200+ Wartime Recipes


100’s of authentic ‘Wartime Recipes’ will be recreated and photographed throughout the year of the 1940’s Experiment.

During times of uncertainty and disruption, frugal, storable ingredients to make simple, nutritional recipes come into their own. I hope the wartime recipes I have recreated will help people to feed themselves and their families…

Check back here for new recipes and photos every week!

**FREE Pandemic Pantry Global Community Cookbook Project – Click here**

10 Great Ration Book Recipes to Celebrate VE Day CLICK HERE


The Latest 10 Wartime Recipes are below followed by the full list!

Recipe 202: Potatoes in Curry Sauce

Recipe 201: Carrot and Potato Hot Pot

Recipe 200: Lentil Curry

Recipe 199: Cabbage soup

Recipe 198: Savoury Potato Biscuits

Recipe 197: Gingerbread People

Recipe 196: Parsnip Pudding

Recipe 195: Crunchies

Recipe 194: Guernsey Potato Peel Pie

Recipe 193: Rhubarb & Apple Jam

Recipe 192: Pickled Beetroot

Recipe 191: Mock Brains

Recipe 190: Blackcurrant & Bramley Apple Jam


Recipe 1. Wartime Loaf

Recipe 2. Wartime Dripping

Recipe 3. Meaty Gravy

Recipe 4. Bread Pudding

Recipe 5. Corned Beef Fritters

Recipe 6. Eggless Sponge Gone Wrong

Recipe 7. Salad Dressing for immediate use

Recipe 8. Wartime Vegetable Turnovers

Recipe 9. Wartime Scotch Shortbread

Recipe 10. Carolyn’s ‘Everything In’ Wartime Stew


Recipe 11. The Oslo Meal

Recipe 12. Curried Carrots

Recipe 13: Pancakes (5 dishes from 1 recipe)

Recipe 14: Wartime Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon

Recipe 15: Cynthia’s Eggless Sponge (gone right)

Recipe 16: Pear Crumble

Recipe 17: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam..

Recipe 18: Rock buns

Recipe 19: Mock cream recipe 1

Recipe 20: Spam Hash


Recipe 21: Wartime Pumpkin Soup

Recipe 22: Bread stuffing balls

Recipe 23: Apple crumble

Recipe 24: Lord Woolton Pie

Recipe 25: Cheese Whirls

Recipe 26: Glory Buns

Recipe 27: Cheese and Potato Dumplings

Recipe 28: Cream of Parsnip Soup

Recipe 29: Carrot and Potato Mash

Recipe 30: Cheese Dreams


Recipe 31: Farmhouse Scramble (version 1)

Recipe 32: Cottage Pie

Recipe 33: Potato and Cheese Bake

Recipe 34: Boeuf Bourguignon 1940s Rations Style

Recipe 35: Potato Floddies

Recipe 36: Bread and Apple Pudding

Recipe 37: Danish Apple Pudding

Recipe 38: Vegetable Stew

Recipe 39: Wartime Welsh Cakes

Recipe 40: Cold meat pasties

Recipe 41: Quick chocolate icing

Recipe 42: Potato Rarebit

Recipe 43: Mock Cream Recipe 2

Recipe 44: No Cook Chocolate Cake

Recipe 45: Mince Slices

Recipe 46: Marmite Mushrooms (a modern creation?)

Recipe 47: Eggless Fruit Cake

Recipe 48: Potato and Carrot Pancakes

Recipe 49: Potato and Lentil Curry

Recipe 50: Mock Goose

Recipe 51: Wartime Eggless Christmas Cake

Recipe 52: Vegetable and Oatmeal Goulash

Recipe 53: Irish Soda-Bread

Recipe 54: Eggless Pancakes

Recipe 55: Carrot Cookies

Recipe 56: Herby Bread

Recipe 57: Poor Knight’s Fritters

Recipe 58: Eggless Mayonnaise

Recipe 59: Split pea soup

Recipe 60: Potato Fingers

Recipe 61: Chocolate biscuits & chocolate spread

Recipe 62: Curried potatoes 

Recipe 63: Vegetable pasties

Recipe 64: Wheatmeal pastry

Recipe 65: Homemade croutons

Recipe 66: Quick vegetable soup

Recipe 67: Fruit Shortcake

Recipe 68: Cheese potatoes

Recipe 69: Lentil sausages

Recipe 70: Root vegetable soup

Recipe 71: Sausage rolls

Recipe 72: Eggless ginger cake

Recipe 73: Mock duck

Recipe 74: Cheese sauce

Recipe 75: Duke pudding

Recipe 76: Potato scones

Recipe 77: Cheese, tomato and potato loaf/pie

Recipe 78: Bubble and squeak

Recipe 79: Belted leeks

Recipe 80: Lord Woolton Pie- Version 2

Recipe 81: Beef and prune hotpot

Recipe 82: Prune flan

Recipe 83: Butter making him-front style

Recipe 84: Mock apricot flan

Recipe 85: Corned beef with cabbage

Recipe 86: Oatmeal pastry

Recipe 87: Gingerbread men

Recipe 88: Carolyn’s mushroom gravy

Recipe 89: Jam sauce

Recipe 90: Brown Betty

Recipe 91: Middleton medley

Recipe 92: Rolled oat macaroons

Recipe 93: Anzac biscuits

Recipe 94: Beef or whalemeat hamburgers

Recipe 95: Lentil soup

Recipe 96: Welsh claypot loaves

Recipe 97: Chocolate oat cakes

Recipe 98: Wartime berry shortbread

Recipe 99: Oatmeal soup

Recipe 100: Mock marzipan

Recipe 101: Gingernuts

Recipe 102: Eggless christmas pudding

Recipe 103: Leftovers stew

Recipe 104: Vinaigrette dressing

Recipe 105: Apple pudding

Recipe 106: Irish omelette

Recipe 107: Potato cakes

Recipe 108: Glazed turnips (Canadian recipe)

Recipe 109: Carrot roll

Recipe 110: Wartime Bara Brith

Recipe 111: Bread and prune pudding

Recipe 112: Sausage stovies

Recipe 113: Malted loaf

Recipe 114: Toad in the Hole

Recipe 115: Summer berry jam

Recipe 116: Scones

Recipe 117: Mock cream 3

Recipe 118: Vegetable Pie

Recipe 119: Air-raid apple chutney

Recipe 120: Lentil curry

Recipe 121: Haricot bean croquettes

Recipe 122: Leek and Lentil Pie

Recipe 123: Coconut Cream

Recipe 124: Colcannon

Recipe 125: Carrot and Sultana Pudding

Recipe 126: Lemon Syrup Sauce

Recipe 127: Bean and Vegetable Sheperd’s Pie

Recipe 128: Chocolate Layer Cake

Recipe 129: Small Cottage Tea Loaves

Recipe 130: Vinegar Cake

Recipe 131: Kale and Bean Stew

Recipe 132: Pea and Potato Stew

Recipe 133: Baked Chips with Thyme

Recipe 134: Homity Pie

Recipe 135: Vegetable Au Gratin

Recipe 136: Kale and Potato Soup

Recipe 137: Trench Stew

Recipe 138: Irish Potato Pancakes

Recipe 139: Vegetable Soup

Recipe 140: Canadian Bake

Recipe 141: Savoury Meat Pie

Recipe 142: Potatoes in Curry Sauce

Recipe 143: Padded Pudding with Mock Cream + VIDEO RECIPE

Recipe 144: Bread and Butter Pudding

Recipe 145: Wartime Mock Crab

Recipe 146: Mince in the Hole

Recipe 147: Country House Cake

Recipe 148: Mock Banana – VIDEO

Recipe 149: Pink Layer Party Cake (Mother’s Day Tribute)

Recipe 150: Plum Charlotte

Recipe 151: The Original Lord Woolton Pie

Recipe 152: Bare Cupboard Cake

Recipe 153: Summer Breakfast Dish

Recipe 154: Leek and Potato Soup

Recipe 155: Kentish Pasties

Recipe 156: My Keep the Wolf from the Door Vegetable Stew

Recipe 157: Ministry of Food Christmas Cake

Recipe 158: Blackberry Mincemeat

Recipe 159: 1940s Meal Prep – Root Vegetable Mash

Recipe 160: 1940s Meal Prep – Bean Stew

Recipe 161: Broccoli & Bean Bake

Recipe 162: Hunt Pie

Recipe 163: Oaty Biscuits

Recipe 164: Beetroot Pudding

Recipe 165: Root Vegetable Mash

Recipe 166: Jam Tarts

Recipe 167: Mock Black Pudding

Recipe 168: Baked Fruit Pie

Recipe 169: Cheese, Potato & Onion Pie

Recipe 170: Eggless Chocolate Sponge

Recipe 171: Blackberry Shortbread

Recipe 172: Cheese Frizzles

Recipe 173: Blackberry & Elderberry Jam

Recipe 174: Oatmeal Stuffing

Recipe 175: Flap Jack

Recipe 176: Oat Topped Bread Rolls

Recipe 177: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

Recipe 178: Green Mint Sauce

Recipe 179: Potato Salad with Dutch Sauce

Recipe 180: Marrow Chutney

Recipe 181: Marrow & Lentil Stew

Recipe 182: Kensington Rarebit

Recipe 183: Lentil Sheperd’s Pie(Pandemic Pantry Submission)

Recipe 184: Blackcurrant Jam

Recipe 185: Piccalilli

Recipe 186: WW1 Ration Scones

Recipe 187: Hot Cross Buns

Recipe 188: Bread and Butter Pickles

Recipe 189: Wartime Spiced Biscuits

Recipe 190: Blackcurrant & Bramley Apple Jam


409 thoughts on “200+ Wartime Recipes

  1. How are you doing this? how do you know the right portions etc.? Have you talked to your doctor? Are you sure this is good for you cause with the dripping thing isnt that bad for colesteral?
    I am asking cause I two need to lose over a hundred pounds ….for the same reasons as you except i have a 2 1/2 year old and a 19 yr old .
    Is there a way i could see the reciepes so i could do it with you?

  2. Hi Amy- thanks for leaving a comment and asking some very valid questions!

    First of all NO I haven’t talked to my doctor (just my choice) but I would highly recommend that anyone changing their eating habits does especially if they have any medical condition or are taking any sorts of medication…

    I know this is a safe eating plan to follow as millions and millions of people followed exactly the same one during World War II in the UK (which I am basing mine on) ….it is recorded by health and nutrition experts that people grew healthy & strong during the war as food rationing ensured that people ate healthier wholemeal pastries and breads (homemade), lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, less sugar and less dairy fats like butter and cheese. Infact because of the limited amount of fats such as butter available, people were encouraged to save the fat off their cooking like bacon to reuse….

    I compared my terrible diet of just a few weeks ago to a typical rationed 1940s diet and could see that my modern diet was fat laden…. a few handful of chips, a few cookies, lost of butter on my toast, lots of cheese and cheese sauces with most meals, cream in my coffee, way too much meat, etc etc etc…the fat content of my daily diet was pretty horrific.

    Even with a little bit of dripping, I believe the fat content of my new 1940’s to be less than a quarter of what it was a couple of weeks ago…

    I am using Becel margarine as my ration allowance for butter/margarine which is very low in trans fats but am occasionally using dripping when my margarine runs out (when you have to cook everything from scratch you’ll notice how little margarine you have to last you a week!)..

    My personal opinion is that

    a) If you are following a typical wartime rationed diet with plenty of supplementary leafy vegetables
    b) Following it 100% with no eating any extras or extra rations

    it has to be better than what I am eating at the moment (which has made me very fat at 315lbs)..

    AMY: If you keep an eye out over the next few days I’ll do a blog post that will give you a breakdown of the rations available each week to each adult during the war and I will also recommend some recipe books and send you links to more online recipes

    Keep an eye out also for all the recipes I will be posting with photographs…hope these will help a little. They should build up into a nice collection of historical recipes from the 1940’s.

    Hey it would be great if there was someone else out there having a go at this too..!!

    It’s not easy- I really felt like stuffing a chocolate peanut butter ball into my mouth that someone had brought into work today but I had to say NO!!!! hehee 🙂

    C xx

      • I’ve heard that too! BTW- I like your blog. Horse manure is excellent stuff and you can pick it up and throw it xxxxx

      • You are correct Sandy. Any fat that is not “from nature” is processed (or adulterated) in some way with chemicals. Stick to butter and all the “old fashioned” fats, they also taste better so you tend to use less. It’s sugar we all need to keep an eye on – in all it’s guises – just check the information panels on any processed food for sugars under carbohydrates.

      • This is true and based on real scientific evidence – not an advertising fat cat’s word smithing !

      • I’m on my third attempt… started October 1st, 2011 and have stuck to a wartime rationing diet and lost 52 lbs in 5 months so far… 48 lbs to go and about 42 recipes to cook! C xxxxx

      • i am only using this for my homework and my teacher was really impressed thx who ever made this website you really helped better then all those other websites i saw

    • What you have to remember in all this is that most people now are cosseted in centrally heated houses with double glazing and cars to get to work and the shops. Most people in the forties and fifties did not have central heating or a car and consequently were healthier, even with animal fats in their diet, because they walked more.

      In another note, my mum used to make a proper batter pudding (not Yorkshire) in a meat tin. It came up about 2.5 inches thick all over. She cut it into squares and we had one with our Sunday dinner and one with syrup or jam and custard for “afters”. Does anyone have a recipe? We used to make it in a particular dish, there was nothing written down. My mum had been a cook in the NAAFI.

      • The only real difference between a Yorkshire Pudding and a Batter Pudding is the fat used in the cooking process. Traditional Yorkshire Pudding recipes always uses meat drippings whereas Batter Pudding (or popover) recipes use butter instead.

      • Yes I can help – my Mother tried for many years to make a proper Yorkshire pudding but failed in was (as described a proper batter) this is because she used self raising flour instead of plain flour. She made it in a large oven tray and it was solid but slightly raised around the edges.

      • Hi Betseylee, my mum was a cook at the Swynnerton Munitions factory in Staffordshire throughout WW2, A Swynnerton Rose.

        Hi Doreen, yes the flour is important. I consider it a given that it was plain flour not S R flour for batter.

        The secret is to make the batter then let it rest for at least 30 minutes before it is poured into the hot smoking drippings and returned to the oven. In the case of the pop over type mum always did those in melted butter.

  3. Well done, i’m hoping that you’ve managed to do some of the leg work that i’ve been trying to do myself. My wife thought that i would be the only person ever that would want to put myself on a ww2 ration but it seemed to stack-up to me. I want to lose weight (16 st+), wanted to stay away from any modern ‘fad’ of a diet and to try to stay seasonal, local and unprocessed or pre-prepared and i’m not a big meat eater anyway so when i thought about it it led to a ‘ration diet’. Glad i’ve caught up with you at pretty much the begining, i’ll watch out for your progess and try to put my own efforts in place straight away to keep you company. Now, where’s that tin of corned beef gone?!
    Giles, aged 46 1/4

  4. Hey Giles- ABSOLUTELY!! That was one of the BIG reasons for giving this a shot again (apart from losing weight and cos I’m weird) and that was TRYING to source and promote local foods…trying to use LESS imported goods. Actually just following the examples set during WWII which were

    * mend and make do
    * eat more veggies & grow your own (or buy locally)
    * use imported goods sparingly
    * eat less meats and fats

    The other day I went into my local small store and it was VERY difficult to find anything on sale from fresh produce that was grown locally or in the province of Nova Scotia where I live….even Canada was difficult with fruit (the majority was imported from USA, Brazil, New Zealand etc)..

