Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes! We have no bananas


Can you imagine living on wartime rations? Obviously, I've thought about it a lot over the years and have marveled at how anyone could possibly survive on an egg and a rasher of bacon a week.

So yesterday we too Mrs F-C mother to the Imperial War Museum's wartime food exhibition. Well, it's something to do, isn't it. And very interesting it was too.

Wartime propaganda was so to the point. No use beating about the bush I suppose. If you were told to dig for victory that's just what you did. And if you were told there would be no more exotic foreign fruits and all we had was apples then you just got on with it and made apple pie. I just wonder how many people today would do what they're told. No likes to be told what to do anymore, somehow they feel it undermines them as people and instead they need constant praise and adoration. A war on the scale of WWII would come as an almighty shock. It could be just what we need. If all you had to live on was ounce of meat, lard hotpot and the national loaf you'd soon count your blessings. Living on benefits would be like a dream come true.

Anyhoo, once we'd been round and got a taste for Woolton pie and hunter's stew, we hotfooted it to the cafe they were doing wartime food. We had to. So I had the cheese and yellow lentil pie with mushy peas. I paid for that later. Mrs F-C had a jacket potato ("let Mr Potato be your friend!"), which doesn't seem very wartime but they'd done something to it that made it so. Mrs F-C senior had what I had, but she had the rhubarb and custard and I had the orange compote-topped blancmange. I've always loved blanmange. I'd kill for a Symington's Table Cream.

The IWM is great. I lived opposite it for about eight months in 1988 and never went in once. The exhibitions are well worth a look: there's the Holocaust one and the Children's War one, each heartbreaking. It's got a great shop and of course we bought. Sometimes we bypass the museum entirely and head straight for shop. Nto this time though. The place was packed. There were lots of children who seemed really interested and engaged, which restores your faith in youth. They're not all slumped obesely in front of Machette Murders IV contemplating their next miaow miaow fix.

So, who wants an allotment?

14 comments:

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

Ooh, I was thinking of going to see the food exhibition, so this confirms that I must. I will give the cheese and lentil pie a miss, though.

I've never actually managed to visit the IWM properly, even though I once worked on a tie-in book for an exhibition there. All I've seen is the lobby and the offices of their publications department!

Five-Centres said...

Definitely worth a visit, Kitten. You'll love the posters. Some are really quite sinister.

Matthew Rudd said...

I love your semi-claim that a total war is "just what we need". That made me laugh.

Ishouldbeworking said...

People were healthier during the war (apart from when they were getting blown up or shot) because of the low-fat, low sugar wartime diet. We've now been gorging ourselves since rationing ended, and look where it's got us.

Oddly enough I was only thinking of a visit to the IWM over the weekend. I've never been and feel I should. So thanks for that.

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Five-Centres said...

What is the purpose of these computer-generated anonymous commments? They make no sense.

Glad I've inspired you to go to the museum, everyone.

Mondo said...

It's been on my to do list for too long - I'll visit very soon.

Have you tried the British Music Experience at the 02. Stunning stuff. Stagewear that includes 3 real Bowie costumes (the Young Americans sky blue suit and his Thin White Duke number) Jagger's mid-seventies all-in-ones. Original artwork for various posters, and hand written lyrics. Bolan's clothes, Dave Hill's 'super yob' guitar. I literally went giddy with overload in the punk and new wave section

Five-Centres said...

I haven't Mondo, though I've been meaning to as I've got some free tickets I've had for a ages. It's going on my urgent to do list.

Suzy Norman said...

I'm on a strict diet at the moment but I can eat as many eggs and as much lean back bacon as I like. The rest is pretty limited and laclustre though. What I've discovered through doing this is, if you eat a low sugar, low fat, low salt diet, food loses its addiction factor. You eat what you must and you find other distractions. It's one big shoulder shrug. That's what got them through back then no doubt.

Five-Centres said...

That's interesting Suzy, I'd not thought of it like that, but you're probably right. Otherwise there would have been riots on the streets.

Suzy Norman said...

Recommend this article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/13/obesity-salt-fat-sugar-kessler

The less inspiring and novelty free food is, the less you crave it.

John Medd said...

It's not that radical, is it - only eating food that comes out of the ground? We shouldn't be eating food that comes out of a box - as Karl Wallinger once said: 'How did it come to this?'

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