There was a National Butter made, to help replace the reduced butter supplies from New Zealand. As well, there was a National Margarine: Some people would mix it with their butter ration for better taste at the table. A National Cheddar was made, and the production of any other cheese banned. It would take the British cheese industry decades to recover. See separate entry on British Cheeses. One packet of the powdered, dried egg was the equivalent of one dozen eggs.
Meat, of course, did not escape rationing, and in fact, was the last thing to come off the ration list, in Offal and sausages were only rationed from to But offal was still scarce for the few that wanted it at any price , and the sausages had little meat in them, and much filler. Meat pies were not rationed, though the meat in them was likely to be Spam. Spam from America was plentiful, and came to be seen as a godsend. Spam for meals would be fried in a frying pan, or battered and fried in oil with chips. Consequently, there were always very long queues outside fishmongers.
Tinned Snoek, a type of fish from South Africa [Ed: At the same time, the Ministry of Food made whale meat available off-ration as well, and encouraged people to eat it, releasing recipes, etc.
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A large tin of sausage meat from America [Ed: There was a National Butter and two types of National Margarine. Before the war, a middle-class British household tended to put butter on the table, and reserve margarine for cooking purposes. But because the rations for the margarines were more generous than for the butter, margarine worked its way out of the kitchen and into the dining room. People were inventive in how they boosted the supply of proper butter at home. Fish and chips were not rationed. Consequently, fish and chips, which before the war had been seen as just a working-class food, made its way upward to become a food that all Britons ate.
Your local chippie could also sell you meat pies, as they were not rationed, either — though the meat in them was more likely to be Spam than anything else. A convoy of mobile canteens would move into bombed areas to feed residents and rescue workers for free, coordinated by the Ministry of Food. These mobile canteens were largely funded by donations from America. The Ministry expected rationed home food to be supplemented by meals at work and at school. Before the war, only about , school meals a day were served; by the end of the war, school meals happened just about everywhere, feeding about 1,, children a day.
The Ministry made it compulsory for any factory over a certain size to open a canteen to feed its workers. The number of factory canteens consequently went from 1, in to 18, in In July , restaurant restrictions started coming into effect. The first regulation was that in one meal you could not have both a meat and fish dish. So a fish starter, and meat main course, was out. In June , two additional restaurant restrictions came into effect.
The first was that no restaurant meal could have more than three courses. The second was that no restaurant could charge more than 5 shillings for a meal alcohol and coffee excluded. This had the desired effect, of course, of causing restaurants to be more frugal in what they chose to offer, or serve smaller portions of it, so that they could still make a profit on the meal.
Swanky places get around the quality barrier by adding a stiff cover charge, but the three courses are never exceeded. Coffee and drinks are extra. Where the Cupboard is Almost Bare. She gave the idea to Lord Woolton, whom she knew socially. He backed the idea, and asked her to get it started. Her plan was that once the Communal Centres were up and running, they would be turned over to locals in the area to run.
One opened in Newcastle on 6 October , with the Duchess of Northumberland and the Lord Mayor of Newcastle having lunch on the first day to help promote it. The restaurants were actually more like canteens. They were set up in church halls, town halls, school halls, etc, and run by Local Food Committees on a non-commercial basis.
They would usually have restricted hours of opening, operating just at main meal times such as noon to 2: All meals were ration free. The only rule was that you could only have one serving of either meat, game, poultry, fish, eggs, or cheese. They were also relatively inexpensive. The set maximum price allowed was 9d, though even that would likely only have been charged in London where operating costs would be higher. The British Restaurants served basic foods such as sausage, mash, gravy, or minced beef with parsnips, greens and potatoes.
There was also pudding and custard.
Some of the British Restaurants supplied packed meals for working people such as miners. The British restaurant in Chopwell in what is now Tyne and Wear County; previously Durham advertised the following food to go: By November , there were 2, British Restaurants. There was mention in at least one edition of the ration booklets that meat coupons were required to be used at restaurants. It may be that that regulation was printed, but never brought into force:. The government was not simply concerned that people had basic quantities of basic foods: Doctors regularly visited schools to check the nutrition and health status of children.
Schools dosed students up weekly with Virol, a bone-marrow laxative tonic sweetened with malt, to keep them regular. Children under five got cod liver oil; those under three got daily milk fluid or full-cream from dried , and orange juice as well. Though candies were rationed, cough drops were not — not many children, however, liked cough drops enough that they considered them to be considered an acceptable substitute for candy.
Every national food product that the government created, and every suggested recipe released, was gone over with a fine tooth comb by dieticians, nutritionists and Home Economists. Salt was unrationed, so it was used freely to try to give some interest to the monotony of the admittedly plain-tasting food. The result of these efforts was that, despite the deprivation, the British population actually ended the war tremendously fit and healthy: Children in general were even taller and heavier than those before the war.
