Category Archives: Uncategorized

Knitting on the Ration

Posted on by

During the war in a Britain, knitting by hand reached its peak. Women, and a few men, were encouraged to contribute to the war effort by knitting. It was considered one’s duty to knit socks, hats, and other items for the troops serving throughout the Empire. The motto was: “England expects – knit your bit.”

BF3D12C2-2B27-4731-8DDB-76634B95BE9C

Manufacturers gave away free knitting patterns and knitting wool was given to schools so that children could knit gloves, scarves, balaclava “helmets,” (a balaclava was a knitted covering designed to keep the neck and head warm, with just an opening for the face, and worn under a helmet) and knitted hats for the forces. Wool was also supplied to local WIs (Women’s Institutes of Great Britain), who made over 22 million knitted garments for the Red Cross (an average of 67 garments per member). Items knitted were sent to prisoners of war, as well as to troops overseas.

The warmth of the knitted garments also made them popular for those on the home front, who were faced with a shortage of heating fuel and needed to keep warm during wartime winters. In the face of wool rationing, knitters were encouraged to unravel old sweaters and other woolen garments to make new ones. Waste not, Want not!

 

Below are pattern instructions for the Balaclava helmet. Knit your own and stay warm!

28D7AB41-4D31-480B-9E05-28CBEE85374DD8925EBE-4946-4BD2-B264-52C7E37B518E

The Balaclava Helmet
Materials
2 oz. of Jaeger “Super-Spun” (“,J.S.” Quality) Fingering, 4 -ply, (9d. per oz.), 1 pair of No. 10 Jaeger knitting needles, and 1 set of No. 11 Jaeger knitting needles with points at both ends.
Measurements Length, 16 inches.
Tension
15 stitches to 2 inches in width, and 15 rows to 2 inches in depth, measured over the garter-stitch.
Abbreviations
K. = knit; p. = purl; sts. = stitches; tog. = together; inc. = increase or increasing; dec. = decrease or decreasing.
Casting-on
If you cast on with two needles work into the back of all cast on sts. to produce firm edges, but if you use the thumb method this is not necessary.
The front flap
Begin at the lower edge. Cast on 30 sts. using No. 10 needles and work in garter-st., inc. 1 st. at both ends of every row until there are 50 sts. on the needle. Continue without inc. until the work measures 6 inches from the beginning.
Next row – Cast on 8 sts., k. to end. Leave this work for the present and work the back flap in the same way. Now place the sts. of the back and front on to three No. 11 needles, then with the fourth needle work in k.2, p.2 rib until the work measures 9.5 inches from the beginning. Now place the centre 32 sts. of the front on to a spare needle. Change to No. 10 needles and garter-st. and continue on the remaining 84 sts. for 0.5 inch.

Next row – K.10, turn and work 2.5 inches on these sts. Cut the wool.
Next row – K.64, turn and work 2.5 inches on these sts. Cut the wool. Work on the remaining 10 sts. for 2.5 inches.
Next row – K. across all sts. Continue on these sts. for 2 inches. Now shape the top as follows: 1st row – K.53, k.2 tog., turn.
2nd row – K.24, k.2 tog. Rep. the 2nd row until all sts. are on one needle and 24 sts. remain. Now using No. 11 needles pick up and k.36 sts. down the left side of head, work in k.2, p.2 rib across the 32 sts. of the chin, pick up and k.36 sts. along the right side of the head, then rib the 24 sts. at the top of the head (128 sts.). Arrange these sts. on three needles and with the fourth needle work 2 inches in k.2, p.2 rib. Cast off in rib.

The ear flaps
Holding the work right side towards you, pick up and k.28 sts. along the front ear opening. Work 2 inches in garter-st. on these sts., then dec. 1 st. at both ends of every row until 12 sts. remain. Cast off. Press the work on the wrong side with a warm iron and damp cloth.

 

 

Category: Uncategorized

Evansville in World War II

Posted on by

Wartime in Evansville

Although this website is devoted to Britain in wartime, the war effort was global. Rationing and war production in the United States helped Britain fend off the Nazi war machine while providing a booming wartime economy in many cities like Evansville, Indiana. I highly recommend reading James L. MacLeod’s book, Evansville in World War II.

