Coping with food rationing - wartime in the country

Evacuated up North

Greta Romaine

Photo:Food in the country

Food in the country

Illustration by artist Heather Hookey

Ration books

When evacuated up North, we may have been unaffected by the bombs and air-raids but we still had to juggle food with ration books the same as the southern half of the country.

The advantage in the country was the green spaces and gardens given over to fruit and vegetable growing.

The Old Mill

Although our auntie did not have a garden adjacent to the cottage, she was given a plot of land down the lane near the Old Mill. It had a grey wooden gate and was surrounded by a high stone wall, which reminded me of the Squirrel Nutkin stories.

Auntie had to carry the garden tools and worked hard while we were at school.  We had beautiful supplies of potatoes, carrots, green vegetables, plus gooseberries, apples and damsons.

Fruit picking

Occasionally, we were called up to the "Big House" called Helen Lodge to pick all of the fruit for them and of course, we were given generous amounts for ourselves.

Lovely school dinners

Auntie was clever at making food go a long way, especially fruit pasties, as they were called up North, which were filling and sustaining.  We had lovely school dinners every day, big stews and steamed pudding type meals, very substantial and they kept us nourished.

At one time the school sent us into the town of Kendal to go to the "British Restaurant" where we got a good meal.  These places were open to the public I seem to remember, so people suffering from hardship could eat well.

Fish and chips

Friday was fish and chip night, as it was our treat to go to the pictures or "flicks" as we called it.  Our tickets cost us 10 shillings.

We would queue at the fish and chip shop for chips in newspaper and ate them on the way home.  When we arrived back I would have a lovely glass of cold evaporated milk which was my special treat that Auntie had put in our cold cellar while we were out.

Overall, we seemed very well fed, never got fat (also helped by lots of walking everywhere) and had plenty of energy and a feeling of well-being.

Radio Doctor

We listened to a short programme on the "wireless" called "Radio Doctor" who gave advice on health and ailments but we never needed a doctor.  In any case, the complete cure for any ailments was a glass of "Andrews", Syrup of Figs or something called "Fennings Fever Curer" - we did not need anything else!!

This page was added by Roslyn Cook on 18/11/2008.

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