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  • FIRST POST
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 3rd Oct 19, 4:43 PM
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    Primrose
    Wartime recipes, substitutions and other related austerity hints
    • #1
    • 3rd Oct 19, 4:43 PM
    Wartime recipes, substitutions and other related austerity hints 3rd Oct 19 at 4:43 PM
    As a lot of users have valuable experience in this area I thought it might be a good idea and fun to create a specialist thread on this topic so we can be more creative if certain foods are unavailable or we just want to challenge ourselves to to be a little more creative.

    Don,t let's restrict ourselves to recipes and foods. Am sure other domestic areas are ripe for examination.


    So, starting with mock marizipan as ground almonds were unavailable in wartime:

    Completely blitz cooked butter or haricot beans until they're a smooth paste. Add a generous drizzle of Almond essence, then spread quickly over your cake before it dries out. A small drop of olive oil or vegetable oil will loosen its consistency. It will probably dry very hard on the cake but should make a good base for any icing.
Page 1
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 3rd Oct 19, 4:48 PM
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    VfM4meplse
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 19, 4:48 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 19, 4:48 PM
    Come hither JackieO, and regale us with your wisdom
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 3rd Oct 19, 6:28 PM
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    PasturesNew
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 19, 6:28 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 19, 6:28 PM
    ... all those foods that allegedly "won't be available".... I never bought/ate them to start with.
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 3rd Oct 19, 7:59 PM
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    MrsLurcherwalker
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 19, 7:59 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 19, 7:59 PM
    I suspect most of the wartime recipes would taste bland to the modern palate while in wartime with rationing everything that you could get hold of would have been used in some way or other to supplement your weekly food allowance.

    A friend in her mid 90s told me once that they had beans on toast often in the war years and I assumed that it was tinned baked beans in tomato sauce as part of lease lend from America until one day she told me that her mum grew runner beans in the garden and there were times when that was literally all they had to eat other than bread and that's what her beans on toast were, just plain boiled runners on slices of toast but as she said 'I wasn't going to complain or refuse to eat them because if I did I'd go hungry. Pickiness was just not an option so I ate up and shut up but I've never touched a runner bean since the war ended, I can't abide them'.
    You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself!

    Ours is not to wonder what is fair in life but finding what may be, make it up fair to our needs.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 3rd Oct 19, 8:03 PM
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    Robin9
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:03 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:03 PM
    One of my father's favourites - Horse and rabbit pie - equal portions - take one horse and one rabbit ..............
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • monnagran
    • By monnagran 3rd Oct 19, 8:15 PM
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    monnagran
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:15 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:15 PM
    As I was born before the war I remember the way things were stretched all too well. The worst thing for me was my mother's 'extender,' a horrible concoction of melted margarine, cornflour and milk, A bit like a thick white sauce, which was left to set and spread on our bread instead of butter. I preferred my bread au naturel rather than eat that stuff.

    It's difficult for me to give examples of wartime living, because to me it was just the way things were.

    The best thing y ou can do is to lay your hand on one of the reprints of old recipe books....Like Marguerite Patten's books.
    They have all the information you could possibly need for cooking with the substitutions you can use for unobtainable items like sugar, butter, eggs, meat, etc.
    Pastry made with mashed potato was particularly successful I seem to remember.

    It's also a good idea to have something that will slow cook food that has been heated on the stove. We had an old wooden orange box filled with straw or hay that would continue cooking soup, a stew or milk pudding if we had to abandon it because of an air raid or if the gas pipe had been hit by a bomb. I think today there are commercial, modern versions of hay boxes.

    I am a bit tired and probably not making much sense. I will keep an eye on this thread and chip in with bits if I think they will be useful.

    JackieO will be along, I'm sure and will give you masses of useful information.
    I believe that friends are quiet angels
    Who lift us to our feet when our wings
    Have trouble remembering how to fly.
    • ampersand
    • By ampersand 3rd Oct 19, 8:42 PM
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    ampersand
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:42 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:42 PM
    I'm a kiwi, over 70, with an academic/broadcasting hinterland.
    Much prized in NZ still are copies of the Aunt Daisy cookbook, containing so much of what you refer to, Primrose.
    'Aunt Daisy', Mrs Barbara Basham, broadcast on national radio daily, starting with a bouncing 'Good MOR-ning, GOOD MOR-ning everybody....'
    The book was a tribute, via her daughter, and includes much haybox cookery, pukeko stew recipe, frugal household cleansers, survival recipes/techniques, extraordinary preserves, imaginative alternative recipes, everything useful in a recently colonial, newly post-War country(again), Maori hangi method+bush foods.....so much.
    https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/1201317
    The other great staple is any and every Edmonds cookbook, still coming out most years.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonds_Cookery_Book
    #
    All editions are worthwhile and are cherished elements of NZ heritage-)
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    'People don't want much. They want: "Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."
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    • ampersand
    • By ampersand 3rd Oct 19, 8:52 PM
    • 8,623 Posts
    • 34,227 Thanks
    ampersand
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:52 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 19, 8:52 PM
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aunt_Daisy
    CAP[UK]for FREE EXPERT DEBT&BUDGET HELP:01274 760720, freephone0800 328 0006
    'People don't want much. They want: "Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."
    Norman Kirk, NZLP- Prime Minister, 1972
    ***JE SUIS CHARLIE***
    'It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere' François-Marie AROUET


