I am not a foodie, nor am I a particularly adventurous cook. I put it down to internalising the post-war austerity cuisine of my British childhood! I am still drawn to labour-intensive recipes that involve stewing cheaper cuts of meat, pastry-making and milk puddings. However, I don't use margarine and dried eggs nor dare I eat bread and dripping; and I've never had another toothpaste sandwich. To be fair to my mother, that wasn't her idea.
This moment of nostalgia was brought on by The Imperial War Museum's latest big exhibition The Ministry of Food running throughout 2010. The Director of Research sums it up here better than I can and there's lots of information on the museum's website. I particularly like the bracing information film on how to dig for victory for beginners.
A recreation of a newly stocked wartime shop based on photographs from the Museum's archive.
Rationing during the war applied to everyone, including the Royal Family.
Leonora K Green’s painting Coupons Required, 1941
Ooh a banana! It's what everyone talks about not having during the war. Spam and plenty of it, yes. I wonder if the blue variety was even tastier?
How chic is this? Not if that's all you had maybe.
What's chintz got to do with it?
Jean Monro Hollyhock
Well, only that in the dark days of food shortages my mother was relieved to find two sacks of rice in the back of her store cupboard. It made a lot of puddings (I doubt if she could buy the ingredients for curry) but it was originally intended for reglazing her chintz curtains. Now there's a thought..
All images courtesty of the Imperial War Museum except for the fabric which I pinched off The House of Beauty and Culture blog. Many thanks.