Imagine you are housewife living during the Second World War. Your eldest son is off fighting and you dread the mailman arriving in case he brings bad news. Feeding your husband and other children is also very difficult. Food is rationed, and everything has to be made to last. Thank goodness for the Wartime Recipes booklet you have received. The recipes are very frugal and easy to make, but they still taste good. Hopefully there might even be something which you can make for your daughters coming birthday!
When I showed the children this ‘Wartime Recipes’ booklet, prepared by the Australian Dried Fruits Association and the Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy, their reactions were very funny. Several of the children enjoy cooking, but they had never seen recipes like those in this booklet. The recipes use very little sugar and often dripping (fat) is used in place of butter. They weren’t at all sure the food prepared according to these recipes would be at all nice, but I can assure them that the recipes not only work (though we use butter instead of dripping), but they are quite tasty! Come back on Friday and Roy will show you how to cook one of his favourites from this book.
During the Second World War, there was a huge shortage of people to do essential jobs for the war effort. Accompanying this shortage of workers, was a shortage in essential supplies like clothing, petrol and food. All of these things were rationed by the government meaning that each person was allowed a specific quantity of each thing. Rationing certainly made life tougher than it had been in peace time, but most Australians supported the rationing as it helped the war effort, but also meant that everybody had a fair access to essential supplies. However, there were runs on certain items before rationing was officially introduced. For example, there were rumours of match shortages or rationing, so people purchased thousands of them to ensure they would not go without.
One of the most important things which was rationed was food. Every person received a set number of ration coupons for the year which were used in shops instead of money and different things cost different numbers of coupons. Once the coupons were spent, people had to wait until the next year before getting new coupons. For men, living on the coupons was not too hard, but for women with large families things could be very difficult. Classes were established and books were released to help women cope with the rationing. These showed women how to substitute cheap or even free items for more expensive ingredients. One of the most common substitutions was dripping (which was the fat from cooked meat and was therefore ‘free’) for butter. The books, like the Wartime Recipes booklet I showed the children, also provided women with recipes which used less in the way of expensive, rationed ingredients like sugar yet still produced something tasty.