During World War II, the city of Evansville manufactured vast amounts of armaments that were vital to the Allied victory. The Evansville Ordnance Plant made 96 percent of all .45-caliber ammunition used in the war, while the Republic Aviation Plant produced more than 6,500 P-47 Thunderbolts—almost half of all P-47s built during the war. At its peak, the local shipyard employed upward of eighteen thousand men and women who forged 167 of the iconic Landing Ship Tank vessels. In this captivating and fast-paced account, University of Evansville historian James Lachlan MacLeod reveals the enormous influence these wartime industries had on the social, economic and cultural life of the city.-from The History Press/Arcadia Publishing website:

www.Arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781626196759

IMG_1127

Category: Uncategorized

Hay Box Cooking

Posted on by 0 comment

During wartime, saving fuel was very important. The amounts of various cooking fuels were limited, so other ways of cooking food and saving cooking fuels became necessary.

The hay box was one popular method. For today’s consumer, we could think of it as a non-electric Crock Pot©. The hay box was easy to use; a wartime cook had only to heat the food to boiling in a covered pot, and place the pot in a box that was lined, and then covered, with hay. The heat would stay around the pot due to the hay insulation and continue to cook the food throughout the day.

Hay boxes could be built of wood, or a hole could even be dug in the ground and lined with hay. More than one dish could be cooked at a time by stacking pots or bowls with the lid, and then placing another bowl (with the vegetable or side dish placed on top of the lid or plate covered meat) on top. Imagine, a whole meal being cooked in a hay box while the family was going about their day. Another method of rationing in wartime Britain!

imageimageimage

Category: Uncategorized

Household Milk

Posted on by

“Household Milk” was government-issued powdered skim milk distributed in Britain during World War II. Rationing of bottled fresh milk began in November 1941. Distribution of “Household Milk” began in December, 1941.

The dried milk came in a blue and white tin with red stripes and a printed label stating: “Specially packed for BRITISH MINISTRY OF FOOD” along with “Dried Machine Skimmed Milk. Not to be used for babies. Contents equivalent to four pints of skimmed milk. From the United States of America.”

household milkhousehold milk1*

A ration coupon was required and the dried milk cost about 9 pence. Each person was entitled to 1 canister of dried Household Milk every four weeks. In addition to powdered milk, each person was allowed 3 pints of fresh dairy milk a week, with amounts varying due to shortages. The allowance of fresh milk was more for expectant mothers, children, and those that were ill or had special needs.

Household Milk was not to be confused with National Dried Milk. National Dried Milk was dried “full-cream milk” that was intended for  babies.

dried milkdriedmilk

*photos from Imperial War Museum

Category: Uncategorized

Potato Soup

Posted on by

Potato Soup

  • 1½ lb potatoes.
  • 1 stick celery, a few spring onions, or a little leek.
  • 2 tablespoonfuls chopped parsley.
  • 1¾ pints of vegetable water (water remaining from cooked vegetables) or water.
  • 1 teacup (4 oz or US half cup) of milk or household milk (powdered skim milk         mixed with water).
  • Seasoning.

Method-Scrub and slice the potatoes and celery. Place in boiling salted water. Cook with the lid on until quite soft. Rub through a sieve or mash well with a wooden spoon. Add milk and re-heat, but do not re-boil. Sprinkle in coarsely chopped parsley just before serving.

From the Ministry of Food Cookery Leaflet #3

potatoes1

Category: Uncategorized

RECIPE-Eggless Christmas Cake

Posted on by 0 comment

image

Even with the Christmas holidays approaching, all families still had to deal with rationing. Few fresh eggs or dried eggs, limited amounts of butter and other fats, sugar, and chocolate, as well as just about everything that was so good, yet so bad (as in unhealthy) for a person, was on the ration. Here is an Eggless Christmas Cake that is easy to make and delicious. The carrots and milk provide the needed moisture.

Eggless Christmas Cake

4 oz  finely grated carrots
2 tablespoons golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
3 oz sugar
4 oz margarine
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
vanilla essence (extract)
almond essence (extract)
4—6 oz dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, raisins)
12 oz self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 small teacup (6 oz) milk, slightly warmed

Cook the grated carrots and syrup over a low heat for a
few minutes. Cream the sugar and margarine until light and
fluffy. Stir the baking soda into the carrots and syrup
mixture, then beat it into the sugar and margarine mixture,
treating it as if it were an egg. Add a half teaspoon each of
vanilla and almond extract, and stir in with the dried fruit.
Fold in the flour and cinnamon, and add the warmed milk
to. make a moist dough. Put the mixture into a greased cake
tin (or use a fluted tube pan such as a Bundt® pan). Smooth the top, and make a deep hole in the centre with a spoon if not using a tube pan, to stop the cake from rising too much during cooking. Put into a hot oven (gas Mark 7=425° F) then immediately turn down to a very low heat (gas Mark 2=300° F) and bake for 3 hours.

