Meat now easier to obtain


The food situation was becoming a little easier.


9 June 1917

The Sub-Warden received orders on the 5th June to report himself to Strensall Camp, York, on the 21st inst.

Instructions have been received with regard to mails to India, which are now to go fortnightly instead of weekly. The first mail under the new system will leave here June 13.

Notice was given that, owing to meat being now easier to obtain, the 2nd meatless day in the week would be given up.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

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“The villages have been ruthlessly pillaged, burnt, and razed to the ground”

A Reading man writes of his latest experiences at the front – and the death of a friend.

Our “Boys”

This terrible war has taken from us yet another of our brave soldier lads. Horace Pinker, who quite recently lost his brother and mother, was killed in France on the 5th of April. May the God of all comfort be very near to his father, sisters and brother – to console them in their keen sorrow!

The following extract from a letter sent by Eric Chapman to his mother is especially interesting, as it refers to the circumstances and death of his friend:-

“To return to my personal doings, it is unnecessary of course for me to allude to the German retirement on the western front, seeing that the papers are full of it. As you must have guessed, this has made a great difference to our lives, as we have had to be constantly hot on their heels. At times we come to close quarters with them, but on the whole they do not show much fight, and easily surrender or retire. The country over which we are advancing has been most thoroughly and diabolically destroyed. The villages have been ruthlessly pillaged, burnt, and razed to the ground. Not a thing of any value has been left behind by these barbarians. Even the young fruit trees have been deliberately maimed and rendered incapable of bearing fruit. Naturally this has made it most hard for us following in their tracks, as they intended it should, but we are able to overcome all difficulties and continue our victorious advance. There is not the slightest doubt we are winning by force of arms and smashing the Huns back to their own country. May the end come suddenly and speedily!

“Our battalion has just returned from a special attack, in which it distinguished itself, and about which the Colonel has given permission to write, so I am quite in order in relating a few facts without giving valuable information away. Our objective was a large village, fortified and held by the Huns. We commenced the attack in the early hours of the morning, and had to advance a distance of over 2,000 yards, before we came to grips with the enemy. It was snowing slightly at the time and a thin layer covered the ground as the men moved forward in waves to the attack. After we got fairly going I felt strangely exhilarated, and, much to my surprize quite unconcerned by the possibility of danger. The Huns yelled when they saw us coming, but our fellows yelled still louder, and never wavered a moment under the enemy’s fire. Barbed wire impeded our movements to a small extent, but in short time we had reached the village and were careering like mad through the streets. The Huns did not stand a ghost of a chance then, as our men paid back old scores, and in a few seconds they were doing their best to retreat. Many got back to tell the tale to Hindenburg, but I am thankful to say many not. It was not long before the whole village was in our hands, and after we had consolidated our gain we had some sport looking for souvenirs. The most interesting thing to us was the Germans’ rations which they left behind. Some of the men ate them, but although I am not dainty on this job, I did not have! The meat looked tempting enough, but had the undoubted characteristics of worn-out cab horse!

“I am glad to say our casualties on this occasion were comparatively few, although I regret to have to relate the death in action of Horace Pinker. He was killed by a bullet, and died before the stretcher–bearers could get him to the dressing station. It is very sad for his people, but they can have the satisfaction of knowing that he died bravely and nobly, and was accorded a decent burial.”

It has long been felt that we have not done all that we might for those of our numbers who are taking part in this bitter struggle. At Christmas our young people collected enough to send parcels to all on the Institute Roll of Honour. Now it is wished to do the same for the others, and the kind help and generous support of all our friends if asked. We feel confident that this appeal will not be made in vain! Contributions may be sent to Miss Gough, Mrs. Hamilton Moss, Mrs. Streeter, or Miss Austin.

Trinity Congregational magazine, May 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

Asylum staff “feel the sudden restriction”

Food restrictions continued to pose a thorny question for the Lunatic Asylum.

April 9th 1917.

Sir,

Food Restriction.