    It was the same when I lived in the UK and I guess it is still the same?

    So part of this will be to source more in season produce from Farmer’s Markets…

    I am CONVINCED that we have a huge amount to learn from this period of time…in a way the government propaganda (the good propaganda..I am talking UK here) infact was a very positive thing to keep people healthy and make sure people didn’t starve..

    Anyway- I am waffling!!!

    I do hope you’ll join in and swap some meal recipes… !!!

    Good luck with your attempt too!

    C xx

    • The other part of this whole plan that ended up being quite beneficial to most, was the almost complete elimination of the family car, through the total direction of petroleum products – gas, oil, tires, etc., – strictly to the military and war industries. There was some fuel for ambulances, delivery vehicles, taxis, and other forms of public transportation, and farm use, but I think I read that fuel was colored a specific color – was it blue? – for rural farm tractor use, and getting caught with it in the petrol tank of the family car while out on a joyride would net you some serious penalties!
      Seems I got lost in my own narrative! My point in all that is to say that people were basically forced to get up on their feet, and walk, or bike ride for their local transportation needs! Shopping, going to work – biking being the most convenient way in many instances – which many more people now did more than ever before, especially women! As they were literally drafted into local industries, to spend their full time day hours at work, and still have their household to run afterwards! Exercise was packed into every single day, for almost every age. Even chartered busses for the workers didn’t pick them up or drop them off again from or to their own doorsteps. Walking to the bus stop each day, and walking home again at the end of the day added many steps to everyone’s day. Even bike riding became a pleasant source of family transport to local entertainment, and “stay-cations” close to home were just a couple of reasons for getting good, healthy exercise!
      Almost the best aerobic exercise anyone can get. Takes tons of weight off. I know – I did sort of the same thing several years back, and lost 58 pounds in 8 months! On the same kind of food I was already eating, but by keeping lists of everything in the pantry, the cabinets, the fridge and the freezer! I got portion size information as well as calories, and fat gram counts off the package nutrition labels, and keeping myself on 1200 calories, and 20 grams of fat per day, for six days out of seven. The other things I didnt bother much with, unless it had a ridiculously high portion of something very unhealthy, like sodium, or LDL/fats. Those I just eliminated for all the family, and we were all better off for it! The seventh day was a personal “floating holiday” from the restrictions, so I could easily accommodate eating out every so often, as well as holidays, birthday parties, work parties and pitch-ins, etc. But I didnt stray too far off the “reservation” so to speak. It got easier and easier to do so as time went on, and it really did work beautifully, combined with daily exercise in various forms.
      Hoping that all your efforts have paid off over time! It’s now almost April, 2017, so quite a time from when you began these projects. I’m of course going to read through all of these posts, since I just became aware of it through my husband, who posted the link to your site! I’m a confirmed ’40’s aficionado, and read everything I can find thoroughly! Fortunately for me, my husband supports my “habit” voluntarily, and even has broadened his own interests in the era as well.

  5. Hi Carolyn,

    I’ve been looking over the recipes and I have noticed a lack of garlic in the recipes, and I’ve been wondering if it wasn’t popular in England in the 40s. We love garlic in our home and I add it to almost everything, except desserts of course lol

    I also want to thank you for starting this blog, it has inspired me to start cooking more responsibly. I’ve been working very long hours(12 to 14 hrs/day, 7 days a week)for several months and have become very lax in cooking. I was relying on too much take out and frozen dinners. You have inspired me to get back to basics and cook like I used to, more frugally and much more tastily. I’m thinking of following the Oslo recipe for lunch at work, its simple and easy.

    So keep those recipes coming please and keep going with the diet. You have done a great job so far and the first few weeks are the most difficult.



    • Hi Cathy- thanks for leaving a comment and raising an excellent question…I have been thinking exactly the same!

      Most of my recipes are coming from Marguerite Patten cook books, English Heritage or reputable publishing houses and I have YET to find a recipe with garlic in..

      I think this needs further investigation! I wonder when garlic became part of the British cuisine? I think this unusual though because the English did eat the odd curry (although not usual) and surely that would have used garlic?

      I am exactly the same as you (although I am fortunate not to be working 7 days a week!) and was finding it a real struggle to put good food on the table for the children and I because of the sheer amount of time at work…

      The kids try my recipes and the youngest who does have extra weight like me is starting to enjoy all the extra veggies and wholesome food coming her way now..

      The Oslo meal- yes you could prepare your salad at home in two minutes and place it in a big container and then zip lock bag a couple pieces of wholemeal bread and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt! A nutritious meal that costs ya about $1.50!

      So glad you are enjoying the blog- it’s lovely to get comments- THANKS!

      C xx

      • Garlic was brought to these shores by the Romans (along with yarrow and sage), and wild garlic has been common across the country for a couple of thousand years. It’s a milder, mellower taste than the garlic we’re used to.

        We’d now look at many older recipes and wonder how on Earth people tolerated such high levels of spices in what we think of as savoury dishes (nutmeg was a particular favourite). I believe several factors led to a less spicy diet than had been common in the UK for centuries:

        * Late Victorian and Edwardian anti-foreigner sentiment: The hysteria over European anarchists, German/Prussian spies, and thousands of Eastern European Jews fleeing pogroms (triggering the usual “We’re being swamped by foreigners who hate Christianity and will outbreed us!”) led to some level of distrust of spicy foods associated with Europeans.

        * The blockades of WWI: British diets (which differed from region to region, class to class, depending on what could be afforded) had incorporated many spices from our Empire. The blockades of WWI meant that it was hard to get non-essentials from Asia and Africa, which led to an acceptance of a blander diet. And this was reinforced with the blockades of WWII.

        * The post-war depression: Rebuilding trade routes for non-essentials took money. War debts, rebuilding, the decimation of the British male population through the Pals Brigades recruitment process leaving whole towns with no healthy men between the ages of 15 and 50, and the banking collapse, meant that we were plunged into a financial and social crisis – and people who’d got used to several years without much in the way of herbs and spices from the Empire’s trade routes weren’t going to spend money on what were once considered essentials but had become considered luxuries.

        * Growing anti-Indian sentiment: As Gandhi and others agitated for Indian home rule, there was a mixed response. While many people had family connections to India through the armed forces and colonial service, and Indian food was common (there weren’t many restaurants outside the cities, but plenty of ex-colonial soldiers still ate homemade curry regularly – one of my great-great uncles was famous in our village for his mass production of curries of all types), some felt that Indian home rule was reasonable and others that it was an insult to their national identity and bitterly resented it.

        * Fashion: Along with the above, which surely influenced fashion, there has always been the desire to ape the wealthy. Gardens, everyone knew, were primarily for flowers (veg was relegated to the bottom patch, out of sight, if you were lucky enough to have a garden at all) – everyone aspired to “proper” gardens like the rich people had, with lawns and flower borders. The wealthy, of course, had long had such gardens as proof that they didn’t NEED their own kitchen gardens and had plenty of spare land to show off. And so what had once been a demonstration of wealth became the norm. People continued to move to towns and cities, stopped growing as much of their own food, and forgot that plants such as nettles, dandelions, purslane, chickweed, wild garlic, and flax had high nutritional value rather than being useless “weeds” – if they noticed them at all.

        All off the top of my head, and I’m sure there were other factors involved.

      • Garlic only became popular in England in the 1960s (with the growing popularity of Indian and Italian food). My grandmother, who was an adult during WW2 used to cook traditional meals when I was a kid in the late 60s/early 70s and never used it.

    • If you look at some of the WW2 pamphlets for growing your own fruit and vegetables you will find one (it has a blue cover – check images) that has garlic on the cover so it must have been in use. I know my maternal grandmother used garlic (wild or home grown I would imagine, if it was difficult to source in the UK) during WW1 and WW2 as she was born & raised in Lithuania (she was sent to Scotland for her own safety aged 15, all alone too) and a lot of her cooking used garlic. I had never really considered garlic an unusual ingredient. I grew up in central Edinburgh (born 1954) and our neighbours were a mixed bunch, we had families from all over.
      So I had school friends from Italy, Poland, Africa, Jamaica, India, Pakistan as well as exotic places like Ireland and Wales ! We had real French “onion Johnnies” who annually arrived to sell strings of Garlic and onions door to door, they came on bicycles with their strings of garlic and onions strung over their shoulders and on their handlebars. They can’t have come only to Edinburgh, I have just looked it up in the internet & there are references to them on a site called edinphoto.org.uk – how interesting !

    • On the subject of Garlic in the UK repetoir, pree WW2. The gentry were using garlic from the 18th century onwards, but not the ‘Hoi Polloi’ as the exposure to garlic really took off in the UK after WW2 when the culinary travels of Elizabeth Davies were published. She advocated the Meditaranian diet long before the medical profession did and encouraged the use of garlic.

      Incidentally garlic was always available in the UK, mainly in delicatessens and any green grocer that was by appointment – such as Harrods, Jenners, Fortnam & Mason’s, etc. Most of the Italian imigrants to the UK (in the late Victorian era) were popular (initially) as waiters (aspecially on ocean liners) just as French chefs were the vogue in posh restaurants and hotels.

      Italians set up delis, ice cream parlours, coffee shops, fish & chip shops etc all over the UK, as did Polish imigrants.

      I site the Italian or “Mafia ice cream wars” of the 1960’s in the central belt between Glasgow & Edinburgh !

  6. Glad to hear that the diet is going so well for you. I was wondering about peanut butter.I haven’t seen any recipes using it but I know it was shipped from the States during or after the war. I have heard that what was given wasn’t the nicest peanut butter, grade D or some such thing.

    That got me thinking about nuts in the diet during that time. They must’ve been a very important important source of protein, but they aren’t mentioned in the rations, that I’ve seen. I was just wondering if you knew anything about which ones were used and for what.

    Thank you for doing this blog, I’m enjoying it so much!


    • look for a book called We’ll Eat Again with recipes from Marguerite Patten pg 80 recipe for dark sticky gingerbread uses peanut butter instead of margerinr or fat. I have tried it and it works but the cake does not keep well as it dries out too quick.

      • Yes highly recommend that book- I have the trilogy boxed set- We’ll Eat Again, Victory Cookbok and Post War Cooking and they are fabby..

        I juts checked out that recipe and my goodness- there it was, the peanut butter!

      • I have a good sized collection of books by Marguarite Patten (my cooking guru go to), most are original post war as well as the reprints mentioned by our hostess. All are useful easy recipes as well as the posher ones for more special occasions.

        A friend has a wonderful book by another MoF cook called Nellie Heaton, it has absolutely everything imaginable, a post war Beeton’s household management !

        Mary Berry is another guru, some of her baking recipes are amazing and you just can’t go wrong with “Fast Cakes’ & “More Fast Cakes” recipes.

      • I have experimented with this recipe and find that banana or avocado can replace the peanut butter successfully. Note that the avocado is neutral in flavour whereas the banana adds it’s flavour to the finished cake, both are delicious and also add to the moisture and the keeping quality – if you can resist the temptation to eat the lot.

      • Avocado and banana are both great aren’t they!!! I’ve made chocolate mousse with avocado before and it was absolutely delicious!!!

      • Hi Carolyn, although I’m not a big fan of avocados as they are, I do use them as a ‘carrier’ in recipes as they are ‘neutral’ in flavour. As a butter replacement it’s great in baking, as are pumpkin pulp & banana. Have you tried chocolate avocado mousse ? 150g chocolate melted & 1 avocado in a blender with enough milk (I like coconut milk for this recipe) to make it as soft or firm as you like then sweeten with whatever you prefer (I like sifted icing sugar for this), decorate with a chocolate flake, chopped nuts or toasted coconut. As well as a mousse it’s great frozen, not really ice cream but a good alternative.

      • Yes that was the recipe I talked about in my last comment…it was amazing!!@ I never decorated the top but OMG that sounds so good! Xxxx

      • Hi Carolyn, what I should have said was ‘have you tried this recipe’, there are so many versions out there !

      • I have a veggie friend who used strained pureed beetroot (chocolate cakes), pumpkin (fruit cakes) or carrot (not only in carrot cake but ginger breads too) in a lot of her baking to cut down on the fat and she swears by those ingredients. I have used avocados, bananas & pumpkin for various recipes too, I also tried a chocolate & potato recipe that was a great success, here it is:
        Spiced Chocolate & Potato
        150g salted butter
        2 cups soft brown sugar
        2 eggs
        3/4 cup milk
        2 cups self raising flour
        6 teaspoons mixed ground spices
        2 cups cooked, unsalted mashed potatoes
        Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and flour a 25cm ring tin. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture alternately with the potatoes and milk. Pour into the prepared ring tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 to 120 minutes, or until a fine skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

  7. Hey Cathy

    I have only seen peanut butter mentioned once or twice in English literature about WWII recipes and I guess this would have been incorporated into one or two recipes when the US troops brought it over (I’ll have to do some research about that)

    Same with nuts- I only really see chestnuts mentioned as they would have been available from local trees in the Uk BUT I guess they must have imported nuts too the same as they did for raisins/sultanas…..(again I MUST look this up over his long weekend)

    Very interesting!!!

    C xx

    • Nuts have been an important part of these islands diet since Adam was a lad. Cobnuts, Filberts or Hazelnuts same thing were all used as a “flour”, grain (for potage, soups, porridge and gruel) and eaten as they were. For instance in Scotland ground hazelnuts are an essential part of the celebration petticoat tails style of shortbread. Almonds were a bit more exotic (marzipan is made from almond meal) but I think you will find that most of the non native nuts were brought over by the Romans – surprise. surprise ! There was a TV series with Ray Mears about foods eaten by our ancestors that brought up this very subject.

  8. How Brilliant. I was born in 1951 and my mum used a lot of this type of recipe for many years after. Never used garlic, never heard of peanut butter, only cereal I knew was Cornflakes or Quaker Oats.

    I think garlic was used more from the late 60’s early 70’s and I remember using a recipe when I’d just got married and trying to impress my new hubby which stated six cloves of garlic. I put in six bulbs! You can imagine what it tasted like. I can remember my first pot of yoghurt – I was working in London in 1967 and went to lunch with a friend. I absolutely hated the “sour” taste. Now I love them.

    The first curry I tasted was a Fray Bentos tinned curry – you opened one end of the can for the rice and the other for the curried meat – I loved it. Then there were a range of Vespa(?) (I think) curries.

    I still try and cook some of the old fashioned recipies, but my “still at home” son moans and wants to try more adventurous Tai, Spanish, whatever recipes and everyone nowadays wants meals “plated up” prettily. I absolutely hate that for some reason – I enjoy the good old wholesome “splodge it on” way. Sorry everyone. As I’ve got about 4 stone to lose I’m going to give it a try.

    Looking forward to seeing you progress.

