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British Ration Week--Forgotten Weapons Series


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This is a series of videos being released discussing British food rationing during WWII. Ian goes over the scheme, then prepares and eats the food provided.

Edited by shep854
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Actually that rationing plan does not look too bad IMHO. SO maybe rationing was not as bad as it sounds in the UK. When I hear rationing I think of the 1917/18 shortages or just after WW2 in which everything was in short supply. The UK reminds me more of the situation in the better germany utopia (aka actually exisitng socialism in the DDR). You took what you could buy and not necessarily what you wanted, but noone was hungry.

Edited by Panzermann
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It did appear to be much better than I thought also. My impression was that the British were hanging on by their fingernails--I guess their nails were a bit longer than they appeared.

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Note however that a lot of vegetable were seasonal, and if not preserved would not be available during the winter.

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Actually that rationing plan does not look too bad IMHO. SO maybe rationing was not as bad as it sounds in the UK. When I hear rationing I think of the 1917/18 shortages or just after WW2 in which everything was in short supply. The UK reminds me more of the situation in the better germany utopia (aka actually exisitng socialism in the DDR). You took what you could buy and not necessarily what you wanted, but noone was hungry.

It got slowly worse as the war went on bear in mind. By the end we were trying to get the population to eat Snook. It was so vile, many people ended up feeding it to their cats.

 

It was probably worse in WW1. We were down to eating horses that time around.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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...By the end we were trying to get the population to eat Snook...

 

 

What was a problem?

 

Considered an excellent food fish, the common snook is fished commercially and foreign caught fish are sold in the USA. When cooking snook, the skin must be removed, because otherwise it imparts an unpleasant taste, described as soapy, to the fish.

 

... We were down to eating horses that time around.

 

Horses are good and tasty if prepared well. Even old ones can be made into the very good sausages.

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Actually that rationing plan does not look too bad IMHO. SO maybe rationing was not as bad as it sounds in the UK. When I hear rationing I think of the 1917/18 shortages or just after WW2 in which everything was in short supply. The UK reminds me more of the situation in the better germany utopia (aka actually exisitng socialism in the DDR). You took what you could buy and not necessarily what you wanted, but noone was hungry.

It got slowly worse as the war went on bear in mind. By the end we were trying to get the population to eat Snook. It was so vile, many people ended up feeding it to their cats.

 

It was probably worse in WW1. We were down to eating horses that time around.

 

People could eat all the horse meat they wanted to in WW2 Britain, it wasn't rationed. Fish was also not rationed because the plan was that rationing would only be applied to those items that could be reliably available, so if you had a ration coupon for an item you could be sure to get that item in the rationed amount. Since there was no way to predict the availability of fish due to the impact of the war on fishing fleets it was not a ration item. I believe the problem with snook was that the canned version was not particularly palatable. This page has a pretty decent review of the rationing scheme implemented by the UK in WW2. http://www.cooksinfo.com/british-wartime-food

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Lol. I bet it was still a better quality meat than a crap that usually goes in the factory made frozen lasagna... :)

BTW, donkey is also really good, but it is really hard to find, in few parts of Croatia (Dalmatia) it is a specialty.

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...By the end we were trying to get the population to eat Snook...

 

 

What was a problem?

 

Considered an excellent food fish, the common snook is fished commercially and foreign caught fish are sold in the USA. When cooking snook, the skin must be removed, because otherwise it imparts an unpleasant taste, described as soapy, to the fish.

 

... We were down to eating horses that time around.

 

Horses are good and tasty if prepared well. Even old ones can be made into the very good sausages.

 

 

They hated it. Im tempted to put it down to a simple dislike along the lines of Brits dont drink Coffee, Americans dont eat fish and chips, but my father, when we watched a documentary on it expressed a loathing of it. Whether he actually ever tried it is another matter of course. The point is, the ministry of food bought a job lot of the stuff and nobody wanted to eat it.

 

Horses, yes im sure you are right, but its not the way we Brits treat our horses. That we delve into doing such things shows a degree of desperation that in other nations might be seen by delving into the cats and dogs.

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My father passed away last year so I cant ask him (well unless I involve a ouija board obviously) but I just talked it over with my mother and she said my Great Grandmother on my father side bought Snook, but they didnt like it. As she said, there was nothing else. They also bought horse-meat and Whale (sirloin or otherwise, I didnt ask). Now admittedly they were not very well off at the best of times, but it kind of illustrates they were eating pretty much everything that was offered at the end. Enjoying it is another matter of course.

 

My Grandfather on my fathers side seemed to be existing on a diet largely of Corned Beef in Sicily, or Corned Dog as they called it. He developed a loathing of it for the rest of his life, though if he had spent any time in Tunisia, I doubt a dusting of sand improved the taste any.

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They hated it. Im tempted to put it down to a simple dislike along the lines of Brits dont drink Coffee, Americans dont eat fish and chips, but my father, when we watched a documentary on it expressed a loathing of it. Whether he actually ever tried it is another matter of course. The point is, the ministry of food bought a job lot of the stuff and nobody wanted to eat it.

If they did not want to eat it than none was actually hungry, so all was good, and you had reserve in case SRHTF.

 

 

Horses, yes im sure you are right, but its not the way we Brits treat our horses. That we delve into doing such things shows a degree of desperation that in other nations might be seen by delving into the cats and dogs.

Horses were adored in in the 19th/1st half of 20th century Serbia*, but they were also eaten regularly. Actually, horse meat was routinely prescribed by doctors for anemia and was considered high class fare (since horses were expensive). Again, proving that none was hungry in UK or even close to it in WW2**.

 

*Horse was considered a status symbol, as they were expensive, most peasants did plowing and other work with oxen. There was also a fact that they were "freedom status" as during the Ottoman occupation ownership of the horses was mostly prohibited by Turks.

 

**One of my favorite stories that a grandfather told about his day in partisans was about Italian cook who managed to make a meat stew when they were really hungry. Everyone was happy until someone asked cook where did he get a meat as they realized none had gone foraging. Cook, having only basic understanding of the Serbo-Croatian only said "Meow". None stopped eating, only someone said "Fucking Italian cat-eaters" Which was kinda ironic if you think about that...

As a consequence of the 4 years spent in the partisans grandfather knew probably every single edible plant you could find.

 

Point being that people will eat any animal if they are really hungry, all respect toward horses is worth zero when your choice is between eating and not eating.

Edited by bojan
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Well nobody was starving, thats clear. But if nobody was hungry, one has to explain the rise of the Spiv and the rise of the illegal meat trade. Im thinking of that film 'A Private Function' where they raise a pig on the QT without declaring it. I get the impression this was not uncommon.

 

 

It was certainly nowhere near as bad as the continent. When my Grandfather came home from Germany, he was skin and bone. Then you have Denmark which was starving to death, so we had to start food bombing them.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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