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British Ration Week--Forgotten Weapons Series


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Those bloody Yanks... :P

Not that I can complain: most of the time these days I use what we call a splade:

Edited by DougRichards
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In the comments, Ian said he lost 2 lb, though he never left the table hungry.

 

In many ways, the WW2 diet was very healthy. It was low in fats and sugars and there was widespread issuing of vitamin supplements for the general population. IIRC for a lot of poorer people, their diet actually improved with the introduction of rationing. I haven't watched all of Ian's videos yet so I don't know if he talks about it, but another important source of food came from back garden veggie patches, allotments and illicit chooks or pigs being fattened up on leftovers. My mum can remember growing up in Bristol in the 1950's and she always had a "pet" chicken or two in the back garden. It took a while for her to make the connection between her "pet" disappearing and a nice roast chicken dinner on a Sunday.

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In the comments, Ian said he lost 2 lb, though he never left the table hungry.

 

In many ways, the WW2 diet was very healthy. It was low in fats and sugars and there was widespread issuing of vitamin supplements for the general population. IIRC for a lot of poorer people, their diet actually improved with the introduction of rationing. I haven't watched all of Ian's videos yet so I don't know if he talks about it, but another important source of food came from back garden veggie patches, allotments and illicit chooks or pigs being fattened up on leftovers. My mum can remember growing up in Bristol in the 1950's and she always had a "pet" chicken or two in the back garden. It took a while for her to make the connection between her "pet" disappearing and a nice roast chicken dinner on a Sunday.

 

Yes, Ian does go into those points, including how the gov't didn't get upset over 'grey market' barter. What was a bit surprising was how little actual 'black marketeering' occurred.

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Here's an interesting read. In 1939 some nutritionists from Cambridge University wanted to investigate what would happen if the U boat campaign completely cut off food imports to Britain. The short version is that people would end up eating a lot of turnips and brown bread but that aside from farting a lot and taking massive, fiber filled dumps, it would probably be OK.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/sep/24/fighting-fit-britain-second-world-war

 

It would also be interesting to compare the British wartime diet with what people in the Soviet Union or, God forbid, Nazi occupied Europe ended up eating.

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Just finished catching up on the series. Really interesting stuff.

 

With beer in short supply, I bet there was an explosion in home brewing. You can make decent wine out of parsnips, elderflowers and all manner of other stuff that grows in Britain. And of course there was always...

 

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At the risk of going off topic (and kudos for citing the wurzels) but isnt it strange that moonshining like the US model has never taken off here? Ive not even read of anyone doing it during the war, when you would have assumed it would have gone through the roof. Strange thing that.

 

I think we got off lightly because bureaucracy was well prepared, with a memory of what happened in ww1. Somehow you just know it wouldnt work as well if it happened today.

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Wonder if the Germans, Italians, Japanese and Soviet civilians had a similar system? Although I would think the Soviets had it worse. Much worse.

 

AFAIK the German system worked until the war ended and the country was devided into four occupation zones. They had trade barriers between them that tuned one single market into four rather seperated ones. The result were two hunger winters. A third probbaly didn't happen because the British and Americans began integrating the economies of their zones before the second began.

 

PS: The Japanese very narrowly avoided a massive famine in 1946. If the war had gone just a bit longer the seed grain for 46 would have been issued as rations.

Edited by Markus Becker
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At the risk of going off topic (and kudos for citing the wurzels) but isnt it strange that moonshining like the US model has never taken off here? Ive not even read of anyone doing it during the war, when you would have assumed it would have gone through the roof. Strange thing that.

 

I think we got off lightly because bureaucracy was well prepared, with a memory of what happened in ww1. Somehow you just know it wouldnt work as well if it happened today.

 

I think that traditionally, Brits haven't been big spirits drinkers especially in rural communities who might be expected to give moonshining a go. Scotch and brandy have always been a bit of a toffs' drink and gin was more for people in the cities.

 

I also think that the Powers That Be did a really good job of getting the psychology right with rationing. Giving the King and Queen a ration book was a masterstroke and making sure that they only rationed things that they could always provide was a good idea too.

 

Going off topic a bit, I was reading some of the comments on that youtube video and there was a bloke on there who reckons he saw Adge performing at the national cider drinking championships in a field in Somerset some time in the 1960's. The winner ended up vomiting all over poor old Adge. I bet he was an absolute bloody legend down the pub for the rest of his days.

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At the risk of going off topic (and kudos for citing the wurzels) but isnt it strange that moonshining like the US model has never taken off here? Ive not even read of anyone doing it during the war, when you would have assumed it would have gone through the roof. Strange thing that.

 

I think we got off lightly because bureaucracy was well prepared, with a memory of what happened in ww1. Somehow you just know it wouldnt work as well if it happened today.

There was only one Lord Woolton; he was truly the man for that time. His 'common' origins gave him huge insight and credibility.

Edited by shep854
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It strikes me, we lack that kind of political class with that degree of common touch now. It was painfully evident as long ago as the millennium dome. But I digress.

 

There was an interesting thing I remember from a documentary. When the Government was doing its information programmes during the war, it was done in the spirit of respectful suggestion. 'why dont you try etc etc'. It was successful and it got people engaged with new ideas. When the Labour Government got in postwar, it became more assertive 'You MUST etc etc etc'. And according to one woman whom worked in the information department for the ministry of food, people stopped listening. I thought that was quite interesting, and something we could probably learn from today. As a further thought, its probably the reason why the 'Keep Calm and Carry on' poster was never actually issued.