    • Curry has been around as long as the Brits have been to India. One of the most celebrated chefs in Britain was Richard Terrey who specialised in Indian cuisine called the Oriental Club whose president was the Duke of Wellington. There is a ton of information on the internet. The Victorians loved curry but the curry powders that could be purchased by Joe Public at that time were frequently adulterated with such things as brick dust !!!

      • Update on Richard Terrey & the Victorian British Curry Fetish.

        From “The Supersizers go… Victorian”, an excerpt, quote: “One of the things that interested me this week was when Giles goes for 3 hour lunch at a the Oriental gentlemen’s club, established in 1824 for returning servants of the empire. Here he tastes the curry that would have been served at the time. However, it is said to be pretty disgusting as the only thing that was done to make it curry rather than just stew, was to add raw curry paste and powder. The meal was based on the recipes of Richard Terrey, who was chef de cuisine at the club but had never been to India. It’s clear that this curry didn’t really do the trick and it took some years for British chefs to get the hang of it.”

  9. Ewwwwy- SIX BULBS OF GARLIC !! (grin)

    Loved reading your message about all the different and new foods coming through after the war! That’s funny you should say about yogurt..I remember in the 1970’s trying SKi yogurt and thinking it was sour and the first DIET COKES were hideous!

    Look forward to hearing more!

    C xx

  10. One thing I found out from the a local here was at his school they were encouraged to pick rose hips to make syrup. Once they picked a certain amount they were given a threepence a load and the rose hips sent off to be made into syrup. Sugar was in sort supply so the syrup was a substitute.


    They also used gulls eggs and collected them to sell to the bakers for cakes. They preferred terns eggs apparently

  11. Sorry, I can answer the garlic and nuts questions. Re garlic and other things like onions, the Channel Islands were the major source of these for Britain pre-war, but were occupied by Germany from the start of the Phony War. Garlic wasn’t used much, but would have been unavailable, like onions, until people started growing their own. Also, other sources of garlic, like France and Italy, were either occupied or the enemy.

    Nuts would have to have been locally grown, since shipping priority was given things that were high in nutritional value but didn’t take up much space (SPAM, dried milk, dried eggs, telescoped meat[!]!). Nuts wouldn’t not have been imported much, unless they were thrown in to fill out the shipping space, same as dried fruit.

    Makes you realize how fragile our food supply really is…

    • Not forgetting also that it was difficult to import food, due to the fact the enemy liked sinking our ships!

      My nan often talks to me of rationing food; she often sings the 40s praises (as I’ve heard many an old lady do as I work in a museum and they’re always talking about the olden days! I love it). Anyway my nan told me this recipe for chocolate spread:

      2tbsps Mashed potato
      As much cocoa powder as you could afford to spare.

      1. Mix it up and let it cool
      2. Eat!

      I’ve tried it, and it isn’t as rank as it sounds. As long as you don’t salt the water you boil the potatos in, the cocoa powders masks the taste pretty well.

      • Hi Leigh- OMG! I have NEVER heard of that one- I HAVE to try it and put it on here! Should you add sugar? Let me know and I’ll make it and take a photo ASAP

        Yes the rationed food of course was the food in your diet necessary for health and it was simply rationed to make surethat prince or pauper was fed the essentials- just because something was off ration didn’t make it available. As you say it all depended when supplies got through….it must have been very difficult times!

        C xx

      • I was born in 1954 so I was never rationed on the sweets bur both of my older brothers were so home made sweets were essential. I know this might sound gross but it tastes ab fab – honestly.
        Boil a potato (no salt, obviously) in it’s jacket, drain the water off and allow the spud to steam until you can handle it to remove the skin. If you have a potato ricer you can rice the spud or alternatively mash then work in as much sifted icing sugar as it will take to make a soft dough – as for Plasticine. Roll in to balls or shape into bars, allow to dry out for an hour or so them coat in dark chocolate and toasted coconut – yummy ! Sold in Scotland as “Lee’s Macaroon Bars” .
        For Raspberry ruffles use the same spud and icing sugar paste but add raspberry essence instead then coat in dark chocolate and desiccated coconut.
        For peppermint creams use the same spud and icing sugar paste but add peppermint essence instead then coat in dark chocolate.
        make up your own combination of flavours, we always did – enjoy !

      • Yes Leigh, it’s a production confection of long standing in Scotland, but we also add icing sugar to the mix. A confection called a macaroon bar (not chocolate flavoured but vanilla) made by Lee’s is still made. Not sure if it’s still made with potato starch but the home made version follows, so here’s a tip for yummy macaroon bars with the recipe.

        Do not boil the potatoes (tto wet as they absorb some of the cooking water) microwave them in their jackets till tender, then, when cool enough to handle peel the skins off. If your have a potato ricer then rice the potatoes or mash using a food mixer rather than a hand masher. Pass the mixture through a seive to remove any lumpiness then work in as much sifted icing sugar as the mixture wants to absorb. Add the flavour you like now – such as vanilla, ginger powder, mint, coffee powder, etc – it’s up to you. I like to form the paste into balls or bars then coat with melted chocolate. For the vanilla flavour I toss in toasted coconut too.

        For the squeemish who don’t like the sound of potato starch confectionery use I egg white beaten to a stiff snow then proceed to work in the sifted icing sugar, etc. Known in Scotland as fruit fondants as they are normally fruit or ginger flavoured.

        A Geordie favourite are raspberry ruffles. As you would guess the paste is pink & raspberry flavoured then rolled in shredded coconut.

  12. Hello from the US! I haven’t read all of the comments but am greatly enjoying this blog thus far. I have been looking into the Feingold diet for the health of my children, basically it cuts out preservatives, artificial colors and salicylates. It’s sort of an elimination diet that is said to help with ADD symptoms and PDD symptoms. All that to say that the investigation of that diet, led me to look further into the diet of the 1940’s/50’s and that is how I found your blog. =)

    Have you heard of the PBS series called 1940’s house? I ordered it from netflix.com and really enjoyed it. I learned a lot from the little series.

    I’ve gardened for 2 years now, and really felt satisfied knowing that my own hands have provided for our family and lessened our food bill, even if only by a little. I would love to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle and make the most off the land. For now though, it’s baby steps for us.

    Thanks again for the recipes, and recording your journey. How are you doing now? How are you feeling? Now I am off to peruse your menus more fully. 😉


  13. Hi I am a parent of a child with an ASD. I can confirm that a low preservative, colouring and sugar diet do help his behaviour. I also give him 1000mg of omega 3 fish oil 3 times a day and that really helps him…without it he zones out!

  14. Hey Jenn!! The 1940’s house- oh my its one of my favourites! I have the DVD SOMEWHERE in my house and can’t wait to find it again so I can watch it!

    Actually you are so right- going back to simple, unprocessed foods really moves away from all the artificial colours, preservatives etc that I am sure cause so many problems especially in the hyper sensitive… and YES growing your own is absolutely the very best way of getting the best and the freshest food of all (used to grow quite a bit back in the Uk before moving to Canada but alas that has fallen by the wayside)….

    What things to you grow?

    Have things improved since you’ve changed your children’s diet?

    MLA- what significant differences did you see in your child?

    C xx

  15. The first difference was extreme…white sugar. This sent him extremely hyperactive with very deep lows after the reaction. I replaced that with honey and the hyperactivity stopped for that area.

    Next colours would make hyperactive again but also irritable, a certain blue tubular sweet was the absolute worst and at 18 months he was head banging if he had just one of them!

    Preservatives just made him feel lousy and miserable.

    As for fizzy drinks, in particular one made ‘from girders’ we had everything…hyperactivity, screaming, crying, despair followed by very deep lows when the reaction wore off. The diet vision was even worse!

    One of his worst areas now is shop bought pizza’s. It’s the sauce. I have to peel him off the ceiling if he mistakenly eats one.

    • Very interesting! I’m a chronic migraineur, and food colourings can induce shattering attacks. Reds and yellows are the worst, but blues can also be bad – and many icecreams contain blues to make them look whiter. Chronic migraineurs have a different insulin metabolism to non-migraineurs, so sugars and refined starches (like white flour) send my body into a hypoglycaemic tizzy. Of course, starches are simply longchain sugars, so that makes sense.

      When my children were young, I could tell immediately if their father had given them soda or crisps. My son would often get a migraine and my daughter would have tantrums, which a chunk of cheese would usually resolve. Unfortunately nothing but time resolved my son’s headaches. Even more unfortunately, my ex-husband would never accept the evidence that junk foods harmed the children, made it into a big power struggle, and sneaked stuff to the kids. Once they hit their teens, he also gave them cigarettes and alcohol. I’m sorry I waited so long to divorce him!

      • From personal experience the biggest triggers (both myself & a nephew) for the migraine are sweetened flavoured coffees, flavoured peanuts, flavoured popcorn, fruit flavoured items and sweet milk chocolate (but note that I’m okay with high cocoa butter dark chocolate !)

    • Sugar is a modern toxin, see the website for Dr Michael Mosley on the blood sugar diet, we have a world wide epidemic of diabetes caused by sugar. I have a friend who is an industrial chemist and he has sent me a list of the 1000 or so names that appear on labels that mean sugar, but don’t use the word sugar – look it up and be amazed !

  16. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog and find it fascinating! I’m bookmarking it right now.

    I’m in the process of losing weight but definitely do not have the time to devote the energy you are (plus I cook just for me…well mainly for me, and my roommates when they grab my leftovers).

    HOWEVER with money being tight for so many people around the world I’m just wondering if you’re finding that you’re spending more or less money on groceries since you’re following this new diet?

    Keep it up, I look forward to following your own journey while I go on mine. 🙂

  17. <>

    I apologize for taking so long in response, I only have intermittent internet access.

    This year we grew lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, green and red peppers, jalapenos, zucchini and butternut squash. We had the most unseasonable weather and a TON of rain so everyone had mixed results with their gardens. I didn’t get nearly as much as I normally would have during typical seasons. I did get a TON of tomatoes.

    I think the improvements we’ve seen have been subtle, and we notice mostly when we go off track. We have some family staying with us starting last week, and my nephew has to use a special cream for his ear since he has an itching issue with it, and he has not used his cream once all week! That is a very noticeable improvement.

    We’re not even doing the Feingold program strictly, we are simply making scratch meals. It’s a ton of work but it’s worth it! I am blessed enough to stay home and homeschool our children, we have 3 in school and the younger 3 at home, so that certainly helps. I can imagine as we slowly make more changes we can expect even better results.

    I have a child with PDD, but also one with ADD (not hyperactivity, just very very tough for him to focus and he is often in the “zone”–so much so that he actually came out “borderline PDD” on the forms the teacher filled out last year for his psychologist. I don’t believe he is on the spectrum but his ADD is so pronounced it can seem it at times) I have heard the improvements in learning and school work often take a bit more time to come around.

  18. I love your blog, and am eagerly awaiting the mock banana…(I can’t imagine what it is).

    I wish you all the luck in the world for your goals.


    • Hey Nadine thanks for your comment and kind words- I have seriously meant to do the MOCK BANANA for an age….my video camera is poised as I want to try it out on my kids and capture their honest reaction- will it taste like banana or not?? I promise to get this done soon…..first I have to bribe my kids… C xx

      • On mock banana spread. There was documentary on recently looking back at the career of Stanley Baxter. Apparently he loved the cinema I always sneaked a snack in with him – his favourite mashed banana sandwiches. His mother revealed the secret when he was out of short trousers when he declared to her that he preferred his bananas in a sandwich to the whole fruit she offered him. I wonder how many kids were fooled by their mums when bananas were unavailable ?

  19. Pingback: The 1940’s Experiment- Four months on « The 1940's Experiment

  20. Hi- have brought this section up to date this morning and have a number of new recipes to add this week so check back (will be on front page of blog too)



  21. Page now updated. 30 recipes recreated in total so far- only another 70 to go!

    If you have a wartime recipe you’d like to see re-created please let me know and I’ll try to oblige.

    OK- must fly- gotta go to work!

    C xx

  22. I am having soooooooo much fun reading all your posts, comments , recipes etc. I am fast thinking this is one real good idea. Thanx!

    • Thanks Rebecca! I think so! I like the fact that

      a) Am losing weight IF I control my portion size of stuff like bread and custard (yep I sneak way too much of that stuff!)
      b) Its saves me money (cut all modern junk food and drinks out of your life apart from your sweet/candy ration, and you’ll find you save a ton of money)

      it isn’t easy being surrounded by modern yummies that lick your face as you pass them in the store and I have succumbed occasionally (only human- although that is in doubt at certain times of the month) but sticking to this way of eating is making me feel better.

      Thanks so much for reading

      C xxx

  23. The people who lived on rations also led very active lives. There were no washing machines or vacuum cleaners for ordinary people. Lots of walking was done and on top of a ten hour working day people tended their gardens and allotments.

    Many also had other duties after work – depending on age. Fire watching, air raid warden, home guard, people took on evacuees with all the extra work children bring. Women were conscripted into factories for the war effort.

    This is why people were thin, fit and healthy, which was just as well because there was no health service and doctors were in short supply on the home front. Loads of calories were burnt doing all that needed to be done.

    My mother was conscripted into a factory making parts for guns. One night a week she worked as a volunteer on the local railway station giving tea and refreshments to the many trains of servicemen. Those going back after leave who had no money were not left with no tea, snacks and cigarettes. Mum would go back to work straight from the station. She was also expected to help on the allotment in her spare time.

    There were many poor people who benefitted from rationing as it was the first time they had a good balanced diet. It was not allowed not to take your rations. Children’s health and the infant mortality rate dropped dramatically as a result of the rationing of food.

    Although people grumbled about rationing, it did give a feeling that everyone was pulling together, in the same boat. Although my grandmother would not be persuaded that the royal Family lived on rations!

    • Loved reading your comment Isabelle…. our grandmothers and mothers worked incredibly hard. I think keeping very busy and all working together helped people get through this awful period of time. Yes we live quite sedentary lives in comparison now…..

      C xx

      • do you have a recipe for a genuine ww2 Christmas pudding please . my grandmother was only a young girl at the time and doesn’t remember how her mother did it.its for my daughter and her school friends as there topic is ww2 .xx

    • My mum volunteered for work in a munitions factory as soon as recruits were advertised for, she was only just 18. She had, until then, been in domestic service (in Edinburgh) , I still have a copy of the references she was given by her employer when she left to “do her bit” for the war effort. She was posted to Frobisher Hall in Staffordshire for the duration of the war where they worked in 3 shifts on a full 24 hour schedule to keep the factory at full production and as they were boarded on the factory site they were on call 24/7. Quite an adventure when she had never been more then 20 miles from home at that time. Her 4 sisters were WAAFs, working in a 24 hour canteen for RAF officers on Princes Street, Edinburgh for the duration of the war. Her eldest brother (Tony) was captured at Dunkirk and was force marched to Poland where their POW camp was situated, none of the family recognised him when he came home as he was as thin as a rake, and that was after they fed him up before discharging him.

  24. “all working together ”

    Something else that is sadly lacking from our society these days…it’s all me, me. me and myself now…………

    or may be I am just gettng old!

    Jenn as far as I am aware ADD or ADHD as it’s also know as is on the spectrum

  25. I’ve just finished a huge GCSE courswork project about this, and I’m so frustrated I didn’t find this website sooner!
    My project centred around how changing the modern diet to reflect aspects of the Second World War rationed diet could improve health, and you certainly seem to be proving me right here, haha.
    As far as recipes go, I’m very keen for you to try the ‘eggless mayonnaise’. It’s… delightful. I can provide a recipe, if you dare try it.
    Good luck with the rest of your recipes!

