Eating habits were changed greatly by wartime shortages.
For many people rationing, synthetic foods, strange food combinations and the restrictions of the daily diet were among the most vivid memories of life in WW2. More
During the war many foods were rationed.
Food rationing was introduced in stages, beginning in January 1940. Foods that were rationed included bacon, butter, sugar, meat, tea, cooking fat, jam, cheese, eggs and milk. More
There was also a points systems for a range of other goods.
The points system gave shoppers a choice of foods such as breakfast cereals, condensed milk, biscuits, canned fruit or fish. Each food product had a value and you could buy up to the points ration for the family. More
The government appointed a Minister of Food.
His job was to sell the benefits of rationing to the public and educate people into better eating habits. More
Lord Woolton held this important job from April 1940 to December 1943.
It was the first time the findings of nutritional science, built up since WW1, were applied to feeding the population. Lord Woolton ran a very successful campaign and his famous Woolton pie became legendary! (See recipes) More
The loss of imports saw the need to increase agricultural production.
As more and more supply ships were being sunk by the German U-boats, additional home grown food was needed. All able-bodied men were needed to fight, leaving a shortage of labour to work on farms. The Women's Land Army provided much of the labour force required. More
People were encouraged to grow their own food.
The 'Dig for Victory' campaign saw people turn their flowerbeds into vegetable patches. The aim was to make Britain as self sufficient in food as possible. Chickens, rabbits and even pigs were reared in town gardens. More
'Potato Pete' and 'Doctor Carrot' tried to get children to eat more vegetables.
The carrot and the potato became the focus of a campaign to get people, especially children, to enjoy and value vegetables. They even had their own cartoon characters and songs. Even traditional nursery rhymes were adapted to the theme! More
Some foods such as potatoes, bread and coffee were not rationed.
Coffee was not such a popular drink as it is now. There were no fast food outlets other than the chip shop, which opened at weekends. This was considered a treat, not an everyday meal. More
The wartime loaf was made of wholemeal flour and was very healthy.
As less wheat could be imported, more flour was extracted from what grain there was. This method provided a wholemeal loaf, high in vitamin B1, but different from the white bread people were used to. More
The emphasis was on importing high energy foods.
The energy levels of home-grown food was still not high enough, despite the increase in agricultural production, to make up for the loss of imports, Some 2500 merchant ships were sunk by the U-boats, so it was important that those which did get through carried the foods most needed. More
People became used to dried milk and dried eggs.
The Ministry managed to get spam, dried eggs and dried milk in large quantities from the USA. The egg powder made rubbery omelettes and puddings but became, if not popular, at least remembered with affection. More
A radio cookery show called "The Kitchen Front" was a very big hit.
This was because many housewives were struggling to make the family ration stretch and to make meal times more interesting. Some really bizarre recipes were put forward. More
People were encourage to preserve perishable foods.
There were leaflets on pickling onions, bottling fruit and preserving tomatoes. The idea was to preserve food when available for use in the winter. More
No food was wasted.
Apple peel was boiled to make a lemon substitute in jams or drinks; bacon rinds provided fats for cooking meat or were used for flavouring soups; stale bread went into puddings or to make stuffing. Other scraps fed the animals. More
Those who lived in the countryside were generally better fed.
People who lived in the countryside had more room to keep livestock or grow extra vegetables than those in large towns or cities. More
Supplying the fighting men with enough food was an enormous task.
There were field canteens, and where these had not been established 'compo' (composite) rations were provided, containing enough food for 14 men. There were also 24-hour rations packets for troops in active combat. The food was not exciting but contained everything necessary to maintain health. More