Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No Wonder I Was Hungry !!

Seeing as I'm in a nostalgic mood these days, at least on this blog, I think it only right to point out that 78 years ago today, food rationing was introduced in Britain.

On January 8th, 1940, bacon, butter and sugar were the first foods to be rationed. WWII had been going for a few months and the Government felt that the supply ships bringing these goodies from johnny foreigner were likely to be targeted by the little guy with the silly tash and sillier haircut.

Damn him.

My parents loved their Sunday fry ups and this shortage of bacon played merry hell with the menu. It basically reduced it from an artery clogging Ulster Fry to a slice of lard encrusted soda bread.....without much lard. Oh and not a lot of soda bread either.

( Yes an Ulster Fry rates an entry in Wikipedia but I felt the link above was more fitting as it shows a photo. A picture is worth a thousand calories and all that ).

Of course, aged and decrepit as I now am, even I wasn't around in those early days of rationing.
It did affect me, however, as it wasn't lifted until 14 miserable years later in July 1954 by which time I was 2 years old and desperately in need of my first proper Ulster Fry. I'd had enough of rationed breast milk (the secret state 'breast police' were everywhere and were Very keen on enforcing the strict guidelines) and was ready to get my lard the more direct way.

A good Sunday fry up was a huge part of my culinary upbringing after that and it often made sitting through Fr. Murphy's interminable sermons a little more bearable knowing that the leftover fat from the previous Sunday would soon be let lose on the calorie busting items in the frying pan.

Actually being in a farming community we may not have suffered from rationing as much as the townies. I'm sure we had plenty of eggs and milk although bacon would've been harder to come by. Mum did all her own baking of course and probably used whatever ingredients she had to compensate for those that were in short supply.

Her flourless bread was the toast of the family, if not the actual best bread to try and toast. We had to set the grill to it's 'burn to a crisp' setting in order to get the bread to stay firm enough to remove it from the grill pan.

Yes times were hard but we were British and would not be defeated. If Hitler had only known that he didn't have to bomb the heart out of London to defeat us. Never mind the V1's and V2's.
Never mind the Luftwaffe. All he had to do was put the squeeze on the supply of tea bags from our colonies in India and Ceylon and we'd have surrendered after the first week.

The man just didn't know his enemy.

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