I'm going to do an overview of food rationing and other austerity measures during the Second World War in Great Britain, but for today, I'm going to jump right in with carrots.
According to the aptly named World Carrot Museum, carrots played a very important role in the kitchen during World War 2. They were widely available and therefore often used as a substitute for other foods and used in some popular "mock" recipes of the day. Speaking of mock recipes, did any of you ever make the "Mock Apple Pie" on the Ritz Crackers box? I've been meaning to for years.
The Ministry of Food promoted the use of carrots by claiming that they would help people see better during blackouts and by creating a character named "Dr. Carrot," who espoused the health value and lovely taste of carrots in pamphlets and on posters. I'm not sure what medical school he went to, but he does have a doctor's bag and a top hat, so he must know what he's talking about.
The chef of the Savoy hotel devised a recipe to encourage people to eat more carrots and other vegetables. It was called Woolton Pie, after Lord Woolton, Minister of Food during the war. It looks very basic and not so interesting and I don't know what swedes are (turnips, maybe?), but apparently, Lord Woolton was so charming that he managed to be well-liked even as he urged Britons to forgo their favorite foods, like if George Clooney told me to give up chocolate...
The Official Woolton Pie Recipe as reported in The Times 26 April 1941:
Take 1Ib each of diced potatoes, cauliflower, swedes and carrots;
Three or Four spring onions;
One teaspoonful of vegetable extract and
One teaspoonful of oatmeal.
Cook all together for ten minutes with just enough water to cover.
Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.
Allow to cool; put into a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with a crust of potatoes or wholemeal pastry.
Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely brown and serve hot with brown gravy.
Sweet treats were scarce in those days, so someone's resourceful mum came up with "Carrot Fudge." Personally, this recipe frightens me a bit, although I might make it and test it on the kids. Try it, if you dare:
Carrot Fudge (Recipe from Colleen Moulding's "Frugal Recipes from Wartime Britain").
You will need:
4 tablespoons of finely grated carrot
1 gelatine leaf
orange essence or squash
a saucepan and a flat dish
Put the carrots in a pan and cook them gently in just enough water to keep them covered, for ten minutes. Add a little orange essence, or orange squash to flavour the carrot. Melt a leaf of gelatine and add it to the mixture. Cook the mixture again for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Spoon it into a flat dish and leave it to set in a cool place for several hours. When the "fudge" feels firm, cut it into chunks and get eating!
Walt Disney even got into the act, creating a cartoon carrot family to persuade Britons to eat more carrots: Carroty George, Clara Carrot, Pop Carrot were reproduced on a poster, recipe booklet, flyers and the images were used extensively in a newspaper campaign.
Carroty George's motto was "I'll tell you what to do with me." If only it were Carroty George Clooney, I'd be sold...
Here is one of Carroty George's recipes:
Carroty George's Hot Pot:
Wash and coarsely grate 6 carrots and 6 potatoes; mix with 2 tablespoons packet sage and onion. Make seasoning of 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and, if possible, brown sugar. Put half the vegetables in a stewpot, cover with half the seasoning, add rest of vegetables and rest of seasoning. No water required, cover stewpot and bake very slowly for 2 hours. You’ll have a dish very much out of the ordinary, for 3 or 4.
Takeaway 21st century advice: Eat more carrots. They're healthy and cheap. I'm still not sold on Carrot Fudge, though.
Check back tonight for the Giveaway winner!!