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This month, our Community Liaison Officer, Virginia Arrowsmith, has chosen Elizabeth Craig’s ‘Wartime Cookbook’, which was published during the Second World War. It is a compilation of culinary tips and recipes for housewives striving to make ends meet on rations.
“In her introduction, Craig writes, ‘Never allow it to be said that we British women, whose job it was to cook in the war, failed at our post. Armed with wooden spoon, basin and saucepan, we’ll keep the pots boiling whatever happens.’
Home economy, self-sufficiency and recycling ensured vital resources could be directed to the war and enabled us to feed ourselves despite U-boat blockades of food imports.
I often use this book in my workshops and community sessions to highlight the important role women and children played on the Home Front during the conflict. It amazes me just how resourceful people became; gathering hedgerow fruits and wild food, keeping pigs which could be fed with waste scraps, substituting unavailable ingredients such as wheat flour with things that could be grown locally such as oats and potatoes.
Interestingly, the book also includes recipes from the First World War such as Trench Pudding, reminding us that many housewives of the early 1940s had experienced food shortages and rationing as children and young women, just 20 years earlier in World War One.
Much of the advice she gives on careful housekeeping is relevant even today!”