Right now, nearly every day I will eat potatoes. But how authentic was eating spuds 5 times a week during WW2 for the average urban working class household?
I’m happy to announce that potatoes were the foundation of the working class diet, not only providing up to 45% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C to each person who ate them (and most people ate around 4.5 lbs of spuds per week) BUT were delicious, affordable and were able to provide that vitamin C all year around due to their great storage capabilities. Farmers could store potatoes in large “clamps” which essentially were long mounds of potatoes covered in straw and then earth was piled on the top to form a frost free storage and households could store their potatoes, throughout the winter in hessian sacks in an outhouse.
Because I’m a WW2 food nerd, I’ve enjoyed spending Valentine’s Day evening CONSUMING DATA from “The Urban Working-Class Household Diet 1940-1949”. I’m particularly interested how people maintained good health during WW2 on a limited diet and happily for me, this book tells me what food sources supplied people with essential vitamins, iron and protein as well as providing enough calories to sustain an active life.
I thought you might be interested in some snippets below about potatoes!
In addition to data about potatoes I found this quite interesting. Vegetable protein was Great Britain’s main source of protein throughout WW2 which is not surprising seeing how meat was rationed. Before the war people were eating around roughly 2.5 lbs of meat and fish per week, during the war it was about 1.5 lbs per person, per week (according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations Britons currently consume almost 3.5 lbs per week).