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  • 1 month later...

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/diet/british-health-department-to-put-whole-country-on-a-diet/news-story/2707858ae2e6bf094c18fb20652ee72c

 

Rationing starts again?

 

WATCH out Britain, you’re going on a diet! And with Australia’s obesity rates very similar to that of the United Kingdom, we probably need to pay attention to new recommendations.

Public Health England has suggested the average daily calorie intake be cut by 20 per cent in an attempt to reduce the estimated $9 billion future cost of obesity and up to 35,000 premature deaths.

This is serious stuff. Basically they’re telling the whole country to go on a diet.

A report published on Tuesday by Public Health England (an agency of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care) recommends that calorie intake be specifically targeted and the powerful food industry challenged to develop lower calorie foods to make weight control easier for the average person.

The recommendations were based on the fact that while current advice is for adults to consume between 2000 and 2500 calories each day, it is known that the average person puts away 200 to 300 calories more than this every day, hence the rising rate of obesity.

As such there are calls for calorie intakes to be slashed, to just 1600 calories per day, or 400 calories at breakfast and 600 at both lunch and dinner, and a clear focus on three square meals each day.

With an average fast food or cafe meal containing at least 800 calories, the food industry has become a key stakeholder to make this outcome achievable.

These recommendations are of specific interest for Australia since we have danced around the concept of calorie control for many years. Recommendations to ‘eat less and move more’, or ‘make healthy choices’ are simply not getting through.

The food labelling of percentage daily intake of energy intake has been a dismal failure with the average Aussie having no idea how many calories or kilojoules they need, let alone how to bring individual foods together into a daily regimen that supports weight control.

Bold moves must be made.

Put most simply, we — like the Brits — eat far too much.

While 1600 calories may sound like a lot, in reality most of us blow this out with the few extra Tim Tams, or Thai takeaway we pick up on the way home after a long day.

In addition, our snacks become meals and since most of us spend the day sitting down, we are simply burning nowhere near the number of calories old estimates of calorie requirements are based on. Something has to change and perhaps clear guidance on calorie intake is all that is required.

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  • 4 months later...

Ian also illustrated the difference between 'expeditionary' and 'occupation'. I think about comments made on other threads about how comfortable American establishments tend to get. While 'softness' may be a problem--especially for the denizens of such activities--a place where they can unwind and enjoy a bit of comfort is a huge morale boost for the troops out on the sharp, very primitive end.

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My mother's family kept rabbits during the war for lunch. She would have rabbit mittens and hat in winter and so had the nickname Bunny. Looking at the deeds of my house (which was completed as war started and required special permitionto be finished) you could not keep pigeons or chickens. A note was added a year laiter to say that you can now keep chickens. This is still in force.

 

When on a visit to the Dark Peaks the guide talked about the miners keeping a pig as a community in the backyard of one of the houses. At some point it would be killed and butchered with the parts divided between the families who had looked after it. It was then salted and put into a barrel for future use. This was a common custom in poor areas and I can see no reason why it would not continue into war time.

 

The blandness of British food has been one of those comments widely talked about but has had very little research to check its validity. People should consider that for nearly 50 year the UK was under rationing or food shortages of some kind from WW1, the depression to WW2 and well into the 50s. On my kitchen shelf I have a cookbook issued by New World Cookers. It was first published in 1927 and my edition No 23 is from 1941.

 

 

Snip- The book is divided into a number of sections dealing with the various classes of food required in the ordinary household. -Snip

 

In the twentieth edition, the whole of the book was revised with the addition of further recipes and four coloured illustrations. This edition was so popular (my bold) that fresh editions were printed in August 1939, April, 1940 and yet another edition in now offered in 1941.

 

The first colour plate has Hors d'oeuvres with anchovy eggs, olives sardines (not in tom sauce) stuffed tomatoes and others. Wandering through I see recipes for Calf's head, haggis, Sheep's head, roast heart (sheep). Stuffed tomatoes with spaghetti in the vegetable section and instruction on cooking rice and spaghetti. Liver A La Provencale and Polish stew sit in the same section as Fricassee of Veal and Tripe and onions. And who would not salivate over Calf's Brain Fritters (if anyone wants me to transpose the recipe I will).

 

There is a large pudding section (as in sweets not pies).

 

So to say that British cooking was bland is a misrepresentation not backed up by the cook books.

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Here's an interesting read. In 1939 some nutritionists from Cambridge University wanted to investigate what would happen if the U boat campaign completely cut off food imports to Britain. The short version is that people would end up eating a lot of turnips and brown bread but that aside from farting a lot and taking massive, fiber filled dumps, it would probably be OK.

 

I'm married to a vegan so don't have to speculate what the latter two phenomena would be like. :)

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We still have the remains of 2 pigpens in the back yard. So I shall be ready for Armageddon/Zombie Apocalypse/Apocalypse Summer/Brexit/Johnson for PM even if nobody else is.

 

The problem with all these studies is, they might well have cut off the food from the UK. But you only needed some inclement weather or a particular blight (look what happened to Ireland) and you would have had over 30 million people starving. Thats before one recognises that at the same time as the food being cut off we would have had petrol cut off at the same time, and suddenly we have the Nazi's marching up whitehall. Whom were pretty good at making people starve too come to that.

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