It is some time since I gave you a World War II story, so today I am going to my favourite resource on wartime food in Britain – the Food Facts leaflets put out every week by the Ministry of Food.
Food Facts Number 18 was published in The Times of November 25, 1940. It was early in the war, and the Ministry began with a general reminder of its role, then went on to suggest a fuel-efficient, home-made “emergency oven.” The leaflet also included, as became usual, a recipe compliant with rationing and food shortages:-
THIS WEEK’S FOOD FACTS.
One of the chief purposes of the Ministry of Food is to help the housewife to make the most of her housekeeping money, and to see that everyone can buy a fair share of the foods important to health. In addition to giving news and guidance regarding foods in good supply, the Ministry subsidises certain foods so that they can be bought at a reasonable price.
Biscuit Tin Oven.
A little emergency oven is a sensible thing to have by you these days. One of those big square biscuit tins makes an excellent one. You can use it over an oil stove.
Cut two parallel slits, one inch by four inches, in the centre of one side of the tin about one inch apart. Make the lid into a door by wiring it to the tin at one side. Balance the oven firmly on top of the stove, slit-side down. Put inside an inverted baking tin or the trivet from the grill pan to support your baking tray. You can cook slow-baking dishes such as milk puddings and casseroles in this way, and you’ll find it useful for heating up such things as shepherd’s pie.
War-time Queen of Puddings.
Queen of Puddings has always been a favourite. Try this war-time recipe without eggs. Make a pint of sweetened vanilla custard, using about three-quarters of the usual amount of custard powder to a pint of milk and water. Put a dessertspoonful of cocoa into a bowl with a heaped breakfast cup of breadcrumbs. Beat the custard well in with a fork – the mixture should be nice and wet. If you can spare a small nut of margarine, add it to the custard too. Spread a layer of jam – any kind will do – on the bottom of a greased pie dish, pour the custard mixture over the jam and bake for about 20 minutes in a brisk oven. (Enough for four people.)