and left!

dookin 1

Dooking for apples

dookin2

Dooking for apples with a fork.

Yes we all dooked for apples, both at home and at school where we’d been told to bring two apples – in the genteel fashion of kneeling over the back of a chair and dropping a fork from your mouth in the hope that the prongs would stick in one of the apples floating in a bowl or bucket of water – there were many failures if the bucket had a wide top!  Less genteel was the practice of kneeling beside the bucket and grabbing an apple with your teeth.

scone

Scones with treacle.

I much preferred the other game when Mother dropped the ceiling pulleys halfway down, tied strings around them to ‘mouth height’ and tied on large triangular scones liberally doused with black treacle.  These we tried to bite a chunk off with our hands behind our backs – great fun;  the floor had to be washed afterwards, as did our hair, unless we did the dooking afterwards and washed out the treacle in the apple water.

The other treat was the Hallowe’en dumpling, which ranged from wealthy folks’ almost Christmas-rich puddings down to a plain one with a few sultanas, or even down to a potful of mashed potatoes – what was special were the tiny silver charms, wrapped in greaseproof paper, which had been mixed in before boiling or mashing – each ‘charm’ would tell your future: a little silver threepenny coin was the best, or there could be a baby, a horseshoe, a ring etc.  During the war it was usually mashed potatoes!

Wartime rations – Day 24

fishpieWar time meals, in this experiment at least, seem to involve eating a lot of leftovers. I had baked fish yesterday, so tonight made fish pie with the leftover fish and cheese sauce, topped with mashed potato and a little grated cheese, then cooked in the oven at around 180C for about 20 minutes. For lunch… I ‘broke down’  and used a whole fresh egg in an egg mayonnaise sandwich. Very extravagant – but completely delicious!

As I’m getting close to the end of a month of wartime rations, I thought I’d jump ahead a little in the newspapers and see what they were saying about the end of the war. But when DID the war end exactly? My understanding was that World War Two ended on May 7th (8th in the Commonwealth) with VE Day in Europe (Glasgow Herald May 8th 1945 Page 4) and then VJ Day on August 15th 1945 with the Japanese surrender.

But as with everything to do with the war, nothing is clear-cut. I clicked on this great link on Yahoo which offers the following:

The Japanese surrendered on August 15.45 THEIR time, which was August 14th in the US.

However the paperwork on surrender was not completed until September 2nd, Japanese time, September 1st US time. (Check out this edition of the Glasgow Herald from September 3rd, 1945 which gives all the details on page 3.)

But those were papers of surrender. Technically, according to the reply on Yahoo, wars don’t end until a treaty of some kind is signed.

Who knew?!

In that case, a peace treaty with Japan was signed on September 8th, 1951 but the US only ended their occupation of Japan on April 28th, 1952. I couldn’t find an entry from The Glasgow Herald for September 8th but did on the front page of The Calgary Herald. If you click on the link, it appears that 48 countries signed the treaty despite Russian objections.

In Europe, the French, British and US all ended their formal occupation of their areas in West Germany on May 5th, 1955, but had effectively done so on May 23rd, 1949. (Glasgow Herald, May 5th, 1955 Page 6.)

Interesting.  (And for all you high school history students out there wanting to impress your teachers, it’s those little nuggets that get you extra marks in exams!! ) :o)

Wartime Rations – Days 20, 21, 22.

bakeTalking with Anne last week, she said that my grandmother usually chose some kind of ground meat (eg mince) over a cut of meat to use as the basis for her meals; a cut of meat might be tough when cooked, but you could be fairly ‘safe’ with ground meat. So this week, I’ve decided to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps and bought one pound of minced beef for our joint meat ration this week. Tonight I made a cottage pie with sliced potatoes and a mustard sauce on top. It tasted good and was just the kind of comfort food suited to the chill in the weather that arrived yesterday. For veggies (and colour) I fried some white and red cabbage together.

Looking through The Glasgow Herald for October 27th, 1944 I found quite a few articles that interested me. The war news remained ‘encouraging’ with reports that Japanese losses included 2/3 of their battleships sunk or damaged, and 600,000 German Home Guards had recently been armed and were ready to leave to defend East Prussia and Western Germany. One commentator remarked, “In a few weeks winter will begin in Western Europe and the question arises whether the Germans can somehow prolong resistance to it.”

A resolution was passed regarding the creation of The Forth Road Bridge just outside Edinburgh. (It would be 20 years before it was completed and opened to the public.)

The new double ration of dried eggs meant that everyone now got the equivalent of 6 eggs per week.

A bottle of whisky cost around 25/9d.