  26. I am so glad I found this site. I had an idea of doing something like this for a while myself for pretty much the same reasons as you ( weight gain + weirdness = brilliant ideas ).

    My own weight struggle had lead me a few years ago to becoming diabetic, which lead me to a nutrionist who told me to ease up on the carbs. Sounds manageable. Then my paycheck-already small- began to shrink even more and I began having to feed my family ( a mother and brother, both on disability) from the “low-income” lines. You know what they serve there? Pasta, Lasagna, rice, and everything else that was on my “you shouldn’t be eating all this” list. Plus some shelf milk and a can of green beans. Going by what I’ve read in many “cooking on a budget” cookbooks, that’s standard fare. Faced with a choice between eating that or letting my brother “grocery shop” ( instant pasta and cheeses/ burgers and fries 4 days a week, Chinese fast food 1 day, pizza and breadsticks the next, Mexican take-out the next. Dont forget the sodas.) I researched living like this. After all, people during this time period managed to live fine with a little money, and without turning needing to add “yes I’d like fries with that.” to everything they ate. So I’ve been trying it and so far so good ( though I did give in on buy chocolate that was on sale extra cheap, it’s been squirreled away as a extra special treat )

    What I’d like to know is how do you manage when you go out to eat? It’s one thing going grocery shopping (or worse. I’m trying to follow your lead, but I work in retail…in the market section… putting things in freezers. Sometimes it’s like the toaster pastries are mocking me. ) But when going out with friends, co-workers, or family do you find yourself looking at the menus and thinking “Okay. It’s the 1940’s. Everybody’s rationing. What’s on this menu that wouldn’t shock my grandmother?’ ” (For example. Ketchup/catsup/that-gooey-red-stuff has been around since 1897 at least, but how much was available and would you be encouraged to use it?)

  27. Fabulous blog…just found it. Haven’t time now to read properly because I’m off to rehearse for our 40’s Blitz party night in London N8. BUT I’m responsible for food at this event. Really think spam sandwiches a big turn off but just made my mum’s date loaf, which I think was a wartime recipe. Incredibly easy, keeps well and nutritious…have you come acrossd this at all? maybe its 10 years later….must run….please reply if you have any ideas and DO come along if you live around the area!

    • WW2 Date Loaf recipe from my mum’s recipe note book:
      (note all dates, as is butter for best results, but a make do &and mend mind set rules here. Pre soak dried fruit in cold tea, drain before use and use water as ingredient water)
      620g chopped dates (or 1/2 n 1/2 dates and mxd dried fruits)
      275g butter (or margarine)
      275g water
      1 can (440g) condensed milk (WW2 staple)
      300g self raising flour (not plain flour)
      1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      1 tbl ginger marmalade (or marmalade and ground ginger to taste)
      Preheat oven to 170oc, line & prep an 8″ tin or load pan. Put fruit, butter, water & condensed milk in a pan then slowly bring to a boil whilst stirring, constantly. Reduce to a simmer for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool, when cool enough for a finger test then stir in the marmalade. Sift the dry ingredients together then incorporate into the cooled mixture, transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 1 3/4 hours. It may need to be covered with parchment if it colours heavily. Test with a skewer, then when cooked through allow the cake to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack till cold. When cold remove the paper. Serve thinly sliced with butter.

  28. Hi
    I would love to follow this idea, I really need to lose weight (am at least 10 stone overweight) but nothing seems to be working for me at the moment. I think this would be great but I also have to cook for my hubby who is a typical man so difficult to cater for (unless it is sweet or meat) and we are living on a pension so money is always tight. Have you worked out a way of cooking for the family without complaints, lol. If so, please share, also could you please publish the full weekly ration for the times

  29. Hiya Carolyn

    Just found this website – its fantastic. Well done. you look great! Keep up the good work…

  30. love your blog! have you ever watched bbc’s foyle’s war, got me interested in what life was like during rationing and all that. which led me here!

  31. Heya.
    I’m myself from England so I hopefully could shed a light on some things here. For one curry (very popular over here,yes) but it was not an essential part of the war effort, due to lack of spices etc beiong imported. A lot of food import was stopped during WW2 so hence the lack of exotic spices/flavourings in recipies. In England we had the saying “make do”, where we used what we could and mended what was broken.
    I hope this helps answer a few questions.

  32. Pingback: The Kitchen Front, Part One: Carrot Cookies | Memoranda

  33. Its commendable, not to say ever so slightly weird, to embark this sort of thing- you must be so dedicated.

    I’ve read the comments on here and i must say many seem to only want to write about the positive side of wartime rationing.

    I’m British, and i remember my nan and grandad telling me about the food (my grandfather had worked for the food company Crosses and Blackwell prior to the war and was a quartermaster (doling out the food) during his service time in Greece) rationing and they most certainly did not have all good things to say!

    My nan was always keen to remind everyone when rationing was discussed that although you have a ration book for a certain amount of food, it DID NOT mean you could get the food. Fresh meat was rare and often unpalatable, vegetables were extremely seasonal and hard to get, fruit was almost none existent etc, etc, etc …

    What i most remember from my nan was that she said the photos of the time simply didn’t show how bad everyone’s skin was and how lank their hair was because of the lack of nutrients they were getting. My nan said people had sores, often got colds- let’s not forget fuel was scarcer too- and no-one was all that healthy.

    Today you can follow a ration diet, but you can choose to do a recipe and find any of the fresh ingredients available at any time. You can choose a to do a lighter, summery dish in the winter should you choose, but remember they could not.

    My nan lived in both the city and the countryside during the war with her daughter (my aunt who was born in 1943) and it made a real difference to the food you could get.

    Having said all that, many of the poorest people of Britain ate better during rationing than prior to it- its documented just how shocked Armed Forces doctors really were about the nutriently difficient the young men of Britain. I know that my nan said prior to the mid-1930s they often went to bed hungry (my nan was born in 1914).

    On a final note of gloom and doom- lets not forget that rationing in Britain lasted into the 1950s, in the case of some items, rationing lasted for 13 years. I’m sure living on such a constrained diet was tedious and wearing, especially after the war ended.

    Oh, by the way have you ever tried Piccalilly? Yes its disgusting in colour, texture and the choice of ingredients, but is certainly hot… oh and its disgusting in taste. One thing my grandad said was available as flavouring was Coleman’s mustard powder (one of the colours in Piccalilly) and this is something to be used sparingly as its as hot as a chilli.

    Good luck!

  34. I found out about your blog only this morning. I was skimming through it and I saw a recipe that I want to try. It involved toast, cheese and mashed potatoes. I can’t find it now that I have time to write it down. Can you help me out?

    • This may be what you are looking for. The cheese ration was very small and I can remember my mother boiling and mashing a potato, adding grated cheese, salt and pepper , before piling it over hot toast, then grilling it until well browned.

    • I think what you are looking for is the Potato Rarebit? The recipe is towards the bottom of the list above. I hope this helps.

  35. I discovered your website yesterday. I’ve always been fascinated by WWll recipes and rationing. I saw your recipes and noticed that the Beef Bourguignon 1940′s Ration Style recipe didn’t have the finished Method posted. Can you tell me what it is. When will you be posting the rest of the recipes? I can’t wait to see them!

  36. Hi,
    I work as a cook in a residential home, on the 3rd for february we will be having a 1940’s tea party. i would like to thank you for all the great resipes on this website.

  37. Hi Carolyn
    Do keep up with this challenge and thanks for posting all your recipes here.

    I did finish typing up my mother’s notes from WW2, and now have bought a few books on this topic.

    Some of them are:
    Victory Cookbook & Feeding the Nation by Marguerite Pattern OBE
    These two cookbooks have all recipes from We’ll Eat Again, The Victory Cookbook and Post-War Kitchen in both. I did buy Post-War Kitchen one but as I had it in these books, I donate it to our local council library as they didn’t have any of them in their libraries.

    Eating for Victory and Make Do and Mend
    Which are reproductions of official Second World War instruction leaflets.

    Yesterday I found another one from this period

    Food Facts for Kitchen Front
    Reproduced from the original 1941 edition it’s printed just like cookbooks from that period
    I haven’t had time to read it yet but it look like a few different recipes there.


  38. Hi …………During the war years my granny used to make some home made sor of toffee. It used dried eggs, dried milk and some other ingreadients and was flovoured with peppermint, rolled flat ans cut into pieces, itwas like a fudge sweet………..can anybody remember it and if so can you tell me how it was made ………thanks Phil a was baby …………………..

    • A favoutie wartime treat was a paper poke [paper rolled into a narrow cone] filled with a mix of oatmeal and a very small amount of sugar. It was eaten by dipping a finger into the mix, a slow process that prolonged the treat.

  39. Hi …………During the war years my granny used to make some home made sort of toffee. It used dried eggs, dried milk and some other ingreadients and was flovoured with peppermint, rolled flat ans cut into pieces, it was like a fudge sweet………..can anybody remember it and if so can you tell me how it was made ………thanks Phil a war baby …………………..

      • Scottish Tablet recipe
        Ingredients (for 4 pounds/1.8kg tablet):
        Butter or margarine – half pound (225g)
        Sweetened condensed milk – one pound (450g)
        Castor sugar – 4 pounds (1.8kg)
        Water – 1 pint (half litre)

        Using a non-stick pan, put the water on a low heat and melt in the butter. Add the sugar and bring to the boil. It is important to keep stirring all the time. Once it is boiling, stir in the condensed milk and simmer for 20 minutes. Again, keep stirring to avoid it sticking/burning. Take off the heat and beat vigorously for five minutes, adding the flavouring of your choice. Pour into a rectangular greased tin and once it is partly cooled, cut into bars (roughly 5 inches long by 1/2 inches wide). Once the tablet is cold, wrap the bars in waxed paper and store in an airtight jar or tin.

    • No Cook Chocolate Fudge

      400ml tin condensed milk
      350gms chocolate (broken if in a bar)
      1 tsp vanilla extract (not essence)
      Optional fruits and/or nuts of choice
      8”x8” loned & buttered tin
      Warm the condensed milk in a pan with the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and any optional fruits or nuts you would like to add. Pour the mixture into the pan, smooth the top and allow to cool completely and set. Put a silicone sheet over the tin then a wire rack and flip the whole lot over to release the fudge from the pan. Remove the pan and the lining paper. Flip the fudge onto a chopping board and cut into shares. Eat plain or coat with chocolate.

  40. This is amazingly perfect for me. My class is doing a WW2 diet project for a week and these recipes will definitely help out!

  41. Hey, great to see you back at it! It’s funny, l took a break too but l am determined to see it through this year. I have found so much more information on the Dig for Victory campaign and even some old film of the great man himself, Mr Middleton. Call by sometime and good luck for the future.

  42. I was tickled to find this site, since I have been reading diaries from this era. I shall have to give this a try.

  43. You know, it is funny. I grew up on a farm in Northern Maine, and we ate a lot like this for many years because we were rather poor. Who knew we were living healthier then than in decades to come…that was the 1960’s.

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  45. Hi, I’m not sure if you’re still going, but found this all v interesting as I’m about to start a similar experiment. What interests me is the number of puddingy recipes – suspect these were a way of alleviating the monotony of the main courses. We’ve just got 3 chickens which are about to come into lay, so I’ll be supplementing with my own eggs – something we were all encouraged to do (my grandfather,father in law, next door neighbour and several other people I know of that generation all kept layer chickens, who were also rationed so any scraps went to feeding the chicks. After they’d dropped off egg laying they’d be destined for the pot – needless to say I shan’t be doing that with my girls!)

  46. to many additives and e nos in our food today as kids we were outside running around, to much tv computer and junk food no interacting

  47. i’d recommend Farmhouse Fare the wartime editions, recipes from the Farmhouse Weekly if you grow tons of veg its brilliant , National Mark Calendar of Cooking any edition 30s through to 50s produced by the Ministry of Agriculture. , rationing still went on after the war and the recipes reflect this.

  48. Hi,
    I love your idea of a 1940’s rationing diet. In talking to my Granny it was mentioned that during the war food rationing helped, but many things Granny couldn’t get, and her husband (who died in the war) would be expected to eat on base and not at home, so she had to save her rations for meat and such for when he could come home on the weekends. She also said that everyone could grow carrots, but not many other vegetables if they were in the city and didn’t have a large garden space. Another thing… she ate cottage cheese and tomatoes for lunch everyday, it was not rationed and easily to get. Most of her rations went to taking care of her new baby, her dying mother, so she ate little bits through out the day. I have heard that this grazing way of eating helps keep your blood sugar level and your able to burn fat easier. It was hard, but at 87 she is still going just like the little blue engine.

    • Hi Debbie! Hehehe nice to meet a fellow partner in crime!!! It’s a fascinating topic though isn’t it… kinda makes you realize how little we need in the way of basic necessities in reality… problem is we are surrounded by so much choice! I’d love to hear how you are getting on with this! c xxx

  49. Pingback: 100 Wartime Recipes « The 1940′s Experiment « Our World at Your Table

  50. Such a great idea!!
    You should try finding a recipe for national loaf or wheaties. Because most breakfast cereals were imported, 1940s housewives made ‘wheaties’ out of cubes of stale bread and ate them in a bowl with milk like cereal!

    I was intrigued and inspired to try living a wartime ration lifestyle firstly to see what is was like and what you can come up with and also to lose weight as a bonus nd hopefully save money too
    . I grew up in UK but now live in New Zealand in a town that grows a lot of potatoes, onions and Kumara (sweet potato). So unlike 1940s I often have a pantry full of onions and wish there was a creative thrifty recipe to include them! (in ware time they were so rare, onions got raffled off for the equivalent of hundreds of dollars apparently)

    Have been tempted to have ‘potato sandwiches today though!!

  51. I’ve been enjoying this blog for a few days now but I’ve come to realise how lucky I am – I’ve discovered that I was brought up on a wartime diet and then just carried on and fed my children on it too! I’m glad it has a name! I’ve never really understood why people bother with highly processed foods, and I now realise that this is because I’ve never had much to do with them. Ignorance is bliss eh?
    I certainly don’t need to lose weight but actually this is the ideal diet for everyone, especially those who can’t / can’t afford to go shopping or who hate shopping like I do.

  52. Thank you. This blog is a great source of information. I’m writing a novel that is set in WW2 and need to make a meal between a newly married couple in the kitchen of their new home authentic. Thank you to everyone for writing down their experiences, in what they cooked and the recipes they used – especially the infomation about the lack of onions, which I had forgotten. Best wishes, Madalyn

    • That sounds great Madalyn! Yes if people were buying and not growing vegetables, onions were not in plentiful supply so many recipes use leeks instead.C xxx

  53. My mother used to make chocolate spread during the war. (There were 8 of us) She used dried milk, castor sugar, cocoa, vanilla, warm water, melted marg. BUT I don’t know if she heated it up or not. She never did write instructions down. Has anyone heard of this? I would love to know if this should be boiled or if it should be mixed only as I normally do.

