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)

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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

 

 

Wartime Rations – Day Twelve

Life just suddenly seems to have got busy, so I’ve been relying on leftovers and familiar recipes today. Next week I really must get more focused and do a bit more experimenting with my rations.

appleBreakfast and lunch were the usual. Dinner was leftover sausages from last night, and for dessert I made a baked apple. So simple, yet really delicious and just the thing my sweet tooth was craving. (Under non-rationing circumstances it tastes even better with cream or ice cream on the side.)

It’s dead easy and very quick. Clean your apple and core it. Place it on a dish with just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Mix some raisins with a teaspoon of syrup/honey or sugar and stuff the apple.  Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes, and Bob’s your uncle!

On to The Calgary Herald (14 pages) for October 17th, 1944.

There was lots of war news: The Russians had begun their drive into East Prussia with Berlin admitting the Russians were now on ‘sacred soil’;The Japanese had lowered the age of conscription from 19 to 17 years-of-age, and Rommel’s death had been confirmed.

But I have to admit, it’s the news from the Home Front that I find the most fascinating. The war news you can find in the history books, but the news in the papers is pure gold. (At least to the history geek in me!)

The Women’s Minimum Wage in Canada was set at $15 per week for a 30+ hour work week. Currently it was $12.50 – $14 for 48+hours.

Apple juice would be available to civilians this coming winter. During the past few years it had been reserved for the military.

Canadian Wren Mildred Honey found herself having problems. Custom dictated she be called by her last name, which caused puns and a lot of laughter on the base.

Alberta seemed to have a lot of problems with escaping POWs. I mentioned one yesterday, but in today’s paper was the report that: German POW Joseph Haub, 30, who’d escaped from his work at the Madalia Potteries on September 13th, was captured by RCMP and Medicine Hat City Police at 1am this morning in a house occupied by two women. Although it was unclear how long he’d been in the house, the two women were not charged with harbouring him.

And then there was this angry letter to the editor from ‘A Veteran’.
Returning to this country after spending three-and-a-half years overseas with the army, I received my discharge. After reading and hearing so much about the shortage of manpower, I thought it would be a simple matter to get a job, but I certainly found out my mistake when I tried.
At most of the places I was sent to by the Selective Service I was told I was too old. Since when was a man of 40 too old to work? And where is the rehabilitation program we hear so much about, or is the government keeping it for its much-beloved Zombie Army? How is it the business people of Calgary expect men to go to war and fight for them but will not give them work when they return? It was the same thing after the last war. They seem to have no use for an ex-serviceman here.
I suppose they will expect us to invest in the Victory Loan that opens soon. Any country that can afford to keep a Zombie Army of 72,000 men hanging around doing nothing does not need any help at all. (Zombie Army?)

There was a prediction that ‘Within 90 days after the collapse of Germany, the market will be flooded with nylon stockings. They’ll be in colours and designs never before conceived. They will sell at a price range between 79c and $1.25c.’

And finally this great story! Five hundred miles from the nearest land, an exhausted homing pigeon recently alighted on the bridge of HMCS St Lambert in the Atlantic and stayed with the corvette for four weeks, thus becoming one of the most unusual mascots in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy.

 

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 Nine

dinnerBack on track today after the holiday weekend. Porridge for breakfast, homemade soup for lunch, then beef, fried cabbage and mashed potatoes with added fried leeks and bacon for dinner. Rounded off with a blackberry crumble it was a lovely meal to come home to after a long walk around Prince’s Island Park downtown with my daughter. The fall colours are just stunning and we watched a brave soul surfing the mini-rapids on the river created by last year’s flood.

On to the happenings in The Calgary Herald on October 14th, 1914. Being a Saturday, there were 25 pages!

The war was obviously going well for the Allies and you can sense a feeling of optimism. Here are various headlines from the front page alone.

Riga’s Fall Frees Reds for Smash at East Prussia.

Jap Army of 150,000 Believed Cut Off in the Philipines.

British Drive Nearer Reich.

Yanks Press Deeper Into Aachen Rubble.

British Capture Island of Corfu.

For the Germans, however, the future didn’t look quite so promising.

Field Marshall Goering, quoted on German radio, warned the German people they were fighting for their very existence.

Further down there was an article stating that the ‘Nazis No Longer Fight As A Well Trained Army’.

As for what was happening in Canada…

Penicillin was now available in Canada for ‘every civilian needing it’.

A single engine RCAF plane rescued 17 US Fliers, whose plane had been damage in a severe storm in the Hudson Bay, and flew them 4,500 miles to Churchill, Manitoba.

Pilots from all over the world were trained at the Commonwealth Air Training Bases in Manitoba and Alberta during the war.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to see the Canadian film For The Moment, starring Russell Crowe before he became a big star, you might want to check it out. 

Wartime Rations – Days Six, Seven and Eight

It’s been Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada. I haven’t been quite as regular as usual with my blog over the past few days, but now I’m one week in to the experiment I’m going to take a little time to reflect.

fishcakes

Fishcakes made with white fish, potatoes and leeks, covered with breadcrumbs and fried in a little butter.

