Wartime Letters

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1944 letters
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Afterthe war
1943 letters
Food and Drink
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The war years were difficult ones for the British people. The Germans set up a blockade  to stop vital food reaching the country.
Thanks to the bravery of many seamen, the convoys did still manage to get through but a huge effort was made to grow food in Britain on every patch of land possible no matter how small.

Never sure of what food they would be able to obtain each week, the British housewife had to improvise and it is to their credit that the health of the nation actually improved during the war years.
Olive like many others, as the letters show, became a mini farmer, planting and harvesting crops of potatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, radish,cabbage, sprouts and anything which would grow in the back garden.

Meat, eggs, butter and most other essentials were strictly rationed. Choice became a thing of the past.

As a boy I remember only being able to get Wheat Flakes as a breakfast cereal. It is interesting that for years after the war, these almost disappeared off the market as people scrambled for Shredded Wheat, Weetabix and Corn Flakes, products almost entirely lost during the war.
Dried eggs, imported from the USA, were another product widely used which diappeared with the end of the war. Attempts to market dried egg products since the end of the war have always failed. Dried milk and dried potato powder have never been hugely popular despite the quality improving.

SPAM, became a substitute for real meat and for years after to war, one of my favoroute foods consisted of 'Luncheon meat' served up as batter covered fritters or just grilled in thick slices served with chips. Genuine SPAM became an expensive luxury compared with cheaper substitutes most from Denmark. I still love corned beef fritters and  tinned peaches with evaporated milk.

Soft drinks were limited to locally made lemonade with Tizer and Vimto being an occasional treat. After the war, a riot of new flavours appeared with Dandelion and Burdock, Ice Cream Soda and various other exotic flavours coming in and out of favour until eventually we all fell under the spell of Coca Cola. I thnk Seven up was the first 'American' brand I ever tasted.

Most of my mother's recipes came from a copy of the BERO cookery book. She was an excellent cook. Her chips have never been equalled !

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Olive's malt loaf

8 oz Self raising Flour
I Level teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

2 Tablespoons of Golden Syrup

2 Tablespoons of Malt Extract

(Still available at Chemists )
quarter pint of Milk

1 Egg

I tea cup of sultanas or whatever dried fruit you have

Sift flour and soda into mixing bowl. Melt Syrup and Malt in a pan with milk.

Add to flour together with a beaten egg. Add fruit and stir mixture.

Pour into a greased bread tin and bake at 375f for 40-50 munutes. Turn out onto a rack and when cool slice and eat with butter.

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