  54. After going through most of the recipes I have to say I do believe it was a very healthy diet, much less sugar than today’s processed foods and recipes too. Also, I don’t think fats were overused. Looking forward to trying many of these recipes. Thanks so much.

  55. Came across this when I was looking for Victory Hamburgers. During WWII my church had a food tent at the county fair in Hillsdale, Michigan. One of the things they served was Victory Hamburgers which were just Sloppy Joes made with hamburg. They may have served other foods with “winning names” I was born in 1940 so I do not remember a lot about the war other than everyone had a Victory Garden and some boys from our town died.

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  57. Get outta town! Well done you! I am the size of a house, and have a lot of health issues (cancer, etc., I must be the only guy who got fat cancer LOL!) I was reading this diet and with all my intestinal problems it is actually more easily digestible, I think I will give it a whirl.
    Keep up the good work, thanks for responding and posting the recipes. You should put together a book!

  58. Hi … I will create 1 wartime recipe for every lb I lose and my aim is to lose 100 lbs within one year. I’ve lost about 52 lbs and created 60 something recipes so am on track…

    Keep checking back as I have new recipes going up all the time..

    In reality I think there will be way more than 100 by October 1st 2012

    C xxxx

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  63. I’m playing devil’s advocate today with this recipe…

    This fudge was made by the women back home to ship to their men serving over seas during WWII. I’ve seen several recipes for this fudge, this one uses few ingredients and produces a very good treat. I make it at Christmas and everyone loves it.

    Soldier’s Fudge

    8×8 square pan. Trim wax paper to fit the width of the pan, leaving enough length to hang over the sides used to lift out the fudge.

    1 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
    1 12oz bag chocolate chips ( I prefer semi-sweet)
    2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    Optional Ingredients:
    nuts, fruit, (dried cherries work well), marshmellows. Different extracts work well also, orange is a good one, or mint, whatever you want to use.

    Put squares of baking chocolate in a pan and melt on the lowest setting on the burner. A double boiler will work also. When melted, add the chocolate chips. Melt the chips slowly, stirring constantly. When the chocolate is completely melted, add the milk, stirring to mix it in well and let it heat through.
    Remove from heat and mix in vanilla. At this point you can add any optional ingredients you wish to use.
    Quikly pour into prepared pan and let it cool completely. Lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into squares…then enjoy!

    • I have contributed a few confectionery recipes from my childhood (born 1954) to this site using potatoes as the main starch, but seeing your fudge recipe with condensed milk has reminded me of the ones I made with my mum using mainly condensed milk. Here are some to make to eat or to give for Christmas.

      To make “Bounty Bars” work as much sifted icing sugar as you can manage into condensed milk (about the stiffness of Plasticine), roll out, cut into bars, dust with sifted icing sugar and dry out for a few hours then coat with chocolate. We liked to add some pineapple, coconut, raspberry or cherry essence to the mixture to ring the changes. Give it a try but don’t use a whole tin to begin with, just experiment with 1/4 or 1/2 a tin or you might pig out.

      You can still buy the coffee or caramel condensed milk and these also make good confectionery treats, just work in as much sifted icing sugar to the condensed milk as you can (about the stiffness of Plasticine), roll out, cut into bars, dust with sifted icing sugar and dry out for a few hours then coat with chocolate. Walnuts are nice with the coffee flavour and cashews or chopped roasted peanuts go well with the caramel flavour – as does dried fruit.

  64. Wow this is amazing. It will be interesting to see if this is actually healthy though. It’s one thing to lose weight another to do it healthily!

  65. Have you seen ‘The Supersizers’ series? They did a WWII ration-diet week, and both presenters were healthier at the end according to their post-diet checkups. My husband and I do WWII Home Guard (Perthshire and Hampshire)/American brigade impressions, so we are always looking for more information. I would love to buy more WWII-era ladies’ magazines and cookbooks, though I do have my husband’s grandmother’s Mrs. Beeton’s that included some wartime recipe clippings. Thanks for all of the helpful hints and recipes.

  66. Hi there 🙂 These are wartime rations from the UK but in the book I am writing I’ll be incorporating info, from a historical perspective and will include allowances from other countries too

    Here is the weekly ration allowance for one adult in the 1940’s… (remember that in addition to this people were encouraged to incorporate lots of fruit and veggies into their diets and grow even more in their back gardens!)

    Weekly ration for 1 adult

    Bacon & Ham 4 oz
    Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb minced beef)
    Butter 2 oz
    Cheese 2 oz
    Margarine 4 oz
    Cooking fat 4 oz
    Milk 3 pints
    Sugar 8 oz
    Preserves 1 lb every 2 months
    Tea 2 oz
    Eggs 1 fresh egg per week
    Sweets/Candy 12 oz every 4 weeks
    In addition to this a points system was put in place which limited your purchase of tinned or imported goods. 16 points were available in your ration book for every 4 weeks and that 16 points would enable you to purchase for instance, 1 can of tinned fish or 2lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of split peas.

  67. I have a question about a war time meal…In researching what the people were eating during WWII I keep seeing a reference to potato sandwiches. Is there a recipe for this or was it just mashed potatoes on bread?
    I’ve been doing this diet for a couple of months and have tried many of the recipes you have posted…all of them very good. But I’m looking for some more variety and would like to try the potato sandwich.
    I’ve lost a little bit of weight but won’t know how much until next month when I go to my doctors, I don’t have access to a scale. Thanks, Sue

    • I find the BBC’s Peoples War section really useful http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/58/a8874958.shtml to read about people’s real homefront experiences

      QUOTE “Luckily my Mum was a good cook. She cooked us plain and simple food that tasted delicious. Some of the food I particularly remember was Ox tail or rabbit soup with pearl barley. I seem to remember it lasting a long time possibly all week. It was reheated with different vegetables added from time to time depending on what she could get and it was always bubbling away on the black grate cooking range. Didn’t do us any harm and I remember it tasted delicious. You knew what you were eating in those days. No additives or fancy ingredients.
      I also remember mashed potato spread on bread to make a sandwich — lovely. We didn’t go in for fancy puddings but her bread pudding was wonderful.”……

      Good luck Sue!!

      C xx

  68. Thanks Carolyn, I had seen the BBC’s People’s War site before but missed the stories on the food. I’ll check that out.
    For the potato sandwiches I just made a batch of eggless mayonnaise, added some diced celery and different spices and Bob’s your uncle….potato sandwich. It was rather good actually.
    Something else I finally tried was Skelly. They had served it in the communal restaurants in Great Britain. I had the recipe but to be quite frank…it looked disgusting, like throw-up in a pot. But, once I got passed the looks of it, it was really quite tasty. So there’s another one I’ll be making again.
    Take care and keep up the good work. Or should that be Keep Calm and Carry On?!

  69. Hi, we lived on war rations for 6 years and thoroughly enjoyed it – had no choice at the time. It is so engrained in us now we still use similar rations. We incorporate them currently into pro point recipes which we also love.

  70. hi i am from England and for over 10yrs have developed I.B.S it as caused me a lot of problems such as weight gain, intolerences to certain foods that i just cannot put my fingers on i have tried gluten-free diets ,also dairy- free diets they all work for a while but i seem to lose interest after a while and want to eat the rubbish that you get (fast foods ) can i use a 40’s diet and use gluten free flour and soya milk but come to think of it i have started to eat everything with gluten and dairy in and just kept to the soya milk and i feel fine do you think they put something in the fresh milk today !

    • Look at the following website set up by Dr Michael Mosley and Newcastle University, UK. Peolpe having bariatic surgery who were also diabetic no longer needed medication after surgery. This led (eventually) to the conclusion that the initial weight gain (the reason for the surgery) was the high sugar diet the patients had been ingesting that was the culprit – not fat.


      Excerpt from the website, quote: “ach of us is different and no one diet is going to work for everyone, so this is not a single diet, but a set of options. The Blood Sugar Diet is based on eating a low carbohydrate Mediterranean style diet. This contains few refined, starchy carbohydrates (because these convert rapidly to sugar in your blood), lots of green and coloured vegetables, plenty of protein and, you may be pleased to hear, it also includes moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and even some dairy products such as full fat unsweetened yoghurt to keep you feeling full for longer.”

      My partner has cancer and diabetes so we both went on the eating plan and it’s worked for us. His blood sugar is normal, no need for medication. I was 110kg and now stable at 91kg. The whole eating plan isn’t far removed from the WW2 ration recipes on this site, so give it a go and see if it helps your IBS, anything is better than doing nothing.

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  72. I’m 12 weeks pregnant but I have been eating rubbish out of convenience and feel like rubbish for it. My husband has gone out in sympathy and also looks 12 weeks pregnant LOL. I try to give my 2.5 year old a good evening meal with some form of meat and veg most nights, but I know we’re not setting a very good example by eating take away twice a week either.
    Am going to try a week of this, making sure I get enough fruit and veg (don’t want to starve my unborn), and hopefully my husband and I will be feeling better for it.

  73. I’ve now updated this page and now we are up to 77 re-created wartime recipes… please share! C xxx

  74. I’m glad I’m not the only one to have tried this! We’re in England and have a large family (7 children), unfortunately, rubbish quality food is more affordable (obviously) than the better quality stuff, and I worry that I’m setting my children up to follow me into obesity!

    I do love doing the older recipes, but my husband and 2 of my children are incrediably fussy eaters, refusing fruit, veg and anything with a sauce/gravy…which rules out the majority of decent food. I go shopping with all the right intentions, but by the time I’ve brought the unavoidable essentials (like loo roll), i can’t afford ‘real’ meat or even corned beef, and end up with smartprice sausages again!

    Right now we are (slowly) turning our front and back gardens into a mini allotment/kitchen garden, my hope is, that not only will this provide us with low cost fruit and veg, but also if the children help with planting, watering and harvesting then they may be more inclined to eat the fruit and veg too! The stuff I’ve grown in the past tastes so different to the shop brought version – i honestly thought I didn’t like carrots, until I tied a home grown one! I have to admit, I have changed my ideals from trying to grow what I eat, to eating whatever I can grow! I just can’t manage to get parsnips to germinate! I would be very interested in any old recipes for ‘native’ fruit and veg (as they tend to be easier to grow, although I’m aware ‘native’ is a relative term!).

    The local secondary school was having a clear out when demolishing an old part of the building to upgrade their facilities, and they discovered some old journals dating back to pre-war. Some of the more interesting enteries are from during the wartime, with the children going out en mass to pick blackberries in the local hedgerows…they used the blackberries to make jam and sold it to help with school funds! They also turned the playing fields into a vegetable garden and the children all had to spend some time working in it each week! I think teens today would scream of illegal child labour nowadays, but it seems to have been fully accepted back then. The veg was used to supply the school kitchen, but I don’t know if that was for childrens’ dinners, staff meals or both.

    An interesting thing I have noticed for myself, is that if I work in the garden, even just weeding for 20 minutes, my swollen legs go down significantly over night that night.I have high BP, and no meds were working to stabilise my BP and water retention means my feet and legs are always swollen. Walking makes them worse, as does standing for long periods of time…yet time pottering around in amongst what fruit and veg we have so far seems to be helping more than my GP can (he’s basically told me to lose weight or die and washed his hands of me). I can’t help but think some of the nation’s health during WWII must have been to do with the time the people had to spend in their veg patch or allotment, and if other schools were making the children help (I doubt our school was the only one), then it would have applied to children as adults.

    Anyway, I’m going to try some of the recipes and see if I can get the family interested! By the way, are you using dried eggs as part of your diet, or substituting them for the equivalent in real ones? If you’re using dried ones, where on earth do you get them from?!

    • One, on parsnips – the seed must be fresh or just forget it.

      Two, on gardening – a known and attested relaxation technique, lowers BP and anxiety – ask anyone who is a fan of Gardener’s World or The Beechgrove Garden.

      Three, on eggs – no difference on the nutritional value but fresh eggs are cheaper and more versatile.

      Four, on an eating plan or diet Look at the following website set up by Dr Michael Mosley and Newcastle University, UK. Peolpe having bariatic surgery who were also diabetic no longer needed medication after surgery. This led (eventually) to the conclusion that the initial weight gain (the reason for the surgery) was the high sugar diet the patients had been ingesting that was the culprit – not fat.

      Five, you could always go for the take it ir leave it plan for those picky eaters. Make one meal and if they don’t like it then they can lump it. Meat everyday seems to be what is expected now, but it is not necessary. Cheaper cuts cooked ina slow cooker is the only solution for the carnovores who will not accept veggies alone – and a slow cooker saves on electricity too, a double bonus.

  75. Have just found this blog. How interesting!! Was looking because I have been thinking of doing a WWII Ration Food Plan experiment myself. Still in the research and, OH MY COULD I POSSIBLY DO THIS, stages of planning. Just watched The Supersizers Go AGAIN–this one was the war ration times and, realized as I was watching it, there is TONS of evidence that during this time of ration, people lost weight and became more healthy. Wondered if I could be motivated enough to stick with it simply because of the theme. I am from the the US, have an aunt from the UK, and the UK seems like home to me when I visit there. Maybe that’s part of it, too. Thank you so much for this tailor-made site. You, your dedication and your work on this site is inspiring!!

    • OMG!! I moved to Canada in 2004 and don’t have cable or satellite TV so I had never heard about “The Supersizers Go”…. I looked on YouTube and found the wartime one and watched it all into the early hours of the morning. It was such a hoot and informative in a fun way- LOVED IT!!! I’ll embed the videos on my blog so others can enjoy them!!!

      Now tonight I’m going to cook a Woolton Pie again- this time the pastry version one (the one I recreated for the blog last time was based on the Savoy Hotel recipe (it was a little posher with white sauce and piped mashed potato on top)… I’m craving a big piece of pie with gravy!!!

      Please let me know how you get on and if you try it at all..

      It was interesting to see the difference just a week made by them eating 1940s

      C xxxxx

  76. how can I unsubscribe & have my email address removed from wordpress? I’ve clicked onto “unsubscribe” & get taken to the wordpress “subscribe” page instead.

    • Did you want to unsubscribe from my blog? Let me know and I’ll take a look and see if I can unsubscribe you… or are you wanting to unsubscribe from WordPress completely? I’m not sure on that one but I’ll certainly see if I can find out for you later this evening when I have some free time

      C xxx

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  78. Hi Carolyn! love this blog… cant wait for the book!! quick question…. Do you think you will stay on rations and this type of diet / way of eating indefinitely?

    • I will ABSOLUTELY take the concept of eating simply, locally and with very few processed foods in my life forward and will continue to still keep cooking recipes and keep updating my blog…however I will not live 100% 1940s as there are so many wonderful vegan dishes I am desperate to try and I do miss some of the more spicy ethnic dishes.

      The whole idea was to try and stick to an authentic wartime ration diet for a while year to see what effect it had on my health and my weight, I’m going to have blood work done at the end of it too and see what the difference is.. I’ve managed to do that with only a handful of days in the year where I decided to have a day off such as our vegan potluck where I worked plus Christmas (although I have to say that what I had on Christmas day was pretty much what was available in the 1940s!)

