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Mock Sausage

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With meat being rationed, many “mock meat” recipes were created to satisfy the desire for meat, but using ingredients that weren’t rationed.

This “mock sausage” recipe tastes quite good, and it can be made vegan


  • 1 cup quick rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or use a mix of 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and a 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons parsley flakes or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs (remember eggs were rationed!) or 3 egg whites or 6 tablespoons bean water, as from cooking chickpeas
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 boullion cube or 2 teaspoons soy sauce


  1. In a medium bowl combine oats with eggs or bean water, poultry seasoning (or sage, thyme, rosemary), crushed fennel seeds, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper. Move aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add a bouillon cube or soy sauce. Remove from heat and move aside.
  3. Form oat mixture into 4 “sausage” patties. In a medium frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil or fat on medium heat and fry patties until golden; about 1-2 minutes on each side.
  4. Reduce heat and add hot stock. Allow the cooked patties to come to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes
  5. Pour off the stock and save for gravy! Return frying pan to medium heat and add a little more oil or fat. Fry the patties a second time, again for a minute or two on each side until desired brownness. Remove from heat and serve with jacket potatoes or carrots for a wartime dinner.

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The Powerful Potato

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The common potato became a key ingredient and a staple of the average diet during Wartime in Britain. Potatoes were easy to grow and abundant in the United Kingdom. Potatoes were also filling and were marketed as an energy food. “Potatoes help to protect you from illness,” said a leaflet on potatoes issued by the Ministry of Food. “Potatoes give you warmth and energy. Potatoes are cheap and home-produced. So why stop at serving them once a day? Have them twice, or even three times — for breakfast, dinner and supper.

P’s for Protection Potatoes afford;
O’s for the Ounces of Energy stored;
T’s for the Tasty, and Vitamins rich in;
A’s for the Art to be learnt in the Kitchen.
T’s for Transport we need not demand;
O’s for old England’s Own Food from the Land;
E’s for the Energy eaten by you;
S’s for the Spuds which will carry us through!

Potatoes plants were found in every Victory Garden. Potatoes were even planted on the tops of Anderson shelters; garden pamphlets encouraged everyone to use any plot of land to which they had access; digging up flower gardens to using backyard plots and even window containers to grow vegetable and herb gardens. Leeks, turnips, cabbage, lettuce, and swedes were popular as seeds were initially and readily available and grew well in British soil.

14 Oct 1943, Finnamore Camp, Buckinghamshire, England, UK — The girls of Beal County School evacuated from Ilford to Finnamore Camp, Buckinghamshire, are helping farmers in the district to harvest their potatoes. The girls do two hours a day while the crop lasts. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
Potato Pete
The Ministry of Food issued pamphlets with information on preparing and preserving food.

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Knitting on the Ration

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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.”


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!


The Balaclava Helmet
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.
15 stitches to 2 inches in width, and 15 rows to 2 inches in depth, measured over the garter-stitch.
K. = knit; p. = purl; sts. = stitches; tog. = together; inc. = increase or increasing; dec. = decrease or decreasing.
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.



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Evansville in World War II

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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:


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Hay Box Cooking

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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!


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Household Milk

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“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

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Potato Soup

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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


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RECIPE-Eggless Christmas Cake

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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

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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

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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

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