The 1940s Supper Club



An interesting clip on a pop-up restaurant run by Ms Marmite- Kerstin Rodgers

At this moment in my life, although I’m pretty happy and coping well, I’m struggling with my weight, stressed, and concerned about securing a job,  To cover all bases I’m having to think outside the box and doing some research and making some theoretical plans ‘incase’ I do not secure employment.. and I need to secure employment real soon.

This morning, thanks to readers MollyByTheSea and Cookaholic Kate I’ve been made aware about a rapidly expanding underground movement in the UK called ‘Pop-Up” restaurants and supper clubs. Essentially a host opens their dining room to guests for the evening and cooks a set menu (all promoted through social media). Dinner party guests make a donation and bring their own bottle and it truly is a way to experience different foods and have fun.

The whole essence of this appeals to me and, in typical ‘Carolyn-getting-distracted-fashion’ that’s all I have thought about all day.

Would it be possible to have a 1940s Supper Club in my home once a month and share authentic ‘ration book’ cookery? People could dress up if they wished, there would be music and air raid sirens, interesting topics of conversation and some nostalgic foods.

I’ve worked out, with the help of my eldest daughter, I could cater for 10..

I’ll be doing a food hygiene course and will get my kitchen inspected and look into public liability insurance of course if it seems like there would be a regular monthly attendance.

I’d REALLY like your feedback…

  • Have you ever been to a pop-up restaurant or supper club?
  • What did you think?
  • What happened during the evening?
  • What were your expectations and were they fulfilled?

If you could take a moment of your time to voice your opinion I’d be very grateful indeed..

And finally, would you be interested in attending a 1940s wartime supper club and if so what would you love to taste or experience?

Thank you so much

C xxxxx

23 thoughts on “The 1940s Supper Club

  1. I would love to goto a Pop-up 1940’s supper (I’m way to far away from you to participate for real). If I was going to one, I’d want it to be authentic and maybe be told what else I would have eaten that day (to put the meal in perspective). If I were to go with my husband, who is incredibly picky, I would ideally like some ideas of what was on the menu first. I also think it would be great to twist the ‘bring a bottle’ idea – keeping it in line with the 1940’s theme, it would be great to have a list of authentic ‘gifts’ to bring the chef. I guess a week’s supply of sweets or sugar, some local seasonal fruit or veg (which could have been grown by people in their garden) would all have been possible – maybe a small amount of bacon or sausages from their pig club (okay, not in your case as you’re a vegan) but something along those lines. It would slightly ruin the night if you’ve gone to the trouble of being all dressed up in costume and sitting down for an authentic rationed meal, and then there’s bottles of wine and Dr Pepper in the table!

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  2. Erm…and me! Remember? I’m going through divorce so am planning a pop up restaurant/tea room. I am in the process of getting my hygiene certificate plus collecting cups and saucers etc!
    Good luck m’dear x

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  3. Yup, they have traveling supper clubs in places like Seattle, Portland in the states. It basically is a don’t ask do tell, sign the secrets act type of affair and has some of the most amazing food. Most meals run about 50 to a 100 bucks and are a real treat. I think you would do great and be a neat experience for your diners. Good luck

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  4. Thank you for all the encouragement and ideas/tips etc…so coming to a 1940s Supper Club you kind of want to experience authentic ration book cooking- perhaps some of the more famous recipes? But not only the food but a kind of themed experience too ie music, memorabilia, themed discussions?

    My friend Bertie just called me from her mobile phone and was very encouraging…. I HAVE to give this a go, even if it just goes on for a few months it will be great experience!!

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  5. great idea but would advise caution on letting rip with the air raid sirens. Imagine having served the best the war years can serve only to have your diners going down with indigestion by having to dive under the tables. Wish I was close enough to partake, would be packing my eating irons and tying my bib as we speak. Have you read the Nella Last diaries? She always gives her daily menu and jolly tasty they seem to be. Would not take much to veggi-ise a lot of them.

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  6. I have someone sending me the books can you believe!!! I can’t wait to read! At the moment I am trying to locate some vintage tea cup/side plates sets… although dining plates and glasses will just be plain..