A Scottish firm had plans to create a Global Air Service based out of Prestwick Airport(Used by the military during WW2 and still, I believe, used by them as well as by civilian traffic.) The proposal was very ambitious:
A night sleeper service to New York, for passengers, 1st class mail and freight. There would be one stop either at Goose Bay or Labarador (both in Newfoundland).
A day service to and from Canada and the US via Iceland, Greenland and Goose Bay.
Prestwick to Northern Europe with flights to Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Oslo and Stockholm.
A global route around the Northern Hemisphere via Moscow, Peking, Vladivostok, Alaska and Vancouver, with ‘loop lines’ serving Central Europe, The Middle East, Karachi, Calcutta and Hong Kong.
The initial planes would be converted military aircraft.
(A piece of trivia; Prestwick airport is officially the only piece of UK soil that Elvis Presley ever stood on!)

Over 1,300 Liberators and Flying Fortresses of the US Eighth Air Force, escorted by more than 600 Mustangs and Thunderbolts, yesterday hit targets in Germany including Munster and Hanover at 3.30pm.

Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice Mary Victoria, died yesterday, aged 87.

As someone who has done a lot of research on Army Nursing Sisters, this article caught my eye: RAF Nursing Sister: Largs Sister’s Work.
In the four months since D-Day, 34,000 seriously wounded British, Canadian, French and Polish soldiers, airmen and sailors were flown from airstrips in France and the Low Countries to a great RAF Hospital in Southern England.
For the few days that they remain in the Casualty Clearing Hospital – the only one in Britain – these men are in the hands of the most highly skilled nursing sisters in the British Services. They are members of Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service, the least publicly known of all the women’s services.
A typical member of the hospital staff is Sister Janet Hastie from Largs. She was working day and night in the RAF hospital in Cairo when the 8th Army retreated to Alamein. She wears the Africa Star and the clasp of the Western Desert Air Force.

Wartime Rations – Day 19

turkey burgerI found myself really craving salad today. Maybe it was something to do with the fact we’ve only got a few more days of sunshine forecast before the temperatures start to drop below freezing. I’ve been limiting myself to tried and true winter vegetables so far, but when I had another look at the vegetables in season, I noticed spinach. Yes! Something green and salad-y. But it’s still ‘wartime’ and I had about 2 ozs of turkey and mashed carrots left over from the weekend, so I really had to use them up.

The solution? Turkey ‘burger’ (1 medium mashed potato, small amount of chopped fried leek and chopped up cooked turkey meat all mixed together, shaped into a burger and then fried in a little butter) with carrots, spinach, blackberries and a little chopped apple on the side. It’s funny… just a few odds and ends yet it made a really nice lunch. In fact, it made two ‘burgers’ so I have leftovers for tomorrow. More importantly, I really enjoyed my salad!  Yay!

anne2013Rather than comment on what was in ‘today’s paper’  on October 24th, 1944, I thought I’d let you in on a conversation I had with Anne this morning.

It’s been interesting seeing the blackout times in the paper get longer and longer now that they were going into the winter months, so I asked Anne about it. Basic questions like, what was the blackout made of? What did it feel like once the blackout was up for the night?

The blackout was made of a black material that went inside the normal curtains next to the window. Once it was blackout hours, you couldn’t turn a light on in a room without ensuring the blackout curtains were closed, which often meant stumbling across the room in pitch darkness first. She can’t remember if coupons were needed to buy the material, but it was cheaper to buy than other fabrics. And she can remember some people making clothes out of it.

Outside, you could use a torch, but it had to be taped so only a small beam of light showed. The same with car lights.

Which got me wondering what it was like to be outside in the blackout when there was a fog. Even I can remember the filthy smogs we had in Glasgow back in the 60s, and having to go to school with a scarf over my face to protect my lungs. What must fog have been like during the blackout? Anne’s reply was that the fog didn’t just spoil your vision, but also your hearing. It was the absence of sound that she says she hated more than anything. You’d be standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus and have no sense of it until it loomed out of the fog less than ten yards from you.

She has a particular memory of being sent to the chemist’s shop to pick up a prescription for her parents. It was only a few steps away from their flat in Byres Road in Glasgow, but she especially hated going there when there was a fog outside. The 40s was still a time when chemists prepared their own pills and potions, so there were always vapours hanging in the air inside the shop which seemed to affect her particularly badly when she went back out into the fog, burning her throat. She’d run home to the kitchen and the fire where the family congregated. Not only did fire keep the fog away, but with fuel rationed, it was the only room they were able to keep warm.  “Everyone lived in the kitchen,’ she said.

We discussed a few other wartime nuggets  – little things that you can’t find in the history books –  but I’ll keep them until tomorrow.

 

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.

 

Wartime Rations – Day 17

It’s somehow very telling that when you look through various WW2 recipe books in search of meals to do with turkey or chicken that you find nothing. Nada. Unless you bred your own, was it possible to purchase chicken or turkey during the war?
turkey hashGiven that I had turkey left over from ‘Canadian Thanksgiving’, it meant I had to use my imagination to use up my leftover turkey tonight. I ended up adapting a recipe for Corned Beef Hash to Turkey. (Fry chopped onion, chopped cooked potato and cooked turkey, cover and cook for 15 minutes.) To my meal I added leftover mashed carrots and fresh red cabbage and carrot coleslaw.

