Wartime Farm- it came today!

Thank you to Octopus Publishing for sending me a review copy of the “Wartime Farm” (the book to accompany the TV series currently running on the BBC) all the way from the UK! Seeing as I desperately wanted to get my hands on this and devour it, but funds did not allow, this was rather, fabulously timely, so, I will spend the next few days dissecting it and taking my pulse as I read, too see whether it excites me or not.

My palms became slightly sweaty and everything else in the universe became white noise, as I opened the book and peaked at the first few pages… that HAS to be a good sign.

I’ll be sure to post my review on here soon.

In the meantime, I spot a gas-mask, a chicken, Ruth, Alex and Peter and …..

Ermmmm

C xxxxx

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Could we stomach a return to a wartime diet?

QUOTE: “As our population grows, and world food prices escalate, the UK will need to produce more food. But will that mean a return to a more restricted diet, reminiscent of wartime, when reduced imports made Britain rely heavily on homegrown food?”…

That opening paragraph struck me.. It made me wonder would it be a bad thing if this were to happen? How difficult would it be for a country to adapt to a “more locally grown” diet with less choice?

Having lived for almost one year now, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (with just a few days off for very special occasions) on a 1940s authentic wartime ration diet, I can tell you it was challenging in the early weeks as my body detoxed from it’s reliance on modern processed convenience foods. But surprisingly, for all the years I had been stuffing my face with crisps, chocolate bars, pounds of cheese and grotesque outsize portions of meat, the adaptation to a very simple, basic, wholesome diet with lots of fresh vegetables and very few processed items, was quite easy, once I’d got into a preparation routine…

QUOTE: “Food policy expert Prof Tim Lang says consumers are also partly to blame, as “they are being allowed the fantasy that they can eat what they like”.

Our ever-expanding palates have become accustomed to exotic, imported foods not available in the UK, not to mention an abundance of meat and dairy products.

Animals must consume, on average, 3kg of grain to produce 1kg of meat. Today half of all cereals produced are used to feed animals. They are “the most wasteful and inefficient converters of food which one can imagine,” argues Prof Lang, who is also a former government advisor on food policy.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), all of the world’s cereal fed to animals could feed the additional three billion people expected by 2050. The UNEP suggests animals could instead be fed recycled waste.

“Instead of aspiring to eat more meat and dairy as people get richer, we should aspire to eat more diverse plants,” says Prof Lang. But he says the government is failing to “take a lead” on changing the policy around what farmers should produce….”

 

And then there is the environmental benefits, health and economic benefits as a nation should the British government put infrastructure and subsidies into place to make farming profitable for growers, in an island like Britain, one has to face the reality that raising animal protein is also a huge drain on the countries limited water supply..

QUOTE:  “In a statement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Farming Minister Jim Paice said:

“With our increasingly hungry world every country must play its part to produce more food and improve the environment… Whether it means embracing new farming technology or people wasting less, we’ve got to become more sustainable.”

 

While returning to a wartime style diet overnight is not a reality, maybe it is time to embrace some of ways the British nation had to adapt to feeding everyone during WW2. It looked like growing and eating locally produced food, reducing meat and dairy consumption, and being less wasteful and more appreciative was a pretty decent blue print for a more sustainable country.AND the health of the nation improved…

That can’t be a bad thing surely?

CLICK HERE for the full BBC Article “Could we stomach a return to a wartime diet?”

Day 2: Daily diet sheets- lots of food!

