On this day in 1954, after thirteen years of control, and nine years after the end of the war, cheese was de-rationed in Britain. Cheese rationing started in May 1941 at a tiny one ounce per person per week; it was at a maximum in July 1942 at a luxurious eight ounces. For most of the war the allocation was between two and four ounces per week, with declared vegetarians and ‘certain workers’(such as underground miners and agricultural workers who could not easily get to a canteen) getting a little more.
The Ministry of Food put out a regular series of “Food Facts” leaflets during rationing period to help housewives understand and manage the system, and they are a fascinating read today. In early 1942, Food Facts Leaflet number 104 focussed on two things: using the cheese ration, and conserving fuel - which apparently could be achieved simultaneously:
‘Do you know that you can now get 4 oz of cheese each week for every member of the family – extra for certain workers? …. It is good fuel-saving news too, because even when you want to make a hot savoury dish it takes next to no cooking. Cheese is an all-rounder. … Make the most of your generous cheese ration by using it in main meals as often as you can.’
The leaflet gave general hints for using and storing cheese, a recipe for cheese salad, and two special Recipes for the Week, which were:
This filling between two good slices of bread makes an appetising and nourishing meal especially good for heavy workers. Ingredients: Left-over cold potato or cooked haricot beans. Grated cheese. Pinch of dry mustard. Method: Mash the beans or potato and mix well with grated cheese and dry mustard. This can be spread directly on the bread, butter or margarine being unnecessary. To make the sandwiches a perfect meal, raw shredded cabbage, spinach, or sliced tomato, or well-chopped parsley should be added.
Quick Welsh Rarebit.
Time: Cooking 5 minutes
Ingredients: 2 slices of bread, 1 teaspoonful margarine, 1 teaspoonful, chutney, or worcester sauce, or yeast extract, 2 tablespoonfuls grated cheese.
Quantity: 1 helping
Method: Toast bread and spread with margarine and a thin coating of chutney, or worcester sauce, or yeast extract. Cover with grated cheese. Place under the grill till golden brown. Eat with a raw vegetable salad.
The latter recipe fits nicely with our mini-collection of other recipes for Welsh Rabbit.
If you want to find out why it is really Rabbit not Rarebit,
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It is a sad day when cheese must be rationed.
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