I would respectfully ask your guidance in regard to the following matter. As you are doubtless aware the new dictum of the Food Controller allows persons partaking of food in hotels and restaurants a total weekly meat supply of 4½lbs., and that there must be one meatless day. The former recommendation was 2½lbs. per week as an average family allowance. The reason given for the increased allowance for hotels is that the visitors would be mainly adults, and consequently require more than the average family.

In asylums the staff consists of virile adults, many of the females have not yet reached maturity, who have been allowed ample meat and bread supplies, and they naturally feel the sudden restriction even although fish is substituted on one or two days weekly. A leader in the Times of Saturday directs urgent attention to these apparently contradictory proposals of the Food Controller.

As the former recommendation was strongly supported by your Board in their recent circular letter upon which the committees of Visitors have acted, I would ask whether, in face of these recent instructions, it would be right to issue up to 4½lbs. each per week instead of the 2½lbs. formally recommended.

I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant.

Letter from Berkshire Lunatic Asylum (D/H10/A6/6/1/5)

The gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller

Various kinds of savings were pursued in Winkfield – but there were concerns as to how poorer people would cope.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Committee organised a Public Meeting in the Parish Room on Friday, March 30th , when there was a large attendance.

Mrs. Boyce gave an excellent address on the Food question, pointing out clearly the gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller, especially as regards to bread; and the point was emphasized that although the labouring man who could not afford so much meat might legitimately take a larger allowance of bread, yet he is now bound to reduce his usual amount by at least one pound a week.

Mr. Creasy also spoke on the importance of War Savings, and proposed the following resolution which was seconded by Mr. Harrison and carried “that all present pledge themselves to co-operate in carrying out the regulations of Lord Devonport and the Authorities on the question of rations to households generally, and to support the War Savings Association to the best of their ability”.

The Committee learning that many Cottagers and Allotment holders found great difficulty in obtaining seed potatoes arranged to buy a ton of seed at once, and Mr. Asher kindly advanced the money to secure them. Most of these potatoes have now been applied for, but a few pecks are still available, and any wishing to buy them should apply to Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row.

Arrangements have been made for the saving of waste paper; sacks have been taken by Mr G. Brown, Maiden’s Green, Mr. Eales, Winkfield Street, Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row, Mr. Langley, Brock Hill, Mr. Osman, Gorse Place, and also at the Schools, and it is hoped that many will send contributions of waste paper (old letters, circulars, newspapers, but not brown paper) to help fill these sacks which will then be collected and forwarded.

Winkfeld section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)

It is more important to reduce the consumption of bread and flour than to reduce the consumption of meat

The Lunatic Asylum received official instructions explaining how to adapt food supplies under the current restrictons.

THE BOARD OF CONTROL,
66, Victoria Street, S.W.

2nd March, 1917

Sir,

I am directed by the Board of Control to advert to their circular letter of the 13th February asking to be informed how far the amount of bread, meat and sugar issued for the patients and staff in your Institution conform to the limitations imposed by the Food Controller, and to thank you for your reply thereto.

The Board have now learnt that the Food Controller considers the following articles of diet may properly be utilised as partial substitutions for the above-mentioned foods:-

A.
For Bread per 1lb. or Flour per ¾lb.

¾lb. Barley, or

¾lb. Oatmeal, or

¾lb. Rice, or

¾lb. Sago, or

¾lb. Tapioca, or

¾lb. Maize Meal (Cornflour, Hominy, &c.), or

5ozs. Butter, Margarine or Fat.

B. For Meat per 1lb. (uncooked without bone)

5ozs. Cheese, or

8ozs. Beans, (dry) or

8ozs. Lentils, (dry) or

8ozs. Peas, (dry)

The various ways in which Beans, Lentils and Peas may be cooked so as to render them savoury and appetising are no doubt known to you.

C. For Sugar per ¾lb.

1lb. Treacle or Syrup, or

1lb Honey

The Board understand that the amounts of Meat, Bread, Flour and Sugar indicated in the limitations prescribed by the Food Controller, must be taken as the broad average applying to households containing an average distribution of adults and children of both sexes and various ages. He recognises that in institutions not satisfying this condition the actual scale would, in some details, require modification and adjustment to circumstances.

