During World War Two the government produced a raft of recipes that each family could use. Rationing greatly limited what the average family in Great Britain could cook. To keep up morale, the government published recipes to make the most of what people could get in terms of food. This served two purposes. It gave the normal person in the street the feeling that the government was concerned about their well-being and was prepared to do something. It also ensured that wherever possible (and when all food on the ration cards was available) boredom over the same diet was a hoped for rarity.


The recipes covered all manner of foodstuffs. These recipes used ingredients that people were better able to acquire. Food such as sugar was rare. Therefore the government encouraged the use of honey, which was not imported and could be found throughout most of the UK. Recipes covered main meals and desserts.


Lord Woolton’s Vegetable Pie:


This recipe required:


2 lb of potatoes

1 lb of cauliflower

1 lb of carrots

½ lb of suede

½ lb of parsnips

3 or 4 spring onions

Water for cooking

1 teaspoon vegetable extract

1 tablespoon of oatmeal

Chopped parsley

2 oz grated cheese.


“Cook half the potatoes, the vegetables, the vegetable extract and oatmeal for 10 minutes in enough water to cover them. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cool and place in a pie dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Boil, then mash the rest of the potatoes; spread then over the vegetables to make a crust. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake at 190C, 375F, gas mark 5 until lightly browned. Serve with gravy and vegetables. Serves 6 to 8.”


The pie was named after Lord Frederick Woolton who was Minister for Food.


<h1 style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>Macaroni and Bacon Dish</h1>


½ oz of dripping or fat

2 oz leek or onion, peeled and chopped

2 oz bacon, chopped

1 pint vegetable stock, made by dissolving a vegetable stock cube in boiling water

6 oz macaroni

Salt and pepper


“Melt the dripping in a pan and fry the leek and bacon until lightly browned. Add the stock, bring to the boil, and add the macaroni and seasoning. Cook for 20 minutes or until the macaroni is tender and the water is absorbed. Garnish with watercress. Serves 4.”


<h1 style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>Marrow Pudding</h1>


“Boil a small marrow or half a large marrow in water and strain through a colander. Fill a pie dish three-quarters full with the marrow. Add a lump of butter and a little sugar and spice for flavouring. Fill up the dish with milk and bake on an over tray for 45 minutes at 190C, 375F, gas mark 5. Serves 4.”


<h1 style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>Parsnip Pudding</h1>


“Mash 2 medium-sized cooked cold parsnips with a tablespoon of cocoa. Add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Warm ½ pint of milk and sweeten with sugar or a sweetener. Add the milk to the parsnip mixture and mix together. Bake for 30 minutes at 190C, 375F, gas mark 5. Serves 4.”


<h1 style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>Carrot Cookies</h1>


1 tablespoon margarine

2 tablespoons sugar

A few drops of vanilla or almond for flavouring

4 tablespoons grated raw carrot

6 tablespoons self-raising flour or plain flour mixed with ½ teaspoon of baking powder

Extra sugar to sprinkle on top of the cookies.


“Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the flavouring and grated carrot. Fold in the flour, or flour mixed with baking power. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into small greased patty pans. Sprinkle the tops with the extra sugar and bake at 220C, 425F, gas mark 7 for about 20 minutes. Makes 12 to 15 cookies.”


<h1 style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>Quick vegetable soup</h1>


½ oz dripping

12 oz mixed vegetables, diced

1½ pints water or stock

Salt and pepper

Chopped parsley


“Melt the dripping in a saucepan, add the vegetables and cook gently in the fat for at least 5 minutes. Add the liquid and simmer slowly for 25 minutes. Season the soup, then rub through a sieve to make a purée. Reheat and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley. Serves 4.”


<h1 style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>Welsh rarebit using stale crusts</h1>


1½ oz stale crusts, soaked in water and squeezed

4 tablespoons milk

2 oz grated cheese

1 teaspoon mustard

1-2 teaspoons salt

Pinch of pepper

½ oz margarine

4 slices of toast


“Mix the soaked bread and milk, half the cheese and the seasoning. Beat well. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, then add the bread and cheese mixture and cook until hot and well blended. Spread it on the slices of toast and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese. Brown gently under the grill. Serve very hot. Serves 4.”