Beef or Whale Meat Hamburgers 94/100

McDonalds started selling fast food hamburgers in the US, starting in the 1940’s, and during the latter part of the war, Marguerite Patten was demonstrating, in Harrods, how to make them, ration book style.

Whale meat was readily available and not rationed, but not very popular, and was sometimes used to make hamburgers on the home front, either mixed in with minced beef or on its own.

Here is a recipe for wartime hamburgers. I’m not about to eat beef or whale meat (being vegan) so I made my burgers with a meatless mince, but I’ve made hamburgers this way before, with beef (before I was vegan) and they taste really good!

Serve with a large raw salad!

This recipe makes enough for 4

Beef or Whale Meat Hamburgers

  • 1 large potato finely grated
  • 1 medium onion very finely shopped
  • 12 oz (350 g) minced whale meat or beef (or a meatless mince works well with a teaspoon of margarine)
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (mix a teaspoon of marmite with some brown sauce for vegans/vegetarians)
  • couple of large pinches of dried herbs (or 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme finely chopped- or fresh chopped parsley)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Mix all the ingredients together and form into 4 round cakes
  2. Grill (15 minutes) or bake (30 minutes) on a greased tray in a pre-heated oven set to 190 C (375 F)
  3. When fat is available the hamburgers can be fried

2 thoughts on “Beef or Whale Meat Hamburgers 94/100

  1. Hi Carolyn. I was constructing our weekly shopping list, pondering the amount of butter we get through in a week and thought to see what the ww2 adult ration was. That’s how I came to find your blog. I have really enjoyed reading your exploits and am hugely impresses with your determination and achievements. I work in the uk for the soil association and lead a health programme in Lincolnshire to get kids and families back in touch with real food – growing cooking visiting farms etc. have a look at our website We work with Tim Lang too – such an inspiration and a bit of a lone voice who will one day hold much more sway I sincerely hope.
    Have you read animal, vegetable, miracle by Barbara kingsolver? I a, sure you would enjoy it! Best wishes and very well done, Kate.

Leave a Reply