Monthly Archives: October 2014

Make Do and Mend

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 Make Do and Mend was a pamphlet issued by the British Ministry of Information in the midst of WWII. It was intended to provide housewives with useful tips on how to be both frugal and stylish in times of harsh rationing. With its thrifty design ideas and advice on reusing old clothing, the pamphlet was an indispensable guide for households. Readers were advised to create pretty ‘decorative patches’ to cover holes in warn garments; unpick old jumpers to re-knit chic alternatives; turn men’s clothes into women’s; as well as darn, alter and protect against the ‘moth menace’. An updated version of the book was recently released to coincide with the economic recession, offering similar frugal advice for 21st century families.-British Library


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Carrot Croquettes

  • 6 Carrots
  • 1 oz Margarine (or butter if you have enough from your ration)
  • 1 oz corn flour
  • 1 gill milk (4 oz)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oatmeal
  • Enough fat for frying

Steam the carrots until  soft and tender, drain, and put through a sieve. Add seasoning to taste. Make a thick white sauce* with the corn flour, margarine, and milk. Add the seasoned sieved carrots to it. Leave till cold, then shape into croquettes, roll in oatmeal and fry in hot, deep fat. Drain well and serve
*Make a thick white sauce by slowly melting the margarine in a pan. Add the corn flour and make a nice roux until lightly brown. Whisk the mixture and slowly add the milk to the roux while still whisking until a smooth sauce forms.


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Dr Carrot

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Since meat was rationed, vegetables became an important staple of the wartime diet. With the implementation of the “Dig for Victory” campaign, carrots were one of the important foods that helped win the war. Housewives had the great  experience of preparing such culinary delights as Carrot Biscuits (cookies), Carrot Marmalade (the shredded carrots looked like and served as mock orange peel), carrot on a stick (advertised to children “as good as a lollipop”) and carrot juice drinks from recipes found in the Ministry’s “War Cookery Leaflet 4.″ As sugar was rationed, carrots were also used as a sweetener in baked goods.


When the Ministry of Food was faced with a bumper crop of carrots in 1941,  they used various forms of media to inform the British public that eating carrots would help them see better during the war-imposed blackouts. “Dr. Carrot” was created as a symbol to remind people to eat more vegetables and help reduce the surplus carrot crop.  Posters with the slogan “Carrots keep you healthy and help you see in the blackout”  were plastered throughout the country.


Isn’t an hour in the garden better than an hour in the queue?” (Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, 1941)

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RECIPE-Oatmeal Soup

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Oatmeal became an important food in wartime. It was used as a thickener in soups, used to make mock meats (oatmeal “sausages”) and of course as a breakfast food. The Kitchen Front from the Ministry of Food said:


Most of us, because of rationing, are eating less butter, and consequently we should make the best use of foods rich in vitamins A and D and foods containing natural fats. Oatmeal, of all cereals, contains the most fat and is the best energising food. Here is an oatmeal recipe : 

  • 1 quart Water or Pot Liquor (liquid from boiled greens)
  • 1 chopped Apple or 2 tablespoons Fruit Pulp if available
  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1 large Potato, chopped
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 large Carrot, chopped
  • ½ pint Milk
  • ½ Swede (rutabaga)  or 1 Turnip, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley

Sprinkle the oatmeal into the boiling water or pot liquor and allow to boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the salt, prepared fruit and vegetables (sliced or cut into small pieces) and the currypowder mixed with 2 tablespoons water. Allow to cook steadily for ¾ to 1 hour. When cooked, add the milk and pepper and reheat. Add the finely chopped parsley, stir well and serve very hot.

NOTE: — Add a bone or bacon rinds if available to improve flavour.

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