What have I missed the most so far?  Cheese! Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, CHEESE!  Two ounces a week is a pretty pitiful amount. I love cheese sandwiches (with tomatoes, but they’re ‘out of season’) for lunch, so I had to resort to mixing a little grated cheese and apple together to eke out my ration this week. It  tasted surprisingly good – but I’m looking forward to going back to tomatoes in November! I also ended the week with tea, milk, butter and sugar left over. (I’m saving up my sugar to make toffee apples for Hallowe’en.)

breakfast

Bacon, scrambled egg and homemade hash browns of shredded potato and leek fried in leftover bacon fat.

I’ve also been saving my bacon fat to use for frying potatoes and cabbage – something I remember my mum doing when I was young. It makes anything you fry extra tasty. Also, instead of using a stock cube, you can use one rasher of bacon to add flavour to soups.

sausages

Sausages, baked potato, fried apple slices and white cabbage.

Treating myself to a proper cooked breakfast at the weekend – and puddings at most evening meals – means that I don’t feel deprived. But once again, I’m not fooling myself that this experiment in wartime eating is anything like the real thing. Anne made an observation that when she saw the first Americans in the UK in 1942/43, what struck her the most was that they all had a layer of fat under the skin of their faces that you didn’t see in British people who’d been living with 2-3 years of rationing.

As I said above, it’s been Thanksgiving Weekend here in Calgary, so as a Scottish-Canadian (or Canadian-Scot) I’m going to change tack a little and look at what was being reported in The Calgary Herald this week instead of its Glasgow counterpart.

First impressions? Like the healthy looking Americans my aunt commented on, this Calgary paper comes in at 20 pages compared to the Glasgow Heralds 6 or 8. While there are few photos or picture adverts in the Glasgow paper, the Calgary one is filled with them. There is even one page devoted to cartoons, crosswords and, yes, more adverts! No paper – or goods – shortage here! Very different to the European experience.

Also no blackout times on the front page, although there is a notice informing the readers that: the sun will be above the horizon tomorrow for 10 hours and 53 minutes. Rises at 7.55. Sets at 6.48. Temperature forecast for 3pm. 67F (19C).

The biggest difference is that the main war news is on the front page: Canadian and US gains in Holland; British have landed in Greece; Russian troops have reached Riga (Latvia); Hungary ready to quit the war.

A German POW escaped from Lethbridge POW camp, but was recaptured 50 miles away.

And then this little gem from the UK: Villagers Drive Stake Into Grave of Witch to Peg Impish Spirit. Apparently, during the construction of a military road in Scrapfaggot Green in Essex, a bulldozer pushed aside a boulder which had been used to mark the last resting place of a woman burned at the stake and buried two centuries earlier for being a witch. Thereafter ‘queer things’ started happening in the village; bells ringing, clocks going wrong, chickens and ducks disappearing, things being moved. The villagers took matters into their own hands, consulted an ‘expert’ for advice, measured the grave, drove a stake into it and then rolled the boulder back into place. That night, they ‘had the first quiet night’s sleep in many a day’.

Holland: Retribution is rapidly closing around the men and women in the areas of Holland already liberated who played the Germans’ game during the occupation. About 2,000 alleged quisling have already been arrested.

Buster, an eight-year-old Tiger cat, had been left $100,000 (reduced to $40,000 by court order) and three fans for his comfort by his late master.

Edmonton council considered application from a Japanese-Canadian girl to be allowed to reside in Edmonton while attending the University of Alberta. Her application was accepted, but notice given that other girls of Japanese origin may not reside in Edmonton unless natives of Alberta.

Bundles for Britain. An appeal was made to send clothing to the UK where it ‘is needed more than ever because people are being left homeless by the robot bombs.  (V1 rockets.)

Air Force Casualty Lists: These included those Killed on Active Service, Missing on Active Service, Previously Missing but now Officially Presumed Dead or taken POW. Also those Dangerously Injured on active service.

Antics on downtown streets of High School girls undergoing initiation into Calgary sororities was causing some concern. Attitudes differed between the schools – 3 girls were suspended from Central High School for wearing ‘outlandish costumes’ to class, whilst at Western Canada High School, girls were allowed to wear such clothing for the few days of initiation. (My daughter, who attended Western Canada High School not that long ago, says there are no longer sororities or fraternities at that school.)

British divorce boom worries Anglican Clergy. Pre-WW1, the average divorce rate was 500 per annum. In 1943 that rose to 2,250, and by the beginning of 1944, 3,396 cases were waiting to be heard.

Eighty-one cases of polio had been reported in Alberta in 1943 with the latest victim a 12 year-old girl.

A four bedroom house in Hillhurst in Calgary was on sale for $4,200. (Current prices for a four bedroom house in the same area range from $900,000 to $1.5million!)