Michelle Ann Kratts

Wartime World, Part II:Recipes for Day One

In World War II on March 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Can you do it?  For the next seven posts I will share a day’s worth of World War II recipes. Actually I think that there may be some benefits to living life somewhat like our grandparents did during the war years.  Perhaps we would like to cut back on calories and harmful sugar, up our intake of fruits and vegetables, or save money.  I love trying out historical recipes in the most authentic way possible.  I think our cuisine is at the heart of our day and reflects upon our lives in a pretty honest way.

War Ration Book #1 was released on May 4, 1942 and given out primarily at the city schools.  It was known as the “sugar book” because sugar was the first commodity to be harshly rationed.  One half pound per person per week was the limit. (To put matters into perspective the British were allowed 8 oz sugar per person, per week).



Other items rationed at this time included:  meat, cheese, lard, butter and oil.  One pound was allowed per person, per week.

Americans found the greatest hardship to be the cutbacks in coffee. Only one cup per day was permitted.


December 3, 1942–Niagara Falls Gazette


Day One Wartime Meal:

Although rationing was the law of the land it was also vitally important for Americans to stay healthy and strong.  We did not know what the future held.  So although we had to deal with cutbacks, we had to be sure to serve our families well-balanced meals.

I love talking with the older Niagarans about this time. And I always ask them what they ate.  Of course, the Depression had made most of them wary of waste.  My family were immigrants from Italy and they had always kept “Victory Gardens” and canned everything they grew. Most of the immigrants (especially the Italians) kept gardens which were the foundation of their diet.  Meat was definitely scarce but fruits and vegetables were abundant if you worked hard.  So perhaps rationing was not that difficult for them?


Porridge & Tea (or coffee)

A typical wartime breakfast would have been porridge.  Porridge oats, boiled in water, would be finished up with a splash of milk and a topping of sugar or honey.  You could also add some shaved apple for sweetness.  Very inexpensive and filled with vitamins, porridge was a good start to anyone’s day.  I bought steel cut oats.  They take longer to cook but they are the least processed and have a fuller texture and taste. I felt very old-fashioned starting my day with porridge (and my grandmother’s vintage linens, china and silver!)

photo (47)


The Oslo Meal, or Oslo Lunch

The Oslo Meal, or Oslo Lunch, was actually served as an experiment on Britain’s school children.  It was a quick, yet nutritious mid-day meal which considered rationing as well as the children’s health.  This lunch included the following:  2 slices of wholemeal bread with a little butter (remember we made this in our first installment?), fresh lettuce leaves, grated cheese over the lettuce (I just had a few chunks of cheese), carrots, cucumber or tomatoes and a glass of milk.  An apple or other fruit would also be acceptable with this meal.

Can you imagine feeding this to our children today?  I actually felt quite satisfied after eating my Oslo Lunch.  And believe it or not, the Oslo Lunch seemed to improve the overall health of the nation’s children.



photo (48).JPG


Lord Woolton Pie

Vegetarian recipes were in great demand during wartime.  How could we spruce these vegetables up to make a nourishing meal?

Lord Woolton Pie was widely served in Britain during wartime.  This dish was prepared at the Savoy Hotel in London and named for the Minister of Food, Frederick Marquis, 1st Lord Woolton.  People had their own interpretations of this recipe and used whatever combination of vegetables they had at hand.  However, the one item that was always included was carrots.  There was a surplus of carrots.  By the end of the war, the British were quite tired of the carrots.


I haven’t made my Lord Woolton Pie yet.  I will post photos and my personal “tastiness” report as soon as I whip it up.  Hmmm…oatmeal in the pie? I may do a sort of Shepherd’s Pie topping with the crust of potato?  What will you do?

**A Little Fun**

When “Popeye, the Sailor Man,” came to Niagara Falls!


March 1, 1943–Niagara Falls Gazette




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