      I’ve loved doing this and in many ways don’t want to give it up so I’ll definitely continue in part and use the lessons I have learned to get to my ultimate weight loss goal xxxx

  79. Pingback: A Day in the Life 1940 « Appletree Days

  80. My flatmate absolutely loves vintage things and so to celebrate her birthday we decided to throw her a surprise Blitz party where we get dressed up, blackout the windows, listen to 1940’s music and have a few rationing treats and I searched high and low on the internet for recipes but yours were both the most numerous and the most delicious looking. Thanks to you my flatmate will have a birthday to remember and I can surprise my gran with a few of her childhood meals. Thanks so much for posting the blog.

  81. Pingback: General update on recipes, weight loss and making do… « The 1940's Experiment

  82. Great site. Have you heard of depression cakes? Trying to remember the recipe my mother-in-law showed me years over 20 years ago. It was a tea biscuit type bread with currants.

  83. Hi Carolyn, have you ever tried making parsley honey (aka heather honey)? It was used in the WWII as a substitute for bee honey. It also tastes delicious, can be used as a tonic and and an aid to digestion. If you’re interested in the recipe, let me know.

    • I think you may be confusing ‘parsley honey’ with herb jellies which are a UK accompaniment to meats, especially game. It’s really just herb flavoured sugar and water, thickened with pectin or fruit juces laden with pectin, just as, for example, mint jelly, chilli jam, rowan jelly, cimberland sauce, red currant jelly etc.

      “Heather honey” is nectar, gathered by bees from heather flowers, then turned into honey in a hive. Definately not not ‘man made’.

      Alternatively it could be a colloquialism used in WW2 perhaps ?

  84. Hi Carolyn

    Here’s the recipe. The measurements are in “UK measurements”.

    Parsley Honey (aka mock Heather Honey)

    5 oz Parsley (roughly chopped including stalks)
    1 lb Sugar (more if you are using unrefined sugar)
    1.5 pints water
    1/2 tsp vinegar (distilled white vinegar is best)

    Boil the water in a pan and then add the parsley. Continue to boil until the amount of liquid has reduced to one pint. At this point take the pan off the heat and strain the liquid into a container.

    You are going to use the boiled liquid so discard the rest of the parsley, preferably on the compost heap. Place the strained liquid into a clean pan and add the sugar.

    Boil this until the consistency is that of syrup. Then take off the boil, and add the vinegar. Don’t worry that it is still rather liquid. Pour into jars, and let them cool overnight. The next morning the liquid will have gelled.

    Apparently, the flavour is similar to that of heather honey, but it is very delicate, whilst it leaves a lasting aftertaste. Very enjoyable, and cheap!

    Bev xx

    PS: I am also sending you a link to a free online wartime cookbook called the “War Economy Recipe Book” – from NZ. It’s mainly to do with baking, but I’m sure you can Carolynise it – hehehe. http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WarEcon.html

  85. Hi Carolyn, I know the parsley honey recipe does say refined sugar (as it was WWII) but feel free to replace the sugar for a healthier substitute. Bev xxx

    • Hi Bev

      Re a healthier substitute for sugar. Are you referring to honey ? if yes then I have to point out that (from a scientific viewpoint) honey is pure sugar & is no healthier than any other sugar.

  86. Hi, to all viewers, my mother was a great chef for several of these recipes,as she was in her early teens during ww2. She is now in her late 70’s but will still be willing to help everyone out there is is eager to make ww2 dishes but struggle with them.
    Cherly Lyoyd xoxoxoxoxoxox

  87. Hi, here is a recipe my Mum still makes. It is for boiled fruit cake:

    half pint of tea (water can be used instead)
    3oz of fat, marg or lard
    3oz caster sugar
    3oz any dried fruit
    10oz plain flour
    3 tsps baking powder
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    pinch of salt
    1 tsp mixed spice

    Heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6/Fan 180C. Put the tea, fat, sugar and fruit in a pan. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile mix together all the dried ingredients. Add the liquid and beat well. Pour into a greased cake tin. Place in over for 45 minutes. Turn heat to 190C/375F/Gas 6/Fan 170C and bake for a further 45 minutes. It is done when an inserted knife comes out clean.

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  91. would you like my recipe for war time deep fried chicken?? it uses ingredients from household rations and restaurant rations during ww2 ???

  92. Hi Carolyn,

    I know that you are big on organic and back-to-basics, and I was wondering if you ever used Speerville products in your recipes? If you have never heard of them, they are a flour mill in New Brunswick that stone grind all their own flours and source all kinds of local basics (from oats to dried beans). They have a large organic selection, and I find that when buying in bulk they are cheaper than the supermarkets.

    I don’t work for them, I just really like their products and it’s always good to support local. I live in PEI and we can readily buy small quantities in Superstore and Sobey’s, but we have organized a Speerville group to get them to deliver bulk items to the island for better selection and prices.

    I always think it’s worth considering for people like you who cook from scratch and are (like many of us!) on a budget.


    • i think i solved the kfc ingredients by accident useing some ingredients from war time rations packs issued to homes between 1940 and 44.

  93. Pingback: The Baking Revolution | the timewarpian

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  95. (September 2009)

    Lining up at the Rationing Board office, New Orleans, 1943Rationing is often instituted during wartime for civilians as well. For example, each person may be given “ration coupons” allowing him or her to purchase a certain amount of a product each month. Rationing often includes food and other necessities for which there is a shortage, including materials needed for the war effort such as rubber tires, leather shoes, clothing and gasoline.

    Military sieges often result in shortages of food and other essential consumables.

    The rations allocated to an individual are often determined based on age, sex, race or social standing. During the Siege of Lucknow in 1857 woman received three quarters the food ration a man received and children received only half.[4]:71 During the Siege of Ladysmith in 1900 white adults received the same food rations as soldiers while children received half that. Food rations for Indian people and Black people were significantly smaller.[5]:266-272

    Towards the end of the First World War, panic buying in the United Kingdom prompted rationing of first sugar, then meat, for the rest of the war. Rationing was common during World War II.

    Civilian peace time rationing of food may also occur, especially after natural disasters, during contingencies, or after failed governmental economic policies regarding production or distribution, the latter happening especially in highly centralized planned economies. Examples include the United Kingdom for almost a decade after the end of World War II, North Korea, China during the 1970s and 1980s, Communist Romania during the 1980s, the Soviet Union in 1990-1991, and Cuba today. This led to rationing in the Soviet Union, in Communist Romania, in North Korea and in Cuba, and austerity in Israel.

    [edit] United StatesThe United States did not have food rationing in World War I. Through slogans such as “Food Will Win the War”, “Meatless Mondays”, and “Wheatless Wednesdays”, the United States Food Administration under Herbert Hoover reduced national consumption by 15%.[6] In summer 1941 the British appealed to Americans to conserve food to provide more to go to Britons fighting in World War II. The Office of Price Administration warned Americans of potential gasoline, steel, aluminum, and electricity shortages.[7] It believed that with factories converting to military production and consuming many critical supplies, rationing would become necessary if the country entered the war. It established a rationing system after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[8]:133 Of concern for all parts of the country was a shortage of rubber for tires since the Japanese quickly conquered the rubber-producing regions of Southeast Asia.[9] Although synthetic rubber had been invented in the years preceding the war, it had been unable to compete with natural rubber commercially, so the USA did not have enough manufacturing capacity at the start of the war to make synthetic rubber. Throughout the war, rationing of gasoline was motivated by a desire to conserve rubber as much as by a desire to conserve gasoline.[9]

    “ We discovered that the American people are basically honest and talk too much. ”
    —A ration board member[8]:136

    Tires were the first item to be rationed by the OPA, which ordered the temporary end of sales on 11 December 1941 while it created 7,500 unpaid, volunteer three-person tire ration boards around the country. By 5 January 1942 the boards were ready. Each received a monthly allotment of tires based on the number of local vehicle registrations, and allocated them to applicants based on OPA rules.[8]:133 The War Production Board (WPB) ordered the temporary end of all civilian automobile sales on 1 January 1942, leaving dealers with one half million unsold cars. Ration boards grew in size as they began evaluating automobile sales in February (only certain professions, such as doctors and clergymen, qualified to purchase the remaining inventory of new automobiles), typewriters in March, and bicycles in May.[8]:124,133-135 Automobile factories stopped manufacturing civilian models by early February 1942 and converted to producing tanks, aircraft, weapons, and other military products, with the United States government as the only customer.[10] By June 1942 companies also stopped manufacturing for civilians metal office furniture, radios, phonographs, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and sewing machines.[8]:118,124,126-127

    Civilians first received ration books—War Ration Book Number One, or the “Sugar Book”—on 4 May 1942,[11] through more than 100,000 schoolteachers, PTA groups, and other volunteers.[8]:137 A national speed limit of 35 miles per hour was imposed to save fuel and rubber for tires.[9] Later that month volunteers again helped distribute gasoline cards in 17 Atlantic and Pacific Northwest states.[8]:138 To get a classification and rationing stamps, one had to appear before a local War Price and Rationing Board which reported to the OPA (which was jokingly said to stand for “Only a Puny A-card”). Each person in a household received a ration book, including babies and small children who qualified for canned milk not available to others. To receive a gasoline ration card, a person had to certify a need for gasoline and ownership of no more than five tires. All tires in excess of five per driver were confiscated by the government, because of rubber shortages. An “A” sticker on a car was the lowest priority of gasoline rationing and entitled the car owner to 3 to 4 gallons of gasoline per week. B stickers were issued to workers in the military industry, entitling their holder up to 8 gallons of gasoline per week. C stickers were granted to persons deemed very essential to the war effort, such as doctors. T rations were made available for truckers. Lastly, X stickers on cars entitled the holder to unlimited supplies and were the highest priority in the system. Ministers of Religion, police, firemen, and civil defense workers were in this category.[12] A scandal erupted when 200 Congressmen received these X stickers.[13]

    As of 1 March 1942, dog food could no longer be sold in tin cans, and manufacturers switched to dehydrated versions. As of 1 April 1942, anyone wishing to purchase a new toothpaste tube had to turn in an empty one.[8]:129-130 Sugar was the first consumer commodity rationed, with all sales ended on 27 April 1942 and resumed on 5 May with a ration of one half pound per person per week, half of normal consumption. Bakeries, ice cream makers, and other commercial users received rations of about 70% of normal usage.[11] Coffee was rationed nationally on 29 November 1942 to one pound every five weeks, about half of normal consumption, in part because of German U-boat attacks on shipping from Brazil.[14] By the end of 1942, ration coupons were used for nine other items.[8]:138 Typewriters, gasoline, bicycles, footwear, Silk, Nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, shortening and oils, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled, and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk, firewood and coal, jams, jellies, and fruit butter were rationed by November 1943.[15] Many retailers welcomed rationing because they were already experiencing shortages of many items due to rumors and panics, such as flashlights and batteries after Pearl Harbor.[8]:133

    Medicines such as penicillin were rationed by a triage committee at each hospital.

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  100. Hi Carolyn,
    I’m a vegetarian. Your meaty gravy isn’t. Have you ever made it with the ground meat soy that Yves makes? How did it turn out, if you did?

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  102. My daughter is doing world war 2 at school and shes asked if for the up coming school half term if we can eat like we are on rations. The recepies look brilliant and r far better than the likes of jamie oliver! If this gets my girls eating more veg then it cant b bad! Made the eggless fruit cake and eldest who doesnt eat fruit loved it! And a lot less marge in it. Thank u for sharing these!

  103. Only just discovered your lovely site. It’s fabulous, I love wartime rations and although not strictly, my children were brought up on very similar meals to these. They were never over weight and always very healthy.
    It is proper, sensible home cooking. I love it!
    Thankyou for inspiring me once again!

  104. I am always looking for wartime recipes, and have a number of books myself. I’ve also looked on the internet for some other recipes, but I’m having trouble finding them. they are just basic ideas from Nella Lasts dairies, and I was wondering if you might be able to help. I’ve only got 9 listed so far, as I haven’t finished reading the books yet, and I’ve only managed to find about 2 that basically match the recipes. the 2 I have are lemon whip & rice pudding done with evaporated milk. There is also an orange whip (which might be the same as the lemon – not sure), Viennese bread rolls, flat cake made with meat, queen cakes flavoured with rum, Vienna bread with rum and marzipan, Freddie Grisewood’s potato cakes, and a suet pudding that has:- suet, bread, candied peel, egg, sweetened bun flour (?), and sultanas.

    I do hope you can help me, or maybe someone visiting the site can help
    thank you

      • FAO Shirl
        “Creamola” is a trade name, it’s just finely ground rice (freely available) that is made as per porridge and is then sweetened with either sugar or (as during WW2) with condensed milk stirred in.

    • My mother was a WW2 canteen cook. This is the yummiest rice pudding recipe ever and was her go to recipe for rice pudding, but works well with barley too. Barley sounds a bit odd as a pudding but it is lovely and nutty, it may take a bit longer to cook than rice. Note never reuse soaking water from rice, barley is fine but not rice due to natural toxins.

      A proportional recipe for rice pudding, 2 cups of rice will feed 10-12 adults. Soak 2 cup rice in 10 cups warm water for 24 hours. Rinse the rice and put into a pan with clean boiling water to cover the rice by at least 1″ which should take about 10 minutes, till tender grains result. Drain the rice and tip the rice intoa large pan and pour over 1 tin condensed milk, stir the mixture. Use minimum hot water to clean the remains in the tin can and add to the mixture. Reheat and serve. Alternatively put the mixture in an oven proof dish adn brown in an oven that is already being used for other cooking.

    • I hope this helps :
      The fruit whip type puddings made with chilled well beaten evaporated milk and jelly (dissolved in scant water) also sound familiar, as a sort of cheese cake topping used during WW2.
      The last item on your list sounds like the ingredients for Spotted Dick.
      Viennese rolls (or loaf) will be in most baking recipe books, probably as Stollen.
      Potato cakes may well be in most recipe books as latkes, rostis or potato pancakes.

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  106. Hello, I had been googling for wartime recipes for quite some time and have only just come across this, might I add; which is magnificent, the thing is I am currently pregnant and do not wish to diet. So my question is are these recipes for dieters only?

    Many Thanks x

  107. There was a revised list for pregnant and nursing women, which took into account their extra nutritional needs. My grandmother was pregnant with her first child near the end of the war and successfully carried my uncle whilst on quite strict rationing. I firmly believe that living on the rationing whilst pregnant would be fine as long as you are using the ones designed for pregnant women and if your midwife or doctor tell you to up your iron or calcium, for example, add it to the diet.

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  109. You have a wonderful blog, Carolyn.. I enjoy it a great deal.. But..who are the arseholes who give a thumbs down to every comment? its just weird. People saying thank you get a thumbs down?

