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!

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Wartime Rations – Day 23

It’s been a busy day today so I’m just getting this blog post in under the wire. My daughter and her husband flew out tonight to spend the next three months in South East Asia. (If you’d like to read her travel blog, please click on girltrieslife.) They will arrive in Bangkok in just over 24 hours. Back in 1944, it would have taken weeks to get there by ship – several days, I would imagine, by plane. The world has certainly changed in the past 70 years.

fish and saladGetting back to my wartime rations; for lunch today I had white fish baked in a cheese sauce with a spinach salad on the side. For dinner at the airport tonight… not quite wartime rations.

 As for what was making news in The Glasgow Herald on October 28th, 1944:

On the front page, under the Birth/Marriage/Death announcements was one for Prisoner of War.  Girvan.  Official information has been received that Private William Girvan, Cameron Highlanders, reported missing in August 1944, is now a Prisoner of War in Stalag V11, Germany; thanking all friends and neighbours for inquiries and information of broadcasts.  Mrs W Girvan, 103 Cartside St, Glasgow.

Jordanhill Church, Woodend Drive, Glasgow. Collection for both Sunday services for Christmas Gifts for Our Members in the Forces.

Two hundred thousand cases of Spanish oranges, weighing 10,000 tons coming to the UK from Spain. A Ministry of Food spokesman stated… “There will be some for the public, but details of the division between manufacturers and the general public have not yet been worked out.”

Sinking Standards in Schools: “It seems to be a general opinion among secondary teachers that the standard of elementary proficiency in reading, writing and speaking is steadily sinking among the pupils of 12 or so who enter secondary school.”

As a writer, I’m really taken with human stories and the Undefended Divorces listed in the paper is fascinating. Several were given to soldiers currently POWs in Germany. One was given to a woman whose husband, current address unknown,  had deserted her. One was given to a woman in the W.R.N.S and another to a woman based on her husband’s cruelty. But I’m particularly fascinated by those given to the men in POW camps. What was the legal mechanism that permitted that? Who initiated those divorces; the husbands or their wives?

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 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 – Day Five

fishandchipsI seem to be eating out a little more frequently than I had planned when I started this programme. It’s the long weekend here in Canada, so we went out to lunch at Earls. Trying to stay within my rations I had halibut and chips, but the helping was so large that I think it’ll just be soup for me for dinner tonight!

The Glasgow Herald

Once more, only 6 pages. I wonder why? It’s getting closer to the end of the war, but is this when material was in real short supply?

Page One: Blackout times: 7pm – 7.09am

What I’m finding interesting about the front page of the paper is that this isn’t where to find the top news. This page is about announcements and adverts. For example:

Silver Weddings: At the Bath Hotel, Bath Street, Glasgow on 10th October, 1919, but Rev. D Galbraith, assisted by Dr Chisholm M.A., Donald M. Wilson to Agnes C. Sloan. Present address: Morangie, 19 Larch Road, Dumbreck, Glasgow.

Crystal Palace on St George’s Road, Charles Laughton in The Man From Down Under.

Page Two:  10,000th ‘Fortress’ Completed. The American Association of Aircraft Manufacturers announced in Los Angeles yesterday that the 10,000th Flying Fortress had just been built by Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle.

Page Three: German Positions Taken in Rear. The Landing by Canadian Forces at dawn yesterday in the Scheldt Estuary pocket west of the village of Hoofdplaat was reported last night to be ‘progressing satisfactorily’. The assault in the enemy’s rear was made to ease the pressure on the Canadians holding the Leopold Canal bridgehead, and already (reports Reuter) there are signs that the ferocious German attacks at the canal are weakening.

Page Four: No more ration-free bacon. Cooked belly bacon sold off the ration for the past 6 months was from yesterday issued to retailers for the ration bacon requirements. Coupons will be necessary when buying it.

Page Five: Foot and mouth disease was confirmed yesterday among pigs at Spennymoor, Co Durham. The usual standstill order was made.