Homemade Wartime Christmas Ornaments

Posted on by

christmaspaperwartime

Due to rationing during the war, many families made their own Christmas ornaments. Since there was a paper shortage, any scraps of paper, old Christmas cards, and brown paper were used to make ornaments and decorations. Here is a video from the Imperial War Museum for making Christmas ornaments from folded paper!

Pans into Planes

Posted on by


Recycling is nothing new; the collection of materials to be recycled, reused, and re-purposed was a popular theme in World War II.  The British people saw the implementation of scrap drives to collect metal to make planes and other necessary equipment for the war effort.

In May, 1940, Churchill appointed William “Max” Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, as Minister of Aircraft Production, and with the Prime Minister’s blessing,  Beaverbrook overhauled all aspects of war-time aircraft production. He increased production targets by 15% across the board, took control of aircraft repairs, and increased RAF storage units.*

Woman with aluminium pans, World War Two, 10 July 1940.LON11_HOM_206.tif

Metal was needed to make planes. Lord Beaverbrook asked the WVS (Womens Voluntary Service) to oversee the drive, and they went into action and asked for the collection of saucepans, frying pans, colanders, tea trays, kettles, pot lids, shoe trees and any other scrap they could find which contained aluminium. 1600 centers were set up throughout Britain as collection and storage centers for the metal. (Conjectures whether the collected metal was actually used or the collection campaign was just propaganda exist.)

Lord Beaverbrook, said in July, 1940, “We want it (aluminum) and we want it now. New and old, of every type and description, and all of it. We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes, Blenheims and Wellingtons.”

 

*Geoffrey Best (2005). Churchill and War. Humbledon and London

Category: Uncategorized

“And none for the pot”

Posted on by

No one can doubt the importance of tea in British culture. The phrase “I’ll put the kettle on” led to the all popular “cuppa” bringing comfort to the British public in times both good and bad.  With the onset of war in 1939, tea was not initially rationed.  The rise of supply ships being sunk by German submarines led to the government taking over the control of food and prices, and tea eventually became rationed along with meat, sugar, butter, and other necessary foodstuffs. The Ministry of Food took even more drastic action to safeguard tea. Within two days after war broke out, the transfer of all tea to warehouses outside London was implemented to protect the morale-boosting product in case of air raids. After the Nazi blockade of supply ships, tea was rationed to 2 ounces per person, per week, for those five years of age and older. This ration made for rather weak tea, and only two to three cups per day, but soldiers and war workers were issued extra rations of tea. A patriotic poem was written when tea rationing was introduced:

Cup of Tea, Cup of Tea
You Are Just the Thing for Me
No Milk, No Sugar, No Parsley in my cup of Tea
No Mint, No Thyme, No Red Red Rose
Just Give Me Normal by the Hose
So keep your ration book in Hand
And we’ll drink tea across the land
And an extra cup for Granny, too
And all our dashing lads in blue.
Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, made regular radio broadcasts on “The Kitchen Front,” a program broadcast on the BBC. He greatly proclaimed that all Britons must save on tea. He said “Here’s a new slogan for wartime: One {teaspoon} per person, and none for the pot!”
tearation1 tearation3

Rationing of tea lasted throughout the war. Due to the continued rationing of food postwar, most rationing of goods including tea, did not end until 1952.

 

Category: Uncategorized

RECIPE-Royal Dressing

Posted on by

With the rationing of oils and eggs, the luxury of “salad cream” or salad dressing soon became a rarity.

The Ministry of Food created recipes to help satisfy the craving for salad dressing.

 

Royal Dressing

  • 2 ounces of National Flour
  • ½ pint milk or vegetable water  (the water remaining from cooking or steaming vegetables, cooled)
  • 2 ounces of grated raw beetroot
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper & Sugar

With the national flour and milk or vegetable water make a sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Beat in the beetroot, sugar, pepper and salt.

Use this dressing to serve with raw vegetable salads.

saladcream

Category: Recipes, Uncategorized