Friday, March 24, 2006
All the wheat that's good to eat.
The final episode in our week of WW II food.
Today, Friday March 24th …
The Federation of Bakers was formed on this day in 1942, to assist in organising the wartime production and distribution of bread, and in particular to promote the ‘National Wheatmeal Loaf’ – the Plus Loaf.
Eating this brown version of the staff of life became a patriotic duty, and an awful lot of propaganda was applied to persuading the British from away from their standard white bread. The National Loaf was made with flour of 85% extraction, and it was desirable because it was a more efficient way of using imported wheat, at a time when “Ships and more ships are wanted for war materials. Less space can be spared for food. That’s why we must all think of food in terms of ship-savers”.
It might be “All the wheat that’s easy to eat”, but as the war progressed barley and oats were included, and in 1943 potato flour was allowed – probably the point at which some reluctant eaters called it ‘Hitler’s Secret Weapon’. Every propaganda angle was used: customers who bought it were smart as well as patriotic because it was “the wise ones who want it”, because the bread was “one thing better than it was before – better and no dearer!”.
No bread was to be wasted: one way or another all waste played directly into the hands of The Hun.
REMEMBER that if everyone in Great Britain wasted ½ oz. of bread daily we should be wasting 250,000 tons of wheat a year, and that 30 wheat ships would be required to carry that amount.
For the housewife “To-day’s scraps are tomorrow’s Savouries”, and pamphlets and newspapers gave and solicited hints for using every scrap of stale bread. This was one Ministry of Food ‘recipe of the week’:
Savoury Meat Roll.
¾ lb sausage meat
4 oz stale bread
5 oz pinto beans
1 teaspoonful thyme
1 teaspoonful made mustard
pepper and salt
Soak the stale bread in water until soft. Squeeze out the water and mash the bread with the sausage meat, the beans – cooked and mashed, pepper, salt, made mustard, and thyme. Add gravy browning until the mixture is a rich brown. Press very firmly into a greased 2 lb, stone jam jar or tin, and steam for 2 hours. Roll in browned bread-crumbs and serve hot with brown gravy, or cold with a raw cabbage heart salad, and boiled potatoes.
On Monday: A gay rugby dinner.