    Air Raid siren… YES!!!🙂 It’s funny- I am just reading the Daily Express dated September 4, 1939 and in one of their headlines they spell siren, ‘syren’..

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    • can promise you will be glued to the Nella Last books so don’t extend your social calendar for the foreseeable future. Pity I didn’t know about your crockery needs as I have sold ma in laws circa 1934 dinner and tea service to a and I don’t know how to say this politely, antique dealer and I was royally ripped off. Would much rather have donated it to your worthy cause. This was a couple of years ago but it had been sitting in my garage for a good 15years. You could merrily theme your ‘nights’. Can just see people turning up in Churchills famous siren suits. They think they are so with it these days in their onesies. Being a bit of a social history buff, so far I have yet to come across anything that hasn’t happened before. There used to be a wonderful mosaic in Colchester Castle of a very comely roman wench in a bikini!

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    • Hi Carolyn
      Nella Last’s books are great – she seemed to be able to make a tasty meal out of nothing – real make do and mend. You could scour the local charity shops for vintage crockery – it doesn’t matter if they match or not – it would add to the theme you’re trying to recreate!!! Have you thought about using tall jam jars as glasses? I think they would do that in the 1940s as everything was so scarce. You will do well, Carolyn. My virtual hugs and well wishes are with you🙂

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      • Bevs comments brought back somememories. Step grandfather was a right martinet, everything had tobe just so and hell broke loose if it didn’t. He would only drink Lutina which was the Co-ops version of Ovaltine I think. Cups and saucers had to match and the cup handle and spoon on the right side. However he was caught out by my step-father at work supping his morning tea out of a jam jar that he stirred with the pencil out of his top pocket. He never lived that one down!

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  7. Hi Carolyn, I’ve just had another thought. Afternoon (mock) cream teas with lots of strong wartime tea, served in Retirement homes. Lots of the homes locally are asking for the community to visit and/or entertain. Spam sandwiches, home grown tomatoes, coupled with Vera Lynn on the record player. One thing though, it’s important to do the costing thoroughly. I think I can remember a TV programme about pop up restaurants a while ago, wonder if it might be on U Tube? Good luck x

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  8. Just before I read what you wrote I was thinking of high tea and thinking what a fab idea and everything (cakes and scones and sandwiches) can be prepared in advance.. I never thought of retirement homes though! What a great idea! I’ve never had to cook for more than 8 before so the supper club would be a learning experience and YES proper lists and budgets for sure- luckily wartime rations are fairly inexpensive so I’m hopeful with a bit of care things will work out OK… I’m excited and a tad scared but mostly very excited indeed🙂 I now have something to work towards xxxxx

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  9. I too wish I lived nearer though I love ESSEX. I have been trying to get our church social committee to do a 40’s themed supper for ages but the nearest we got was a 40’s “murder mystery” evening but we sent out for fish and chips!

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  10. PS. Venue church hall usual cover 40 – but once, just once we did 80! But it took 4 in the kitchen, 3 on tables and 2 “housekeeping”, great fun though.

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  11. Carolyn I bought all my vintage china on Ebay very cheaply….I bought trios so you get cup saucer and teaplate in the same design so everyone has there own design and just did a theme of “floral” it looks so lovely when I do an afternoon tea…also got lots of cake plates to match the “theme”…paid less than a fiver for each set so it was fairly inexpensive to do…another cheap trick for table settings is use a roll of pretty wrapping paper down the centre of the table or cut up for tablemats plus some pretty paper napkins….setting the scene is all part of the fun!!

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  12. Hi Carolyn, Just a couple of other thoughts …. Marguerite Patten had some recipes covering certain events – VE Day, etc. (I think this was in her paperback edition of Victory Cookbook: Nostalgic Food and Facts from 1940-1954). You might want to consider doing this kind of themed event – would be fun; you could even create cheap spot prizes for best dressed (in vintage costume of course), etc. Have 1940s music playing in the background will add to the ambiance.

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    • I have those books and I totally agree!!! I’m thinking if I was a bit of a home front history lover what would |I like to experience at supper!! Of course authentic food but of course music, interesting artifacts and decor etc. I’m excited!!! xxxx

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