Page Six: For Sale. Huntly Gardens, Glasgow. 3 public rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 dressing rooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen and servants’ bedroom. Entry can be given as soon as the house is de-requistioned by the War Office. (I checked on recent sales at this address. The house has been turned into flats and one recently sold for £475,000. But what I found really interesting is that had been taken over by the War Office.  From whom? How much had they paid the original owners? What was it used for?)

Wartime Rations – Day Four

fishI decided on fish tonight. Although fish wasn’t a rationed food in WW2, it wasn’t always available. Fishermen had to put to sea in dangerous waters to haul in their catches, so often weren’t able to go far from shore. Also, which I didn’t realise, there are also distinct seasons for fish with cod being in season (in the UK) from October to January.  Who knew?

I rarely eat fish – I like it but my husband doesn’t – so I don’t have too many fish recipes to hand. But I do remember, from working in NHS hospitals years ago, that they used to serve up cod in a mustard sauce, which I decided to replicate. (Bake cod in oven at 180C for about 15 minutes. Make a white sauce, add mustard powder to taste, then pour over the fish.) It was delicious, and to add some colour and veggies I threw in some roasted Brussels sprouts which cooked in the oven at the same time as the fish.

berryPudding – because I am enjoying eating pudding every night – was apple and blackberry crumble using some of the leftover crumble mix from the other night. Also, saving energy, the pudding baked in the oven at the same time as the fish and veggies – although it needed a little more time.

The Glasgow Herald – Monday, October 9th, 1944

Only six pages again today, and I’m starting to find myself more interested with the ‘local’ news than the actual ‘war’ news.

Blackout times for Glasgow: 7.02pm until 7.07am- so nights are starting to creep in.

Page One: The writing is a bit blurred on this advert, but from what I can make out, the price at Rowans of 70 Buchanan Street for Officers’ uniforms were as follows:
Air Force Tunic: £9-6-6d
Trousers: £3-10-0d
Greatcoat: $14 – 4 -6d.

For comparison of what money bought back then, please check out this site for wartime prices.

Page Two: Scottish War Plant Closed. A war factory at Mossend, Lanarkshire, closed down on Saturday. When the factory was in full production over 500 men were employed, but recently only part of the plant was in operation. Members of the staff have received their notices. One hundred and twenty men are affected.

The above post is interesting when compared with the following one.

Page Three: Need for Private Enterprise. Mr Anthony Eden on Saturday urged that private enterprise should not be stifled after the war. He told Bristol Conservative and Unionist Association that the issue which would confront Britain when Germany and Japan were laid low was whether British industry would be able not only to re-establish itself, but markedly to raise pre-war levels.

Page Four: Food Facts.  Vitamin Foods. In view of the approaching winter, please see that every child under five gets cod liver oil and orange juice every day.

Page Five: Going My Way. Bing Crosby, after travelling so many roads to different places that all turned out to be the same, has deserted his fellow-voyagers, Hope and Lamour, and has gone up a rather odd side-turning to make ‘Going My Way’ (Paramount). In this he plays a young Roman Catholic priest who is sent to renovate a New York parish going downhill; he reforms the local Dead End Kids and sets them to singing Ave Marias, saves young girls from the streets, and raises money for the debt-laden church by composing and selling a sermon in song, a sort of Crooners’ Creed.

Certainly this sounds like the most dreadful slush, but, oddly enough, it is not. This is largely thanks to the acting – Mr Crosby’s diffident charm remains as strong as ever in a clerical suit, and Barry FItzgerald’s playing of an old priest, dry and eccentric, is as good a character sketch as any the screen has given us for some time.

… Altogether, we are still inclined to go Mr Crosby’s way, whether he is heading for Mandalay or the New Jerusalem.

Page Six: Peebles Auction Market. Owing to foot-and-mouth disease restrictions, the sale advertised for Friday, 13th October, has been meantime postponed.

A terraced house for sale at in Bellevue Road, Ayr, comprising 3 public rooms, 7 bedrooms, a kitchen  and servants’ accommodation was being offered for £2,250. I checked on modern-day prices for the same property. The building has now been divided into flats, with one recently priced at £197,844 and the other at £228,500!