    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 3rd Oct 19, 10:45 PM
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    Jojo the Tightfisted
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 19, 10:45 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 19, 10:45 PM
    So that's why fruit cake was inedible in the 1970s - people were still using almond-flavoured grouting around the things.
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

    Yup you are officially Rock n Roll
    Originally posted by colinw
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 4th Oct 19, 7:13 AM
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    VfM4meplse
    So that's why fruit cake was inedible in the 1970s - people were still using almond-flavoured grouting around the things.
    Originally posted by Jojo the Tightfisted
    That may well be, but what is indisputable is that the world's population only started to get unhealthily overweight from the 1980s!
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 4th Oct 19, 7:23 AM
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    martinthebandit
    That may well be, but what is indisputable is that the world's population only started to get unhealthily overweight from the 1980s!
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse

    ....and yet average life expectancy kept increasing, https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=average+life+length&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari#imgrc=eyWoD8zWBsoYNM:

    If you don't find joy in the snow,
    remember you'll have less joy in your life


    ...but still have the same amount of snow!
    • Eenymeeny
    • By Eenymeeny 4th Oct 19, 7:32 AM
    • 1,901 Posts
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    Eenymeeny
    The first 'toothpaste' that I remember using was a round 'tablet' in a tin which we all dipped a dampened tooth brush onto. (Just thought recently how unhygienic that was!) Gibbs Dentifrice: http://www.historyworld.co.uk/advert.php?id=177&offset=125&sort=0&l1=Medicines+% 26+Health&l2= Until then we used salt, bicarb or either mixed with lemon juice!
    (Interesting site have marked it to browse later!)
    My mother used to tell the story of enjoying a rare piece of fruit cake given to her by a customer who she used to visit regularly. When she remarked on the almonds in it she was told that the lady used her sweet ration of sugared almonds and 'just sucked the sugar off!'... Some times it's better not to know...
    The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.
    Thanks to everyone who contributes to this wonderful forum. I'm very grateful for the guidance and friendliness that I always receive from you.

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    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 4th Oct 19, 8:08 AM
    • 8,991 Posts
    • 32,413 Thanks
    Primrose
    The first 'toothpaste' that I remember using was a round 'tablet' in a tin which we all dipped a dampened tooth brush onto. (Just thought recently how unhygienic that was!) Gibbs Dentifrice: http://www.historyworld.co.uk/advert.php?id=177&offset=125&sort=0&l1=Medicines+% 26+Health&l2= Until then we used salt, bicarb or either mixed with lemon juice!
    (Interesting site have marked it to browse later!)
    .
    Originally posted by Eenymeeny
    Oh I remember those tins. We used one called
    Eurycral or some such name. Everybody dipped their own toothbrush into the powder and if you left the lid off overnight the bathroom was so damp that the powder would turn into a kind of damp cement!
    • monnagran
    • By monnagran 4th Oct 19, 8:19 AM
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    monnagran
    Goodness me, I had forgotten Gibbs toothcleaner. It was pink, slightly foamy and tasted soapy. Ugh.
    I was quite fortunate in that we used Eucryl tooth powder, mostly because my aunt was secretary to the managing director, so we got it free.
    I used to visit my aunt at work and we always tried to be there mid morning or afternoon when the tea trolley came round with tea, a small bowl of saccharines and a plate of half slices of bread that had been shown the margarine knife.
    I was told that pre-war (that was a well used adjective) they used to have biscuits, but I'm not sure that I knew what biscuits were and thought that half a slice of bread was untold sophistication.

    However, this thread is for helpful advice, not my stories. Sorry.
    I believe that friends are quiet angels
    Who lift us to our feet when our wings
    Have trouble remembering how to fly.
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 4th Oct 19, 8:41 AM
    • 10,393 Posts
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    euronorris
    However, this thread is for helpful advice, not my stories. Sorry.
    Originally posted by monnagran


    I like your stories
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 4th Oct 19, 8:52 AM
    • 30,943 Posts
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    VfM4meplse
    Medical advances keeping people alive for longer, particularly successful cancer treatments, infection control measures and chronic disease management. It says nothing about quality of life, functional ability etc.

    Early signs are that we've peaked now and it's going to go down as extreme cases of children dying before their parents increases.

