Friday, September 26, 2014

Tea Rationing in WW II: None for the Pot.

During World War II, the British Ministry of Food produced regular ‘Food Facts’ leaflets relating to various aspects of the wartime rationing system. I have talked about these Food Facts in a number of blog posts over the years, and today I thought I would show you the advice in the very first leaflet.

Rationing began in Britain on 8 January 1940, four months after the outbreak of war, with the first items affected being bacon, butter, and sugar. The specific foods and allowed quantities fluctuated over the years, but rationing did not completely end when the war ended. In actual fact, in many ways rationing was more stringent in the years after the war, as Britain turned resources to the rebuilding of Europe. It was not until July 3, 1954 that the final item – meat – was de-rationed.

Food Facts No. 1 was published in the last week of July, 1940, and it set the tone for the entire series of leaflets. The overall aim was to help the housewife cope with rationing system and the food shortages. The issues of avoiding waste (especially of wheat) and reducing meat consumption - which are clear in this first leaflet - were to become regular themes in the leaflets over the years. At this date, tea had been rationed for one week. It was to be restricted to 2 ounces per person, per week - a small amount indeed for the tea-loving - some might say tea-dependent – nation. The catch-phrase of the Ministry of Food was “one for each person, and none for the pot.”


There will be more advertisements in this series. It will be well worth your while to collect them. As each appears, pin it up in your kitchen.
Grow fit not fat on your war diet! Make full use of the fruit and vegetables in season. Cut out “extras”; cut out waste’ don’t eat more than you need. You’ll save yourself money, you’ll save valuable cargo space which is needed for munitions, and you’ll feel fitter than you ever felt before.

TEA TIPS. You can save that extra “one for the pot” if you get the best out of your tea, so remember that (1) as soon as the water is boiling really fast you should be ready with the well-warmed tea-pot; (2) the tea-pot should come to the kettle, not the kettle to the pot; (3) you should give the tea enough time to brew, and stir it just before pouring. If you do all this your ration will go further.
COOKED LETTUCE. Don’t make the mistake of using lettuce only as a salad. Lettuce cooked in a very little water makes a delicious vegetable, and you will enjoy even the outside leaves.
STALE BREAD. Bake any stale bread in slices and use as toast, or serve as rusks with soups or stews.
RECIPE for Stuffed Marrow.
Cut a medium-sized marrow in two and scoop out the seeds. Fill with stuffing made of two heaped tablespoonfuls of breadcrumbs (use and left-over pieces of bread for this), 2 tablespoonfuls minced bacon or cold meat, 1 tablespoonful chopped suet, 1 small onion grated and a sprinkling of mixed herbs, add pepper and salt to taste, and a little milk or egg to bind.
Put the halves together, tie round with tape, put in a baking tin with about 2 ozs of dripping and bake until tender – basting frequently. (Time about 1 hour.)
If preferred, the bacon or meat may be omitted, but in this case more suet should be included with the stuffing.

You can hear other useful tips on the wireless at 8.15 every morning.


SometimesKate said...

I love the Food Facts leaflets! I wish someone would collect them all in a book. Or that I would finally get down to transcribing them for my own use and amusement.

The Old Foodie said...

I am gradually (very gradually) transcribing them. There are over 500 of them though!

SometimesKate said...

I didn't realize there were quite so many!! I've only ever seen at most two dozen. Which is silly of me, really because they issued them regularly for years, so of course there should be hundreds. But the idea of cooked lettuce sounds awful. Probably because I was raised in an environment where the only lettuce was iceberg, and iceberg lettuce turns into slime when it gets hot.