Infant mortality rates went down; average age of death from natural causes increased, meaning civilians just plain lived longer. Interestingly, the war-time precaution of night-time blackouts caused the number of people killed by night-time road accidents to double over pre-war figures, even though there were fewer journeys by car owing to petrol rationing.
Kitchens in wartime Britain were much as they had been in the s before the war. Most kitchens had gas stoves. Coal-burning boilers provided hot water for both kitchen use and heating the home through radiators. Hot water from the tap was used carefully, though, because the coal used to heat it was rationed. Most homes did not have refrigerators yet [Ed: Those people with relatives and friends abroad were fortunate, because food packages from them to help bolster or brighten kitchen pantries got through surprisingly often. Onions disappeared from the shelves of greengrocers early in the war.
Onions became so rare that they would be prizes for raffles and contests. In that same month, the Minister of Agriculture, Robert Hudson, no doubt hearing frustration from his own wife, announced the intention to increase domestic onion production by 15 times. By , the Minister announced that the onion shortage was in theory alleviated, though an American rotarian, reporting on a visit to London he had done in the second week of January puts this claim in doubt:.
Sample rations of basics for a week for 1 person: Note that rationing continued in Britain for nine years after the end of the war. The reason given was to help free up food to feed the starving European populations. Women were angry that rationing had been kept up by Labour after the war. It was women, not men, who had to wait in lines to get into food stores, and then try to produce meals with what little they were able to get, while the men were getting extra off-ration meals at canteens at their workplaces from which women had been expelled, of course, after the war ; — October 3.
Tea rationing ends; — February 5: Sweet rationing ends; — September. Sugar rationing ends; — July 4: All remaining rationing is abolished. In hotels and restaurants, no less than in communal canteens, many people have tasted Lord Woolton pie and pronounced it good. Like many another economical dish, it can be described as wholesome fare. The ingredients can be varied according to the vegetables in season. Here is the official recipe: Cook all together for 10 minutes with just enough water to cover.
Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking. Allow to cool; put into a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and cover with a crust of potato or wheatmeal pastry. Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely browned and serve hot with a brown gravy. Add two parts of grated raw carrot to one part of finely shredded white heart cabbage and bind with chutney or sweet pickle.
Pepper and salt to taste. OR Bind some grated raw carrot with mustard sauce flavoured with a dash of vinegar. You see they thought they had been born with an entitlement to a certain standard of living and they really thought that poorer people were better equipped to live on less — even during the war.
This sounded very odd to me. Apart from anything else it was extraordinary for an upper-class woman to admit that she had relatives in trade. Then the penny dropped. It was all black market stuff. He would just drop everything on the big kitchen table and leave without saying a word. The amounts were pre-war quantities — huge joints, and butter by the pound….. Page — We have told traders who buy margarine that they must take it, not from where they want to get it, but from the nearest factory that is making it. We have prescribed the places from which the retailer can get his goods because we have got what is, substantially, a standard margarine all over the country, and it is just as good from one place as from another.
We called together the bread people. We have arranged that the deliveries of bread shall be zoned, so that people do not go crossing unnecessarily the routes of others. We have been to the millers. We have told the millers that instead of delivering flour as they have been accustomed, according to the places where they had their clients, flour must in future be delivered from the mill that is nearest to the bakery.
I recently have come to an agreement — the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, suggested this method, which is one we are practising—with the cake and biscuit people. I asked them to meet me. I told them we no longer could afford, as I have told all these people, the amount of transport and man-power involved in this extravagant system of distribution, and that questions of their own good will just had to go by the board for the period of the war. The result of that is that , retailers have been reshuffled among the cake and biscuit manufacturers in this country so that they now draw their supplies from the places which are nearest.
We have saved 12,, ton-miles of transport, a matter of 40 per cent. We have done the same thing with the bacon trade. We have done the same with sugar, where we have saved 10,, ton-miles as a result. By these processes—and this will become obvious in a few weeks—we are restricting the choice of the public. They will no longer be able to say that they must have the product of the firm X because they prefer it to the product of the firm Y. Sweets we have restricted into various areas, only one firm supplying the same commodity in that district. We have saved 10,, ton-miles as a result, and , gallons of petrol.
If I may mention beer, we are going to save 1,, gallons of petrol next year, as compared with , as a result of the reorganization of deliveries in the beer trade. This year we are going to determine where tomatoes shall go to. I hope that plan is going to receive the support of the market gardeners and the agricultural interests generally, because this certainly is true, that whilst your Lordships may on occasion urge me to take a more vigorous line, I do not always find when I have taken that vigorous line that I have got the unanimous support of the agricultural interests behind me.