It is a good job there currently is no man in my life …If there was, he who shares my couch and my bed would certainly be in for a night full of surprises tonight and not in a good way ( I need say no more than beans and veggie stew- a delightful combination with spectacular wind power qualities…)

Despite not having a big appetite again today and worrying about my car repair bill, I made sure to eat plenty of wholesome food for the first part of the day. Firstly a large bowl of the obligatory porridge oats (oatmeal), a huge veggie stew of which I gobbled down three bowlfuls with two slices of bread and finally a small dinner of 1/2 my bacon ration and 1/2 can baked beans followed by a delightful ‘Danish Apple Pudding’ (I’ll post that recipe tomorrow)

So here is today’s 1940s authentic wartime diet sheet

Breakfast

Porridge oats (oatmeal) made with just water and sprinkled with a little sugar   25 cents/ 12 pence

Lunch

3 bowls of vegetable stew (included veggies like cabbage, onions, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes)

2 thick slices of wholemeal (wholewheat) bread spread with margarine  $1.25/ 65 pence

Dinner

1/2 can of baked beans

2 oz bacon  $1.00/ 50 pence

Dessert

Large portion of Danish Apple Pudding ( 4 portions made with 4 old bruised apples, wholemeal bread, a little sugar, syrup and almond essence)  1 portion = 75 cents/ 35 pence

Drinks

4 very large cups of tea and lots of water.

TOTAL COST = $3.25 / 1 UK Pound & 60 pence

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Cheese Dreams

Earlier today I talked about convenience food and how the busy 1940s housewife would really have appreciated some convenience in her life…
Convenience food was of course available prior to and during the war although some of it, like canned fish, was only available on a points system. In the UK you were allocated, in addition to your standard ration, 16 points a month which could be used to purchase goods like canned meat and fish and other cooking ingredients like dried fruit for cakes and split peas for casseroles and stews. 16 points didn’t get you much though. One can of fish used up all your 16 points…

Although some convenience food was available during the war years, availability was often very scarce due to the sinking of supply ships. However there were quick snack meals and lunches one could make occasionally when there wasn’t much time to make a substantial meal.

I read through one of my WWII cook books, Feeding the Nation by Marguerite Patten, for inspiration, and came across a snack meal often served to the ARP (Air Raid Precaution Service) volunteers during their busy nights on duty as night time fire watchers..

There is no reason to doubt that a snack like this would have been used at home for convenience too.

Cheese Dreams

  • Make a sandwich with two pieces of wholemeal (wholewheat) bread with margarine and a sprinkling of strong grated cheese
  • Add chutney if desired
  • Mix one egg with 2 tablespoons of milk (this is enough to coat 3 sandwiches made from 6 slices of bread)
  • Pour onto plate and place sandwich on plate and turn once and remove
  • Place into frying pan that has hot cooking fat in
  • Cook for a few minutes over a medium-high heat until golden brown and cheese inside has melted
  • Serve with some salad and a cuppa tea

PS: I am a Brit currently living in Nova Scotia, Canada. My 1940s experiment is mostly based on the rationing system used during WWII in the UK however during my research many things were similar in the UK to the US and Canada. I intend to incorporate some North American recipes as time moves on as well as provide more details on the differences in rationing back in blighty compared to here.

PPS: If you are interested in frugality, making ends meet, living on less and saving some pennies in your everyday life please pop on by to my other blog. Latest post is on what we spent, as a family of 4, for our frugal Christmas CLICK HERE

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Carrot and Potato Mash

I have been busy in the kitchen and have a lot of recreated WWII recipes from the homefront to share with you over the next week or two- afterall I do have to photograph and post another 70 authentic recipes to keep to my end of the bargain before my years experiment ends…!

This particular recipe was shared with me many years ago when I lived in rural Norfolk in the UK… it is really very tasty indeed

Carrot and Potato Mash

  • 2 medium/large potatoes per person
  • 1 medium/large carrot per person
  • 1/2 oz butter per person
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Fill a large saucepan with salted water and heat

Chop potatoes into small pieces ( 1/2 inch chunks) and place in saucepan of hot water

Grate carrots and add to saucepan too

Bring to boil and then simmer for about 15 mins or so until potatoes are tender

Drain thoroughly

Add butter to saucepan and mash thoroughly

Add salt and pepper and stir thoroughly until satisfactory taste has been achieved.

Serve with a little knob of butter on top

PS: Click here and check out someone who has started a 1940s ration diet on UK TV – note the link to my wartime recipe page- yay!

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