    • Oh I take no notice- just trolls!! LOL!!! I have no idea who they are xxx PS Thanks for the nice comment xxx

  110. Hi
    You have done so well, I like you have tried every diet going with no avail.
    I am now on Cholesterol tablets and blood pressure tablets and weigh in at 315 llb. I would love to follow this, what are the portion sizes ? do you have a days menu breakfast, dinner, tea etc. ?
    Thanks in advance xx

    • Sonia- I know you dont know me from a “can of paint”- BUT, I just txtd below saying how much i LUV this blog! Btw, i have never blogged anyone…well, my email is below yours (I’m Dr. Michael Miceli, a 64yr old fem archaeologist)…i have been bedbound for 6mos with a badly broken hip & leg…yup, i did that! I cannot even get up except to go to my doctor..! I am in bed with my seven dogs, yeah, ALL of them & gained 37lbs… Yikes, but my husb brings me whatever & i obviously cant move. So, i had to do something quick..it will be another 4mos! Yikes…takes time! So, my daughter came up with the solution thank heavens…pls email me at michael.miceli7@gmail.com…i live in kansas city, missouri, usa. I lost 24lbs in 2 1/2 mos! Couldnt believe it, but true…cant move & didnt know until my orthopedist weighed me! Unbelievable-dont despair..I can help…i hve abt 20lbs more to go ( yeah, i had a few lbs on me before). Sincerely, michael

    • I used to weigh in at 110kg but now at 91kg, and that is without even trying. Stick to the ration plan and read the following then the link to the website.

      Each of us is different and no one diet is going to work for everyone, so this is not a single diet, but a set of options. The Blood Sugar Diet is based on eating a low carbohydrate Mediterranean style diet. This contains few refined, starchy carbohydrates (because these convert rapidly to sugar in your blood), lots of green and coloured vegetables, plenty of protein and, you may be pleased to hear, it also includes moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and even some dairy products such as full fat unsweetened yoghurt to keep you feeling full for longer.


  111. I have sooooo enjoyed reading your commentary as i, too, rate myself a pretty darn good cook & comfort food person! I am bedbound due to breaking my hip AND leg, (well, if you’re gonna do, do it right!) hah! I would luv to read more of your journey & recipes super! Good Cooking, (I’m a female Archaeologist)

  112. Your latest recipes do not have links in the list – they are hidden away from view. How about bringing them out into the light as well? Please?

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  114. Hi, new to this at the moment, and have a really weird diet necessity. Having just been told to go fat free (due to gallbladder) to add to other cut outs from my diet I was mainly wondering if the wartime diet was do-able for me. I eat yeast free through necessity (allergic to yeast and alcohol) and will now be going wheat free to aid my IBS. In addition I have been told I should eat no more than 3 portions of fruit and veg in a day and likewise to not eat too much fibre as my body doesn’t digest it well. Would you say that I could incorporate this into the wartime diet or am I being highly ambitious?

    • I used to weigh in at 110kg but now at 91kg, and that is without even trying. Stick to the ration plan and read the following then the link to the website.

      The problem with many foods that are low fat or fat free are made more palatable by adding sugar so it’s really low sugar or sugar free that you need. Look for the nutrition panel under per 100g and if the total sugars are under 5 they are good, or under 10 just acceptable – over 10 just put it back where you found it ! It’s the simplest rule of thumb.

      I don’t eat any processed foods, ready meals or take away meals. I eat whole grain oats (pre soaked in water then drained) with Greek yogurt before my 3 daily meals. Eggs are a mainstay, maily as omlettes or scrambled for protein as I’m not a big meat eater but I do like fish. I eat most veg but hold back on potatoes. I do eat fruit but only the non tropical types as the warm climate fruits are packed with sugars, so, no bananas, pineapple, etc. In short I eat low GI, low sugar, high protein and seasonal.

      Seee the following website:

      Excerpt, quote: “ach of us is different and no one diet is going to work for everyone, so this is not a single diet, but a set of options. The Blood Sugar Diet is based on eating a low carbohydrate Mediterranean style diet. This contains few refined, starchy carbohydrates (because these convert rapidly to sugar in your blood), lots of green and coloured vegetables, plenty of protein and, you may be pleased to hear, it also includes moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and even some dairy products such as full fat unsweetened yoghurt to keep you feeling full for longer.”

  115. Hi,

    Thanks for your fantastic site, we have been looking for vegetarian recipes that would fit into a 1940s ration diet.

    Looking at your recipes, the portions you suggest are perfect. If you can fit in everything to your weeks rations then you know you will be having a balanced diet. In the UK in 1938 the ration diet was tested for 3 month by the government before issuing and all test subjects were are healthier and fitter, working a manual job and eating healthily.

    As long as you eat lots of vegetables (home grown if possible) then this will be a great way to stay healthy.

    We will wait and see how our month of the (vegetarian) ration diet goes and if we are more healthy. (Weight lost not needed as at perfect weight already)

    Here’s to some great cooking!

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  117. I love this idea. I found your blog to be a great resource for educational reasons. I am a private tutor and plan on using some of these recipes to help discuss ww2 rations

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  121. I noticed that someone was looking for eggless mayonnaise, our family recipe is a can of sweet and condensed milk and equal white vinegar, some pepper, and a teaspoon to a table spoon of mustard powder. Mix well and refrigerate until it thickens and use.

    • Hi Ros, Sweet condensed milk in a mock mayonnaise – shock on sugar overload ! I have some Ozzie mates who do this as it’s popular down under. They also make a dip with tinned cream & a packet of onion soup mix. Personally I cannot stomach either concoction !

  122. I Wanted to Know About Scratch Cooking Using Next to Nothing. These Recipes Are Priceless and You Are Awesome! I Thank You! For Brighter Blessings!

  123. Dear carolyn when are you going to add some more to the archives that you put up. Will be interested to read the latest one for march 2015

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  125. I am going to try. I’m in the US so somethings will have to be different but I am so excited!!!!


    • That’s really interesting- just been doing some Googling https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Scott-James and read her obituary. I wish I could find the photos!! I have probably seen them already if they have been used in books and on TV but wouldn’t have realised it was you Brian! Thank you for sharing this and I agree….words like MANGLE are sadly disappearing! I remember my Gran having one in the back garden! C

  127. hi there. i have just been looking through your recipe suggestions but am shocked that there is no sign of a bacon pudding. it is still a favorite of my fanilies today and was a popular dish my nan used to cook for the family during the was. there was loads of them.

    bacon pudding

    suet pastry
    1 or 2 rashers of streaky bacon per person
    onions diced finely

    make the suet pastry and leave to rest
    chop onions abd bacon
    roll out pastry into rectangle on to a flourd suface
    sprinkel the pastry with the onion and bacon
    roll up the pastry as you would a rolly polly
    wrap in a muslin cloth or in a tin foil wrapping
    steam for 1 to 2 hours or until cooked
    cut into 2cm sliced and serve with boiled potatos and cabbage and gravy

  128. I cannot wait to try these recipes! I have been writing them down for 4 days, went through 3 ink pens, lmao. Thank you for sharing them, also loved reading your blog. I hope you do more, if possible. Again, thank you.

  129. hi there. i did a similar sort of diet last year and lost 3 stone in 3 months. im just wondering about how you deal with the egg thing. i cant seem to get dried eggs so what do you do. i am going on a 2 egg a week rule. also have you tried bacon pudding. was a wartime favorite for my family and still is today

    • Hi Karl

      We can get dried eggs here, you can probably get them online, they are GROSS!!! Don’t do what I did and put my nose in the container and breathe in deeply!! They cook just fine though. I just use 1 shell egg per week but trying out the dried egg is a good experience! 3 stone in 3 months is awesome!!!

      • think i will just stick to the fresh egg. the onky dried egg i can get is fro. fish food suppliers lol or just egg whites. i tried your veg and oat goulash and really enjoied it. will have it again soon. only started my new diet on tuesday and have already started to notice the difference. thanks for getting back to me


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  132. Hello, all! I’ve just discovered this site. I’m meant to be writing an assignment on antique plates, but I’ve been absorbed in the comments! I’ve been thinking for years that it would be good to try a month of wartime recipes. I was born in 1949 so we still had some rationing (probably my downfall began when rationing ended, with those penny and halfpenny bars of Cadbury’s chocolate …). This spurs me on.
    School dinners in the 1950s were sort-of OK, but I remember ‘Mock Cream’ with loathing, especially when it arrived lumpy! The Salad Cream was nasty stuff, mostly vinegar.
    I have most of the books mentioned, and also Emilie Waller’s ‘Cookery and Kitchen Book for Slender Purses’! She has menus for two weeks, including some breakfasts of fried bread, fried potatoes, bread and butter, and tea – with, on one day, ‘Bacon for man’! It’s a wonderful book – my grandmother’s. Worth trying to find it.
    So, I am going to have a go at the recipes for a month – possibly January – husband will enjoy it, but I’m anxious that my son, a building site labourer, won’t find it easy.
    I’m a writer – I’d like to create a book of wartime recipes and menus for 2016, and this thread of wonderful comments has put it firmly at the front of my mind!

  133. My God I’m so glad to see these old recipes going back to the second war!! people did alot with what they had back then!! we are very spoiled with all the food we have today!! alot of fast foods causing alot of weight gain now a days!! Pls.keep me in your e-mail. I like to learn alot what people eat back then!! they might have much money to feed the family, but looking back then in programs showing!! no one was over weight & they looked great slim & healthy then wevare today!!

    • I agree- a combination of not wasting food, filling up with vegetables and being more active (and of course less junk food)…Too much temptation these days!! LOL! xx

  134. This is a great site and thank you for the recipes, for last Christmas (2015) was a little austere due to moving but thanks to your site we were able to have lots of nice things to eat with just a bit of work. It tastes like food should as well. Not the factory/mass produced stuff from the supermarket. Totally converted to as much ‘home made’ as possible. I’m now looking to make my own wine/beer/cider too as well as food.

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  137. I just found your blog and I am truly enjoying. Trying to learn simple, healthy, frugal meals for our family. Thank you!

    What to do with apple peels and cores?
    I love apples. Like you, I try to make the most of the food I buy prior composting. So, I make apple cider vinegar with the peels and cores in 30 days. It’s super easy and dirt cheap. Put the peels and cores in a jar, cover with water and put a cheese cloth or cotton cloth on the jar. Set in a warm, dry place (upper cabinet). For the next 5 days, give it a swirl once daily with a spoon, scoop any foam, cover back with the cotton cloth, add water if necessary. Then let it stand untouched for the remaining 25 days. After which you strain the concoction, discard the solids to compost and you’re left with the water turned to apple cider vinegar. Screw the top and put in the pantry and voilà! Or you may offer it as an hostess gift. Homemade is always appreciated!

    • Please explain. Why call cider vinegar, apple cider vinegar ?, you can only make cider with apples, to then make cider vinegar.

  139. I have just discovered your blog. WHAT a blessing! Not only does it bring back memories of my own family cooking, the memories are priceless. Thank you!

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  142. Hi Carolyn, I love your website and recipes! I stumbled upon it after watching Supersizers Go…(great show of two people journeying through diets/lives of each decade in Britain). Your recipes are great and help me reconnect with my love for vegetables again! Can’t wait to go through more of your recipes! Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  143. First, thank you for this blog! Second, are the recipe ingredient quantities given in UK measurements or some other standard? I hope you see this comment soon because I want to start making some of these recipes but as I am from the U.S. I want to be sure I’m getting the quantities right. Thanks!

    • Sorry….am not on a computer just a phone so this will be brief…most of my recipes will be in British measurements but some older ones may also have US measurements too as I was temporarily living in Canada several years back. If you see reference to a cup it means an American cup size. Xxx

  144. Hi Carolyn, I’ve started a small blog of local events etc. that I attend and have used a couple of your wonderful recipes as tasters at these events. Would you mind if I put a couple of your recipes on my blog and the links to your site? Thanks, Amanda

    • Sure Amanda – you are welcome to link a few and how lovely to think you have used some of the recipes from WW2 I have featured on my blog. we are keeping history alive!! xxxx

      • Thanks! I really enjoyed doing it and find that it is a “wholesome” family activity that we can all take part in – very “old-fashioned”!

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  146. this is such an amazing source for writers too!! I am an almost obsessive researcher and historical fiction writer and these recipes have been an AMAZING wealth of knowledge for writing books that take place in the wartime years! I cannot express how grateful I am for having found this

  147. Hi all – I have just added the latest recipes to this page so now we have 164 wartime recipes linked off this reference page re-created on the 1940s Experiment blog. Thanks for continuing to read and share your stories! C xxxx

    • https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsHi Carolyn,
      I have recently been reading about your ongoing battles with your weight ( I can totally identify with that) and your diet approach with “back to basics” using wartime rationing.
      Something that has puzzled me, was that you seem to use the standard ration rather than the one for vegetarians and I wondered why, given that you don’t eat meat.

      I have found the recipes that you’ve provided fascinating. They remind me of many of the things my mother and grandmothers used to cook.

      I made your stuffing balls recipe last night to serve with roast lamb and veg. They were wonderful. It had never previously occurred to me that I could make stuffing other than inside a chicken. I’ll definitely be making these again – I have enough leftover that I’ll try some with just veg & gravy. I made one change to your recipe – I also added a grated carrot to the stuffing mix.

      Well done on that marathon too. It’s an amazing achievement.

  148. Hi Carolyn. Been using these type of recipes all my life (born in 1954) mainly due to financial constraints and I have a pretty good range of books on the subject. Margaritte Patten books are essential, I have loads but the “We’ll Eat Again” (pub 1985) is purely WW2 recipes, all her’s are great also Nellie Heaton – both were with the Ministry of Food in WW2. The BBC Ruth Mott “Wartime Kitchen and Garden” book (pub 1993) is a must as is Mabel Osborne’s “Bakes, Buns and Biscuits” (pub 1940), great baking recipes for good health.

    Here’s a Mabel special called “American Munch”:
    2 oz wholemeal flour
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    2 oz butter
    2 oz sugar
    2 eggs
    4 oz chopped dates
    2 oz chopped walnuts
    Sift the flour and baking powder together. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs and flour mixture alternately then work in the dates and walnuts, it will need to be slackened a little with yogurt but it should be quite a stiff mixture. Press the mixture into a shallow tray and bake at 400F/200c till browned and firm. Allow to cool in the baking tray, when cold cut into fingers.

    • Hey there, looking forward to the weekend (and no work) so I can catch up on all the recipes you’ve been posting!! 🙂 Much appreciated xxxx Off to work now C xx

  149. As it’s almost Halloween so I thought a bit of tradition was called for – to any ex pat Scot who was around before the 1980’s you might like to revive this old custom. Bake a treacle farl (triangular scone), smear it with treacle, suspend it from a length of string strung over a beam (anything over head height will do) and with the sticky treat at face height to your victim, blind fold said victim and entreat them to take a bite of the sticky treat as you pull the string to make it dance around and slap into the face of said victim – great fun for the kids. To that end I give you a fool proof, yummy treacle farl recipe:
    1 tea cup of plain white flour
    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp ground mixed spices
    1 oz margarine
    2 tsp treacle
    buttermilk (or sour milk/plain yogurt) to mix
    Sift the first 5 ingredients into a bowl then make a well in the centre. Melt the margarine & treacle together till just mixed, pour into the flour with 1 tablespoon of buttermilk then bring the dough together – gently. Add buttermilk until the dough is soft but not sticky. Flour hands well, handle the dough lightly and shape into a round, flatten then cut into farls (quarters). Now have a heavy frying pan (it should have a lid that fits, essential) warm but not hot on the stove. very lighly grease the pan put the farls in, close but not touching and put the lid on. The proximity of the farls and the lid forces the farls to rise – keep an eye on them ! As they cook keep checking and when they begin to colour o the bottom flip them over, you may have to do this 3 or 4 times till they are well risen and cooked through – should take about 6 ish minutes.