    The tenuous link to this thread is that back in the war days common sense and community spirit prevailed. It's a commodity that's in short supply in some quarters these days.
    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • Brambling
    • By Brambling 4th Oct 19, 9:52 AM
    • 1,248 Posts
    • 7,047 Thanks
    Brambling
    That may well be, but what is indisputable is that the world's population only started to get unhealthily overweight from the 1980s!
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse
    People were healthier as they ate less fat and sugar especially during rationing, people walked more and your 'average housewifes' work was quite labour intensive with no modern appliances. My older siblings talk about Monday being wash day and that was all mum did using a copper and a dolly.

    I'm a 60s baby so rationing had finished but money was really tight so it wasn't so much about using alteratives but ensuring nothing was wasted in our house and boy could my mum stretchhhh food as well as filling us up with dumplings or crumbles (yes i know not necessary healthy but cheap and filling). Sunday roast left overs were made into stews or soup using the bones for stock and often the scrappings of meat from the bone would be the only meat in the pot. Vegetables were mostly home grown as were alot of fruit and there was only seasonal food in the shops so no expensive and tastless strawberries in December.

    No double glazing so in winter my dad would fix wooden batons in the window with plastic sheeting in the bedrooms and it wasn't upknown for dressing gowns and coats to be added to the blankets to keep warm.
    Last edited by Brambling; 04-10-2019 at 2:47 PM.
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 4th Oct 19, 11:51 AM
    • 30,943 Posts
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    VfM4meplse
    Oh I remember those tins. We used one called
    Eurycral or some such name.
    Originally posted by Primrose
    Incredibly, it's still available. Even thinking about it sets my teeth on edge


    Value-for-money-for-me-puhleeze!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 4th Oct 19, 12:29 PM
    • 13,793 Posts
    • 187,508 Thanks
    MrsLurcherwalker
    I think the difference between modern dishes and most wartime dishes is that now the protein bit meat, poultry, fish is the main part of the meal most times with a rich sauce or thickened gravy and veg perhaps again processed in some way and buttered or often cheese sauced and in wartime the dishes were mainly firstly based on what veg was available and the meat was the flavouring so often the sauce had the meat in it and was poured over the veg and that was the main meal. Portions were certainly much smaller than we're used to today and often in wartime there would be a small bowl of soup/a Yorkshire pudding or dumpling with gravy were served as a starter and then less meat in the main dish was made up for by there usually being some sort of steamed pudding and custard for dessert and we of today would look at that and shout 'how many calories???' but most houses were unheated and only had a fire in one room of the house, many hadn't even basic hot water systems and often the loo was in the back yard. Windows were single glazed, cavity wall insulation was unheard of there were few if any household appliances or tools that were electric and even washing was hand done and the mangle (which took some turning) used to get the water out , few people had cars and petrol was rationed and the people who needed it for the jobs they did got first preference. Clothing wasn't as warm, no thermals and microfleeces and what with walking not driving, hard physical exercise even in just keeping the house clean meant we used the calories and stayed fit. We would be in shock if we were suddenly plunged back to those times but we'd adapt, it would take time but people would, moaning and protesting mightily eventually make life good again even if they don't think it would today.
    You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself!

    Ours is not to wonder what is fair in life but finding what may be, make it up fair to our needs.
    • twopenny
    • By twopenny 4th Oct 19, 1:13 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    twopenny
    I grew up with grandparents who'd been through 2 wars so still make some things.
    Rice pudding - 2 tbs rice, 2tbs castor sugar, 1pt whole milk, knob of butter on top. Cook in bottom of gas cooker while cooking meal or on very low heat. You can use short cut macarroni instead of rice.

    Totally delicious! And so quick.
    Bread & Butter pudding - butter bread, fill dish, scatter with raisins and sulatanas, beat 1 egg in whole milk and pour over. Again easy.
    If you look on line the recipies for the same things are complicated and tons of ingredients.
    Also using a gas oven you can put the meat in the top, veg in the middle and pudding at the bottom. All cooks with no attention. Used to do this on Sundays so I could join everyone at the pub ;-) - or go for a swim while it cooked.
    The book with whole meals in an oven was a 1920's one and it has Morroccan and other dishes you wouldn't expect.
    Left over dumplings or rice would sometimes be served as desert with golden syrup over. Surprisingly satisfying.
    We could eat these because we were walking everywhere. Not great distances but to shops, to school and evenings and weekends for the kids.
    But meals were 3 a day with no more than 2 buscuits at a time and sweets at weekends. Cooked breakfast (eggs, porridge etc) main meal at lunch (you had an hour off like the continent) and bread and jam, maybe a cake in the evening.
    These days its not just the high fat, it's the multiple carbs in a meal ie rice and chips, pasta and garlic bread and constant eating. In the past it was a portion of each, protein, carb, veg.

    Also people grew fruit in the garden and swapped with neighbours. The taste is quite different when it's fresh and totally delicious. Sweet enough that you don't need sugary sweets after. That disappears quickly in chilling and storing.
    About to stew some of the windfalls my neighbours put out. Pie, cake, crumble. Ever looked at a jar of apple in the supermarket? 30% apple!
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