October 22nd, 1944 was a Sunday, so no newspapers on that day. (At least, none I can access through the archive.) Instead, Anne has written a great article for this post. I asked her about what she found were the worst (and best) things she could remember about rationing. Obviously food rationing was an issue, but there was so much more to rationing and wartime deprivation, and she paints a fascinating portrait of everyday life on the home front.

anne2013I remember being hungry at times, though that was probably because I had just turned 11 when the war started – rationing started at the end of 1939 – and so was entering my teenage years, the hungry years and rationing went on till about 1954.  Hunger didn’t stop me from selling my sweet coupons apart from reserving a few for an occasional bar of chocolate; I preferred the cash, to buy a sausage roll or scotch pie.  I also contributed to black market goings-on by selling clothing coupons as well – but all my ‘dealings’ were within the family.  There was one occasion when the fighting had ended and a police sergeant friend of the family came visiting when Mother was ironing on the kitchen table and he laid a couple of things on the table, saying These are for you. I think it was a packet of tea and a bag of sugar – rationed stuff, anyway.  Mother was silent, and I could see the thoughts that were rushing through her head: What was this?  A policeman on the black market?  Was he testing her to see if she would accept?  If she did would he arrest her?
Seeing her hesitation and doubting eye, he explained that they had just arrested some big-dealing Black Marketeers and the food would officially be destroyed. (I think my memory is right; the incident left a strong impression.)
My top things would certainly be: the tastelessness of much of the food and the bread in particular – and the meagre scrape of butter didn’t help; the monotony of the meals because there was little importing of fruit, spices etc;  no ‘branding’, everything in the melting pot and ‘National’;  fish was scarce and there was little choice and it seemed we always had to queue for it, not knowing what would still be there when we got to the end – but if we were unlucky we might get fried something from the chippy;  queueing itself would be on my list, it became a part of everyone’s life – imagine rushing to join a queue to get a box of matches when word got round that ‘So&So’s had a supply. In my list I’d include power cuts which affected so much of everyday life: not just going off when you were cooking, but also electricity for ironing so we had to unearth a pair of old flat-irons and heat them on a gas ring – so ironing had to be done in a particular order, eg linens and cottons while the iron was newly heated down to wool when it had cooled off – there were a few disasters.  Public transport was hard pressed: trains could be cancelled at the last minute because of the movement of servicemen; fewer trams and buses and all of them packed to the gills and nearly all in the hands of women conductors since men had disappeared into the Services; often the driver would have to come round and help the poor woman with some drunk and disorderlies, or when would-be travellers were insisting on boarding in numbers way beyond the legal limit.  And of course the winter journeys on street and rails when the only light was a glimmer of blue, certainly not enough to read by.
But of course, we put up with it, and cheerfully.  There was a war on, wasn’t there, and to stay cheerful was part of doing ‘our bit’.  And I was young and able to take it in my stride.

 
On the good side were Mother’s ingenuity in somehow producing nice, if rather monotonous, meals and all her jam-making and fruit bottling in summer (though storage jars were a problem and treated like Ming vases).  Dad’s constant supply of veg: one thing I really loved were boiled turnip tops which had a lovely flavour similar to spinach but tastier.  Recently I mentioned to someone that I couldn’t think why they weren’t sold on veg counters and was told they were banned because they contained something vaguely narcotic – don’t know if that’s true or not.  And there was always the canteen at work to fill up on stodge.

 

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 – Days 13/14/15

In celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving a week late, I always knew this would be a hard weekend food/ration wise. And yes, I slipped – badly – even though Canadians already received way more in rations than the Brits. But, in getting back on track today, it got me thinking a lot about food.

turkey

On the left hand side of the picture you can see my (British) wartime ration of 8 ozs of turkey meat to carry me through the week. On the right, in the brown bowl, the turkey leftovers my dog will be eating over the next few days in 2014.  It makes me remember my parents’ (who lived through the war) frustration when I wouldn’t finish my meals as a child – Don’t you know there are people starving in other parts of the world? – and guilt at what I’m ‘wasting’ on an animal, even though she’s much beloved.

Hmmmm. I really don’t think that we, in the west, who have the wherewithal, sometimes remember just how fortunate we are.

* * *

Given that we had turkey left over from our Thanksgiving meal, I’ve decided to use that as the basis for my meat ration this week even though I’m not sure how common turkey meat would have been in Britain during the war.

My experiment for tonight was full of good ideas, but didn’t quite make it in the execution: baked potato with a turkey, cauliflower, raisin curried white sauce, with fried apples on the side.

curryIt tasted ‘okay’, but I think that either a ‘regular’ curry sauce or one made with mayonnaise and curry powder might have tasted better.

Canadian Thanksgiving in 1944 was celebrated on Monday, October 9th, 1944. The Calgary Herald was not issued that day, but here is the editorial from two days earlier.

Happy (belated!) Canadian Thanksgiving to you all.

Thanksgiving