  150. Savoury suet puddings were very popular & cheap during the war years, “Leek and Bacon” was big in the North East of England, Geordie country so here is a local version from Allenheads.
    Suet pastry:
    6 oz self raising flour
    3 oz shredded suet
    pinch of salt
    about 6 tablespoons cold water to bind
    cooked chopped leaks
    raw rashers of streaky bacon
    1. Mix pastry ingredients together to make a pliable dough.
    2′ to cook in a pudding basin roll the pastry into a circle bigger than the basin you will use. cut a wedge out of the pastry and re roll as a lid. Line the basin with the pastry, fill with the leeks and bacon and seal the lid. Put the lid on the basin or cover with foil. Lower the basin into a pot or slow cooker, pour boiling water in up to at least 1/2 way up the bowl put the lid on the pot and simmer for about 2 hours on the stove or 4 hours in a slow cooker. Check that the pot does not boil dry.
    3. To cook as a roly poly pudding simply roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle, lay the rashers along 3/4 of the pastry and spread the leeks on. Roll the filling into the pastry (like a Swiss roll) seal the edges to keep the filling in. Roll the pudding in greased foil parcel then lay the foiled pudding on a clean wet tea towel then loosely roll up the pudding. Tie with string (to make it easy to lift from the pot) Lower the pudding into a pot or slow cooker, pour boiling water in up to at least 1/2 way up the bowl put the lid o the pot and simmer for about 2 hours on the stove or 4 hours in a slow cooker. Check that the pot does not boil dry.
    Serve hot with gravy, mash & lots of vegetables.

    Try this with minced beef & vegetables or just a selection of vegetables – equally good.

    • Made the leek and bacon pudding for dinner tonight, was delicious and I will certainly make it again, thank you for the recipe Outlander

      • Hi Iain, glad that you liked the recipe. Have you tried any of the alternatives ? Easy to change to fruit too.

  151. Hi Carolyn

    I noticed on your instagram that you were looking for frugal recipes with less focus on meat.
    I think this is a good site for legume and pulse recipes: http://pulses.org/component/tags/tag/world-s-greatest-pulse-dishes
    You can’t find a more frugal protein source than pulses, especially if you buy them dry and take the time to soak and cook them yourself. I tend to soak and cook an entire bag at a time. Then I drain, rinse and freeze them. Then they can be used just an conveniently as the tinned variety – but at less cost.
    I need ready access to cooked chickpeas so I can make hummus regularly as this is a healthy snack with raw reg that can distract me from the unhealthy options that constantly tempt me.
    I hope your plan for 2018 (weight and finances) works out.

    • Hi Leanne
      Have you tried making hummus with older mealy broad beans ? – they are so yummy. It doesn’t work so well with the little sweet ones but a great way of usin gup those knarly old ones you always find at the end of the growing the season.

      Don’t forget to keep some beans to dry off then plant in the spring. Broad beans are best started early, make pots from the inner tubes of toilets with a piece of newspaper stuffed inside to keep compost in when you plant the seeds. Then when you plant them just leave them in the home made pot as it will rot down. recycling at it’s best.

      There are pulses that need special preperation of soaking, draining, cooking, draining and then a final cook as they contain toxins that concentrate in the water, Kidney beans are an example, it’s always wotrth checking how they need to be cooked safely.

      Lentils are the easiest, just like rice. Soak over night, rinse, bring to a boil (use fresh cold water) then remove from the heat with a lid on the pan to cool. Takes no time when presoaked, and in the case of rice it removes the mercury.

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  153. I like your bravery… gives me hope… I keep trying, and trying again… I succeed a bit, then… oh well I try again…

    • Elke, don’t give up.I used to weigh in at 110kg but now at 91kg, and that is without even trying. Stick to the ration plan and read the following then the link to the website.

      The problem with many foods that are low fat or fat free are made more palatable by adding sugar so it’s really low sugar or sugar free that you need. Look for the nutrition panel under per 100g and if the total sugars are under 5 they are good, or under 10 just acceptable – over 10 just put it back where you found it ! It’s the simplest rule of thumb.

      I don’t eat any processed foods, ready meals or take away meals. I eat whole grain oats (pre soaked in water then drained) with Greek yogurt before my 3 daily meals. Eggs are a mainstay, maily as omlettes or scrambled for protein as I’m not a big meat eater but I do like fish. I eat most veg but hold back on potatoes. I do eat fruit but only the non tropical types as the warm climate fruits are packed with sugars, so, no bananas, pineapple, etc. In short I eat low GI, low sugar, high protein and seasonal.

      Seee the following website:

      Excerpt, quote: “ach of us is different and no one diet is going to work for everyone, so this is not a single diet, but a set of options. The Blood Sugar Diet is based on eating a low carbohydrate Mediterranean style diet. This contains few refined, starchy carbohydrates (because these convert rapidly to sugar in your blood), lots of green and coloured vegetables, plenty of protein and, you may be pleased to hear, it also includes moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and even some dairy products such as full fat unsweetened yoghurt to keep you feeling full for longer.”

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  156. Thank you for doing this blog! I am fascinated by life on the homefront during WWII and was delighted to come across such a treasure trove of rationing recipes. This is also a terrific resource for people on a tight budget. They certainly knew how to make the most of limited food resources back then.

    • Aww thank you. I haven’t posted in a while as I am taking time to concentrate on working my way through a few issues but hope to be creating more recipes and blog posts in the near future. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice comment – C xxxx

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  158. What an amazing resource, thank you. Home educator here, looking at a mini WW2 project with the 5yo and a few similarly aged friends – we’ll be covering evacuees and rationing. Said 5yo has expressed a desire to follow WW2 rations for a week after the project – now I have access to lots of recipes, that Woolaton Pie looks amazing!

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  163. Hi all, Just an update to avoid confusion, I no longer live 100% on rationing.(this was something I attempted several times over the years and was always quite successful) The recipes I create are out of a historical and frugal interest these days and I base my day to day eating on lots of vegetables, little processed foods, little dairy and lots of beans/legumes. xxxx C

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  165. Hi Carolyn, hope all is well by you. I am planning to post more of you recipes shortly, I hope it brings more people to your wonderful site!

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  175. I’m still getting comments on your recipes, Carolyn. Emily Ann Francis just asked me what you must think about everyone’s reaction over on my site. I told her I’d come by and ask you over. I think the readers would love to hear from you.

  176. in continuation, I do eat more than 2 oz of cheese and although I would not say I say loads, it is maybe this that is my downfall.

    • Hi Janymac. Re your downfall – don’t blame the cheese but look to your sugar intake, both hidden sugar and in the normal sense of general sugar intake. Read the panels for the hidden sugars of tinned, bottled and packaged foods – you will be surprised at the sugar content.

  177. what slightly bothers me with WW2 rationing is that it is largely based on pastry dihes, which I do not eat often anyway, the meat ration is not far off the meat I would normally eat in a week ( would definitely not eat much bacon either) and has lots of puddings which I only eat once every few months- so why am I putting on weight- there is no way I would lose as much as everyone else seems to as it is worse nutritionally than I currently eat.

    • Hi Janymac I used to weigh in at 110kg but now at 91kg, and that is without even trying. Stick to the ration plan and read the following then the link to the website.

      The problem with many foods that are low fat or fat free are made more palatable by adding sugar so it’s really low sugar or sugar free that you need. Look for the nutrition panel under per 100g and if the total sugars are under 5 they are good, or under 10 just acceptable – over 10 just put it back where you found it ! It’s the simplest rule of thumb.

      I don’t eat any processed foods, ready meals or take away meals. I eat whole grain oats (pre soaked in water then drained) with Greek yogurt before my 3 daily meals. Eggs are a mainstay, maily as omlettes or scrambled for protein as I’m not a big meat eater but I do like fish. I eat most veg but hold back on potatoes. I do eat fruit but only the non tropical types as the warm climate fruits are packed with sugars, so, no bananas, pineapple, etc. In short I eat low GI, low sugar, high protein and seasonal.

      Seee the following website:

      Excerpt, quote: “each of us is different and no one diet is going to work for everyone, so this is not a single diet, but a set of options. The Blood Sugar Diet is based on eating a low carbohydrate Mediterranean style diet. This contains few refined, starchy carbohydrates (because these convert rapidly to sugar in your blood), lots of green and coloured vegetables, plenty of protein and, you may be pleased to hear, it also includes moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and even some dairy

  178. Hi Janymac,
    You have to remember that housework and work in general was much more physically demanding in the 1940s, also there was less heating in the houses, this meant that the extra calories were burnt off. A modern ‘wartime’ diet would be big on the vegetables and cut down on the puddings.
    I love cheese but when I buy it I go for the mature types with more flavour, that way I use less of it in cooking and sandwiches.

  179. I’ve made “oatmeal sausages” from page 8 of ‘war-time cookery to save fuel and food value’ booklet:

    1oz Onion – chopped
    half Oz of fat
    2oz shredded suet (I used vegetarian one)
    Half pint of vegetable stock
    4oz oatmeal
    1tbsp Worcester Sauce
    Pinch of mixed herbs
    Salt and pepper

    Start by frying the onion till softened add the suet, stock, oatmeal add a pinch of mixed herbs, pepper and salt. Mix very well with a wooden spoon and boil until very thick porridge. Add the Worcester Sauce, put on a plate to cool, cut into six roll into sausage shapes, coat with batter and fry. Fry in deep fat if possible, serve with mash potatoes. I served them with recipe 169 the cheese, potato & onion pie and they were delicious together.

    • Hi, this sounds a lot like a version of a Scottish favourite called Skirlie also known as “Mealie Pudding” in some parts of Scotland, where it’s steamed in a greased basin for one hour before being turned out. Teaspoonful’s are often rolled into balls & either poached in boiling soup as dumplings or baked with a roast in the oven. Skirlie accompanies meats, game birds, cod with mustard sauce, soups or on it’s own with mashed potatoes & gravy. It’s nutty texture makes a delicious stuffing for poultry, mutton or any meat roast.
      2 cups medium oatmeal
      2 cups medium onions, finely chopped
      4 oz grated suet or 4 tbl good dripping or 4 tbl oil
      Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
      Toast oatmeal in a dry pan till just coloured then pour onto a cold plate to cool. Using the same pan, fry the onions in the fat or oil till golden then return the oats & mix well. Cook as above.

    • Just add some grated cheese to make these into Glamorgan sausages ! For a veggir version use an appropriate veggie chese and sub the suet for another suitable oil/fat – simple. Use either oatmeal or breadcrumbs (equally good) and coat with the same before frying till golden brown. Great with Branston pickle or Lime pickle.

  180. Great site, thanks. We’re doing a V.E. Day picnic as a school PTA event in May, and this has been a great source of authentic recipes for us to potentially use!
    (We’re thinking of maybe also having a “black market” in the back playground where people can buy stuff that wouldn’t have been readily available then… or modern equivalents!)

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      • Hi, there were a lot of schools on here around VE day last year (2020) as they link to my website in the National Curriculum to do some recipe research, quite a few young pupils. I’ve had some lovely messages come through but also some silly ones LOL! xxxx

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  198. Someone please help me, my grandmother used to make dough boys, it looked like the picture far left on top. I can’t find the recipe on line anywhere. it had yeast in it and all I remember is that they were sure good!!!

    • Dough boys/dough bouys/suet dumplings – same thing. So here is the standard recipe which can be added to by any flavouring or herb you prefer:

      Sift 1 cup self raising flour into a bowl, rub in 1/2 cup suet then mix to a dough with about 4 tablespoons chilled sparkling water, it’s an approximate measure as it’s all down to the flour (ie spring, winter, etc). form the dough into balls (they will at least double in size, or triple. Add to your soup or stew about 15-20 minutes before the end of cooking/serving time. Ensure that they have room to swell and plenty of liquid.

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  201. Hi I have discovered this site as well as your Instagram and loving it so far, I have a question though I saw the picture for the Welsh rarebit on Instagram and it said it was recipe 182 however I can’t find 182 so, wondering if it’s on here or how to get the recipe. Thank you keep up the great sites and congratulations on your weight journey I too am on one so best of luck from 🇨🇦♥️

    • Recipe 182: Kensington Rarebit.

      November 10, 2019 by Carolyn
      Kensington Rarebit – Recipe No. 182

      This is a delicious, simple, wartime recipe from the ‘Good Eating’ Daily Telegraph Readers Tested Recipes, published during WW2.

      It’s main ingredients are potatoes which I adore but also a I’ve topped mine with a really tasty vegan cheese which melts beautifully and adds a tangy flavour. I’m finding that Applewood Vegan is a great substitute for dairy cheese if you are watching your cholesterol levels or simply wish to avoid dairy for your own personal reasons.

      Kensington Rarebit

      Potatoes (about 1 large potato per person)
      Cabbage/Onions (optional)


      Scrub potatoes and boil in their skins until cooked.
      Once cooked skin (or not) and cut into rather thick slices and put into buttered fireproof dish and cover lightly with grated cheese (I added some seasoning and dried herbs to top as well as some thin raw onion slices)
      Bake or place under grill until cheese is melted and slightly brown.
      Serve immediately adding salt and pepper to taste.

    • Kensington Rarebit – Recipe No. 182

      This is a delicious, simple, wartime recipe from the ‘Good Eating’ Daily Telegraph Readers Tested Recipes, published during WW2, (similar to bubble & squeak plus cheese) It’s main ingredients are potatoes which I adore but also a I’ve topped mine with a really tasty vegan cheese which melts beautifully and adds a tangy flavour. I’m finding that Applewood Vegan is a great substitute for dairy cheese if you are watching your cholesterol levels or simply wish to avoid dairy for your own personal reasons.

      Kensington Rarebit
      Potatoes (about 1 large potato per person)
      Cabbage/Onions (optional)
      Scrub potatoes and boil in their skins until cooked.
      Once cooked skin (or not) and cut into rather thick slices and put into buttered fireproof dish and cover lightly with grated cheese (I added some seasoning and dried herbs to top as well as some thin raw onion slices)
      Bake or place under grill until cheese is melted and slightly brown.
      Serve immediately adding salt and pepper to taste.

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  203. Hi Carolyn
    Sorry I posted this one twice, I thought it had disappeared and repeated the process. Just a copy of your posted recipe (no. 182) as Tina mixed up Welsh rarebit (fancy cheese on toast really) with Kensington Rarebit (another version of bubble & squeak), it’s the use of the word ‘rarebit’ that caused that mix up apparently it’s just the inclusion of cheese that makes a dish a rarebit – search me on the origins of that one !

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  209. The problem today is that there are too many shops selling too much food. I tried to follow a ration diet, but it is too easy to change things ‘a bit’, and just go and buy something different.
    The only way to really do it is to have massive willpower and not go shopping as often…oh, have a shopping list and STICK TO IT.

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  226. Wow, I really applaud your dedication. It is nice to see the positive effects on your health. It also validates some of what my own grandmother (who lived through the Great Depression and WWII) used to tell me. When I was a teen, I meticulously stayed away from fat, but ate a lot of sugar. It would make her crazy and she would yell at me and say “sugar makes you fat!” I didn’t believe her. Looking at a lot of these recipes and what they believed about nutrition during WWII, it makes more sense now.

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