Scraping around in the bottom of the vegetable crisper in my refrigerator I came across four shriveled, pathetic looking carrots. Recently I have become interested in the No Waste Food Movement and how it relates to food history. Wartime rationing was a great place to start.
The recipe I used to cook with my four carrots comes from a little recipe book Good Fare in War Time published in Great Britain in 1941.
Foundation Recipe for Steamed Pudding
- 6 tbsp. flour or 4 tbsp. flour and tbsp. of grated raw potato or fine oatmeal.
- 1 carrot pealed, grated
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda, mixed in a bit of warm milk
- 2 oz. chopped suet or hard fat.
- Milk to mix
- Mix all ingredients
Steam in a pan of water in the oven for 1 ½ hours.There are variations of this recipe that add 1 tbsp. cocoa and a bit more sugar. Apples can be added and also raisins, dates, currants.
I found the pudding to be tasty but not very sweet for our modern taste, so drizzled it with a bit of maple syrup.
What I learned about Carrots, and rationing during World War 2
On January 8, 1940, rationing started in Great Britain because of World War 2. Bacon, butter and sugar were the first items to be rationed but many foods were added to the list in stages throughout the war. Meat, tea, jam, biscuits, cereals, cheese, eggs, lard, milk, canned and dried fruit were also added. People were issued ration books to ensure that the amounts were followed, but those with certain medical needs, children and pregnant women were rationed different amounts of certain foods.
Gardening was encouraged and even those that lived in cities planted Victory Gardens to supplement their food rations. There was a strong push for gardeners and farmers to plant carrots as they were high in nutrients and easy to grow. At one time there was a surplus of carrots available.
People learned to eat differently, women (or men) learned to cook efficiently and rationing was promoted as each person’s way to help the war effort.
I cannot help but notice that our times and living where food is readily available, has promoted a demand for the availability of any and all foods at all times. There are few ingredients from almost anywhere in the world that can’t be purchased somewhere. We are not accustomed to the concept of “using what we have.”
Perhaps we can reflect on our food history and war times to inspire us to cook what is in our refrigerator that may have been tossed, or to do with less in some way to save our planet. Less meat in our diets would be a significant start.
Try a wartime recipe and you may be inspired and surprised to learn how creative cooking can be with limitations.
“Waste not, Want not” was an old saying that our grandparents used when they were raised to use all bits of food. That expression is also an inspiration from our food history that is quickly becoming a food trend of the future.