I made a conscientious effort, supported by the voluntary services of some very good citizens in this country, to deal with carrots and onions, but I do not think it met with a great deal of approval in spite of the effort and knowledge which went into it. One more thing will be announced tomorrow.
I am trying to get some orderly arrangement whereby retailers will only be allowed to draw their goods from wholesalers in certain areas. This means some restriction on the free choice of the retailer, but the restriction mainly is concerned with the goods that are already goods coming under control of the Minister of Food and in respect of which we prescribe prices. That scheme, which will divide the country up into a number of sectors and which will prevent all that overlapping that takes place in transport, will save a great deal of money, a great deal of labour—and that is more important than money in these days—and it will save a great deal of petrol.
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HL Deb 03 June vol page — Britain wanted two things from America: To this end, Britain needed, frankly, to look needy, even though it had a guaranteed wheat supply from Canada. Bread rationing ended in shortly after a signed and sealed agreement on Marshall Plan aid was safely in British hands. Tea rationing to end. Retrieved April from http: Sweet rationing ends in Britain. Wartime Garden and Kitchen. With Harry Dodson, Ruth Mott, et al. Coping with food rationing in s wartime Britain and the aftermath. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Retrieved May from http: A taste of austerity: Can chef Valentine Warner conjure a feast from wartime food rations?
A propensity to protect: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Jones, Sir Francis Avery. The Special role of micronutrients. The Caroline Walker Lecture Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, England: The Caroline Walker Trust. Pages 13 — Some Notes on Points Rationing.
The Review of Economic Statistics. Page 49 — Wartime Rationing helped the British get healthier than they had ever been. But Brits go misty eyed for a brightly coloured foil packet of strongly flavoured crisps and crumbs. Whilst expats can readily find crisps overseas, the flavours will be alien. Chilli and Lime is a favourite in Mexico whilst fish flavours dominate in Japan. Expats can scour their new country in vain looking for salt and vinegar, prawn cocktail or cheese and onion.
Posting on the Guardian as DoctorFerrant, one Brit in Bolivia told of his excitement of finding familiar flavours in the market.
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Cornflakes Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start the day without a nutritious meal and the rest of the working day is bound to unravel fast. The biggest complaint amongst expats is that where a bowl of bran-packed, milk-soaked tasty treats can be found, they are ridiculously expensive. Everything is plus tax. The price you see is not the price you pay. Bacon and sausages There are parts of the world where pork products are outlawed due to religious reasons. In the rest of the world, these mighty meaty ingredients inspire their own devoted following.
The Full English Fry Up revolves around a chunky, juicy sausage and thick smoky bacon, and even the humble bacon sandwich is a mighty handful of thickly sliced back flesh. There may be a myriad of ways to smoke, cure and serve bacon and sausages, all reflecting their originating culture.
But to a Brit, these are just pitiful imitations of the right way to prepare pork. Hayley summed it up on her blog, bitterballenbruid. British bacon comes in slabs!
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Biscuits Some things are just meant to go together: A simple, sweet snack, usually fairly plain in appearance, the unassuming biscuit knows its place as an accompaniment to tea. Abigail Simpson, an Englishwoman in New Zealand, writes for pomsawaydownunder. Gravy Gravy is the utility sauce of the British kitchen. The beefy broth is poured over anything savoury, instantly making it twice as tasty. Elaborately prepared roast dinners are naked without a splash of gravy and the humblest of drunken snacks can benefit from a serving of the steaming stuff.
Traditionally made from the juices of a roasting joint, the dying art of gravy production has been supplanted by ready-made broth in dissolvable granule form. It is this key ingredient that is leaving classics like Toad in the Hole, bangers and mash, and the mighty Sunday Roast dry and flavourless.
Baked Beans Although invented by America, Britain has taken the humble baked bean to her bosom. Americans visiting the UK are often dismayed by the gusto with which Brits dish up the orange dish, utilising it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whilst the British bombast for baked beans makes them a staple of UK menus, they are noticeably absent from expat homes. Crumpets Crumpets are an old British favourite, with references made to the tea cake as far back as Since then the hard, burnt pancake has evolved into a fluffy little bun that just calls to be slathered in tasty butter.
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There are imitation products available worldwide, but the true taste of home needs to be shipped from the source in the case of the crumpet. Back when the British Empire spanned the globe, people thrived on cups of steaming tea and the economy boomed as the trade in leaves drove massive investment. But as the Empire has declined, so has the omnipresence of tea.
Coffee consumption is going up in the UK and over the world. But Brits abroad will still be in for a rude shock, realising that their new home may be entirely devoid of teabags. A famously reserved species, the average Briton replaces displays of emotion with cups of steaming tea.