At present, it is more important to reduce the consumption of Bread and Flour than to reduce the consumption of Meat. Bread should not be substituted for Meat. The Board suggest that, in institutions where the amount of Bread per head considerably exceeds the limitations prescribed by the Food Controller, a reduction might be effected by substituting a small ration of cold fat bacon for some of the breakfast bread.

It should be borne in mind that while substitutes for bread may be utilised to a certain extent, the object of the Food Controller’s scale is to effect a net reduction in the consumption of food.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,

O.C. Dickinson, Secretary

To the Medical Superintendents, of all institutions for Lunatics and to the Superintendents of all Certified Institutions or Houses for Mental Defectives and Approved Homes.

Letter to Berkshire Lunatic Asylum (D/H10/A6/6/1/4)

Beer and bottled water to be in short supply

Sydney Spencer underwent training in gas exposure, while Florence Vansittart Neale was shocked by the amount of items to be restricted.

Sydney Spencer of Cookham
Feb 22

I go through chlorine gas for first time (in a P.H. helmet).

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey
22 February 1917

Large contingent of nurses & MOs from Cliveden. Saw everything & had tea in hall. Came at 3, left 5.30….

Good speech by E. Carson on submarine menace – very serious, but hope it will get [illegible].

Importations of timber, apples, tomatoes, raw fruits, tea, restricted, meat, paper, wines, silks, only 10,000,000 barrels of beer – spirits also restricted, aerated water and table water.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/12); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

On food rations

Cookham-born expat Will Spencer found that food shortages at home were mirrored by those in Switzerland. His mother Anna, meanwhile, expressed her sympathies to the German family of missing soldier Max Ohler.

17 February 1917

Read in the paper that the hotels, etc, are to give no meat on two days of the week, & never more than one meat course at a meal. Further, land is to be put under cultivation to the extent required to meet the needs of the situation now in prospect….

A letter from Mother…. Mother tells me they are “on food rations” now, but the amount allowed is exactly what “they have of meat & bread, but not so much sugar”. Mr Sandalls, aged 85, saws wood, & says “if anybody wants a boy to saw wood & bring coal, he can do it”. Mother is very sorry for Max Ohler’s parents.

After tea, together to the Hauptpost, from whence I sent money home.

Diary of Will Spencer in Switzerland, 1917 (D/EX801/27)

The lunatic asylum must comply with food restrictions

Berkshire Lunatic Asylum received an official enquiry as to compliance with the new food rationing.

THE BOARD OF CONTROL,
66, Victoria Street, S.W.

13th February, 1917

PRESSING

Sir,

The Board of Control have been desired by the Secretary of State to ascertain how far the Dietaries in force in the various institutions for the insane in England and Wales conform to the limitations imposed by the Food Controller, which are:-

Bread not to exceed, per head, 4lbs a week.

Meat not to exceed, per head, 2½lbs a week.

Sugar not to exceed, per head, ¾lbs a week.

Accordingly, I am to request that you will be good enough to inform the Board, without delay, what steps have been taken by the Visiting Committee and yourself in this connection, and whether you are in a position to assure the Board that the amounts of the three articles of food mentioned above, issued to Officers, Attendants and other member of the Staff, and to the patients in your Institution, do not exceed the limitations, except so far as partial substitution of one for another is allowed, and the special diets of the sick and acute cases render necessary.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,

O.C. Dickinson, Secretary

[To] The Medical Superintendent, Berks Asylum

Letter to Berkshire Lunatic Asylum (D/H10/A6/6/1/2)

Cats bless food restrictions

John Maxwell Image wrote to his old friend W F Smith with news of how food rationing was affecting his household, including the pets cats, formerly fed on scraps and leftovers, but now treated to tasty offal not fit for human consumption. Lord Devonport was the Government Food Controller. More sadly, Rudolph Cecil Hutchinson, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, had been exceptionally severely wounded at the Battle of Loos back in 1915. After over a year’s suffering, he finally died in Cambridge in February 1917. He seems to have been generally known as Cecil. A memoir of him was published privately in 1918 and can be downloaded free.

