The constraints of war-time rationing are difficult to comprehend in this day and age where food of all types are freely available, in some of the major stores for twenty-four hours a day!
It was a time of unaccustomed austerity and the biggest challenge to the cook, both domestic and commercial, was how to claw from plain and simple ingredients new and interesting flavours! An acceptable dish to feed the family that not only tasted good but also provided all the necessary nutrients, fats and vitamins.
In the years prior to the war, food imports had reached a level of almost 60% of consumption.
Suddenly it was back to the basics with a resounding thud!
Beans and pulses also came to the fore, as did the natural harvest of the hedgerows and fields.
This the Ministry of Food set about answering with the use of those who knew.
Country ways and history were re-visited and written, as with this informational booklet, or broadcast to the nation over the ‘wireless’, in a format that would promote health and provide the best available product possible.
But also, and more interestingly, in the interests of promoting the interests of newly formed alliances new recipes from such previously unconsidered countries as Poland, Russia and the Slovakian countries were introduced. This also served as an interesting form of propaganda to help integrate the displaced members of those countries forced to relocate here, because of the conditions in their homelands.
A lot of the old vegetable pickles and preserves were revived to provide a touch of the ‘sharp and spicy’ to enliven more neutral dishes.
Not such a bad thing either.