Plant A Victory Garden!
After sitting with an elderly lady today, it left me wondering if indeed, it was the home economics that won the Second World War.
It all began when I was telling her about our home for waifs and strays and how we do our best to grow and preserve our own food. I explained how my father taught me how to survive on wild plants that grow in our hedgerows but I did admit to being lazy on times. She told me that she too had been taught the benefits of herbs for cooking and medicinal use during the war years.
So we talked about the war and the rationing of food and how they were educated in cooking frugal but nutritious meals for the family.
‘Marguerite Patten gave a cookery demonstration in Harrods,’ she laughed as she remembered those far away days. ‘And quite often you’d go to the cinema to see cooking movies.’ She wiped a tear from her eye and looking away while I left to make her a cup of sweet tea.
‘Tut, tut, tut,’ she said smiling when she tasted the tea. ‘You wouldn’t have had your sweet tea in those days!’ But she drank it anyway and it was clear that she quite enjoyed it.
‘It was all over the radio too,’ she said with enthusiasm and held out her cup for more tea. ‘Marguerite Patten would give talks on cooking which they called the Kitchen Front!’
I listened as she talked about Lord Woolton turning Kensington Gardens into allotments for city people. She giggled as she recited an old saying...
‘Those who have the will to win,
Cook potatoes in their skin,
Knowing that the sight of peelings,
Deeply hurts Lord Woolton's feelings..’
When we eventually parted, I thought about the things we talked about and came to the decision that the emergence of a healthier nation was largely due to Lord Woolton and the rationing process.
I have listed below, a few War-Time recipes.....
Onion and cheese Pudding
1 Large sliced onion
1 oz fat
Fry onion. Move to one side and fry flour. Add 1 ½ pints water, seasoning, and simmer till onion is tender. Sprinkle strips of bread with grated cheese. Place in layers in greased pie-dish, pour the soup over, bake until brown.
Haricot Bean Stew
1 lb cooked beans
1 oz chopped onion
Put 1 oz. Fat in saucepan and fry onion, then put beans on top and a little chopped parsley.Cover with stock or water, add pepper and salt and 1 teaspoonful vinegar and simmer until tender,thicken, boil and serve. An excellent dish made with beans, peas, lentils or macaroni.
Stew 1 lb apples to a soft pulp without sugar. Beat two tablespoonfuls of syrup into the apple. Make batter pancakes in the ordinary way, and serve with a large spoonful of the apple mixture folded into the centre of each.