We’ll eat again! OK so we haven’t had to cope with rationing but there are some parallels when it comes to food and diet between WW2 and where we find ourselves in 2020. In Covid lockdown, as in wartime, people are reminded that farmers, producers and cooks all matter when the world is shifting beneath your feet, there is a threat to the status quo and you are trying to keep yourself nourished through food.
In celebration of what we can do with what we have and not dwelling on what might be in short supply or currently out of our reach, Bank Holiday Friday (there’s a novelty) saw the preparation of a VE Day pause for thought 75 years on.
Feeding their families was a daily challenge for women during the war. Real inventiveness, skill and home economy were needed to beat the monotony of the daily diet and there was a big emphasis on planning meals to avoid waste. Pretty much the only public information was via “The Kitchen Front”, a daily radio broadcast pioneered by Lord Woolton who headed up The Ministry of Food (1940-1943), providing tips on how to put together nutritious food during rationing. Forget the Internet – most public information was through the wireless and by that I mean radio broadcasts, not wi-fi.
Lessons from history? Western society is one of consumers and discarders. If our response to the current crisis is to make do, waste less, source locally, develop skills of eating healthily, savour food moments – whether by ourselves or with others – might these form part of the “new normals” of good physical and mental health?