East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

The Ministry of Food…

Many of the museums in the East Midlands have exhibitions relating to food in the Second World War – rationing and waging ‘War on Waste’ to protect against shortages; ‘Digging for Victory’ on gardens or allotments to reduce the need for imports and ensure fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet; and ‘economy’ recipes using dried eggs instead of fresh, or potatoes instead of flour. I have a Good Housekeeping cookery book entitled Unusual Vegetables that has advice on growing and cooking vegetables that may sound perfectly usual to us – like salsify, celeriac, water melon, Swiss chard and kohl rabi – but were not commonly grown or eaten at the time, or were normally imported.

I’ll include a recipe below – but the Imperial War Museum in London currently has an exhibition The Ministry of Food that marks the 70th anniversary of food rationing in Britain and explores many of these topics. It also includes a wartime greenhouse and a 1940s grocer’s shop, and runs until 3 January 2011. For more details, see http://london.iwm.org.uk/server/show/conEvent.3167. The National Archives also has a podcast, The Kitchen Front: domestic life in the Second World War, at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/kitchen-front.htm giving an overview of the documents it holds on this subject.

This year is also the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – so why not visit the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire (http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/visitorscentre/). In the meantime here’s a recipe from the Unusual Vegetables book for Celeriac Pie:

Celeriac Pie

1lb celeriac

8 oz potatoes

Milk

4 oz tomatoes

Seasoning

Nutmeg, mace

Grated onion

Peel the celeriac, cut in pieces, and cook in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. Cook the potatoes and mash, or pass them and the celeriac through a sieve. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, add the puree and beat over the heat until light and dry. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace, and add a little hot milk to moisten the puree, Slice the tomatoes into a greased fireproof dish and sprinkle with pepper, salt and a little grated onion. Pile the puree on top , brush with egg or milk, and bake in a quick oven for 30 minutes, to cook the tomatoes and to brown the pie.

For some more wartime recipes, including sausage and sultana casserole and carrot fudge, see  http://www.allthatwomenwant.com/wartimerecipes.htm.

 
 

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About this Sponsor

A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.

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