29 Barton Road
13 Feb. ‘17

Praeclarissime EMY


The Signora … is away at a Newnham College concert, with a fair Marylander, youthful spouse of a Trinity MA, who on his part has been spirited off to scientific War Work at L’pool…

Well, as for Devonport, she accepted him enthusiastically. The hosue is put on rations of bread, meat and sugar – and so cannily that I can’t discover any difference. Helen and Ann, two excellent sisters, are devoted to their mistress’s will. Joe and Binnie bless Devonport all day, for, obviously, the house-meat cannot any longer be cast to the cats: so special supplied – I trust not 5 lb weekly – of lights and such like dainties come in for their use and behoof. Their little barrels bulge – and the 2 tails are rolling pins for size.

We have for many months baked our own bread – the best standard bread I ever ate! 12 lbs of flour produces a long loaf each day, which is bisected each morning, one half for the parlour and one for the kitchen. Helen, who is the surgeon, rigorously adheres to the Devonport law, and always I see some over on our table at night. The only difficulty is there being so very, very little flour for puddings. I don’t mind, and the petticoats don’t grouse….

We had a military funeral in Trinity this morning. A BA Lieut. There must have been over 100 troops – the coffin on a gun carriage, draped with the Union Jack. The first part of the service in Chapel at 11.45. And then the procession – band playing (very poorly) the Dead March went down Trin. St and Trin. Lane, through the Paddocks. Rudolph Cecil Hopkinson, Lieut. RE – died of wounds on Feb. 9th.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Food rations begin

Our diarists had a variety of interests. In Switzerland, Will Spencer saw the US was coming closer to war; in training, his brother Sydney was learning to shoot; and in Bisham, Florence Vansittart Neale was worried by food rationing and strikes.

Will Spencer in Switzerland
5 February 1917

News in the paper that diplomatic relations between Germany & the United States have been broken off by the latter.

Sydney Spencer in army training
Feb 5th

General Musketry course results (extract). Lt S Spencer, A company, Marksman 130. This was fired at Totley with 2 feet snow & hard ports!

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey
5 February 1917

Expected men from Cliveden – arrived late as motor broken down. Came in 2 ambulances.

Wild argument from miners!…

Food rations begin. 2 ½ lb meat – 4 lbs bread or flour – ¾ lb sugar per week.

Diaries of Will Spencer, 1917 (D/EX801/27); Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/12); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“Do they really think it economical and saving?”

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image was not impressed by the way his college was implementing food restrictions. His colleagues were, he felt, likely to have extra helpings of the main course if they felt short changed.

29 Barton Road
8 Dec. ‘16
My very dear old man,

Yesterday (Thursday 7th) was our Commemoration – not Feast, that’s been abolished during the War – dinner…

But only listen! This is a notice sent round by the Council on Dec. 6 (Wednesday).

“In accordance with an Order made under the Defence of the Realm Regulations (see “the Times” Dec 6, 1916) the High Table Dinner on and after Friday December 8th, and until further notice, will consist of three courses and cheese. On Wednesdays and Fridays, soup, fish and the choice of a sweet or savoury will be provided. On other days the dinner will consist of soup, meat and the choice of a sweet or savoury. A vegetarian dish will continue to be provided daily as an alternative to the fish or meat course.
Henry Jackson
Vice Master.”

Do they really think it economical and saving to have 2, or possibly 3, helpings of sirloin or Saddle? Instead of one help of joint and one of some cheap entrée, made up out of scraps and leavings?

Gwatkin’s letter is to be published separately. I hear that the Foreign Office will use it to state our case. I read it in the Camb. Review and admire and respect it even as you do.

Love to you both from us,
Bild.


Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

“We shall need some adventurous courage”

The Bishop of Oxford was at best a grudging supporter of the proposals for a National Mission in response to the war.

LENT

We would call especial attention to the Bishop’s Message regarding the National Mission to be held in all parishes in October or November next; and also to our list of Lenten services which will be found inserted in this number of the magazine. Never has there been a time in the history of our nation when more prayer and self-denial were needed, and it is to be feared that this is by no means realized by a large majority of our countrymen; it behoves all Church people, therefore, to make an especial effort to keep the Lenten season.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the March Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked,
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the spiritual enterprise of the National Mission,
That the clergy may prepare themselves,
That the faithful may be filled with zeal,
That expectation may be aroused,
That those who guide may be filled with wisdom and courage.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It has been decided by the Archbishops, after much consultation, and with the general consent of the Bishops, that there shall be held in October or November of this year “A National Mission of Repentance and Hope”, which will doubtless be commonly called “The National Mission”. Some of us have been somewhat critical of the proposal. But now that it has been decided to hold it, and a letter from the Archbishops has been issued, it behoves us all to arrest our critical faculties and to turn the opportunity to the best spiritual purpose.

What concerns the method of the mission and its details will in the main be left to each diocese and parish to determine. We shall all need to be adaptable, and we shall need some adventurous courage. But it is desired that the plan of each diocese and parish shall conform to this outline: that the earlier part of this year should be given to preparing spiritually the clergy and the faithful church people, men and women; and that the great effort of the prepared Church should be in October or November next, and should be devoted to the awakening to the call of God of all that great body of people who, with more or less reality of allegiance, belong to the Church. The Mission will be purely a Church Mission to those who belong to us. But it is anticipated that a similar effort will be made at the same time by other bodies of Christians.

Of the motives of the mission I said enough, perhaps, last month. By way of preparation for it, I am taking the following steps:

1. I am summoning the parochial clergy into Retreat in the first week of August, July 31st-August 4th, at Bradfield and Radley Colleges. In answer to many questions I would say that I hope to arrange that the assistant clergy (or those whom it is necessary to leave behind in the parishes) should come into Retreat in the following week.

2. I hereby ask each Rural Dean to form a Mission Committee of clergy, laymen, and laywomen in his Rural Deanery, and when they come to the Rural Deans’ meeting on May 8th to come ready with suggestions and to bring the names of one priest, one layman and one laywoman whom I can summon to whatever general meeting may prove to be necessary.

3. I am hoping that shortly before Easter the Bishop of London, the Chairman of the Central Council of the Mission, will come to address all those who can gather to listen to him in Oxford or Reading.

4. I am summoning the Society of Mission Clergy to take counsel on March 2nd.

5. I hope to get the main lines of our arrangements fixed at the Rural Dean’s meeting on May 8th.

6. I want all who will do so to say daily the Collect for the 4th Sunday in Advent or the 1st Sunday after Epiphany.

FASTING AND THRIFT

The nation is being called to thrift on grounds of public economy under the burden of war. This year, as every year, the church is calling us to fast in Lent. The two calls reinforce one another. Let us be serious this year in keeping Lent. I note in The Times of February 23, “Two more meatless days have been added to the Berlin regime, making four in all” (in the week). We could most of us, I think, observe three meatless days in Lent.

SUNDAY EVENING SERVICES

Whatever expedient we adopt to meet the requirements which the dangers of air raids at night have rendered necessary, I hope that we shall see to it that the spiritual profit of the people is provided for. An earlier Evensong in church and a later Mission service in the school might be profitable for the parish until the days gain their full length.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

Christmas parcels

There was an interdenominational effort in Bracknell to co-ordinate sending Christmas gifts to the men at the front.

Christmas parcels have been sent to all the men who are on active service both in the Navy and the Army. The Chavey Down men received their parcels through the working party on the Down. The members of the Congregational Church and P.S.A. sent to those connected with their organizations, and the remainder, about 70 in number, were provided for by subscriptions contributed by many in Bracknell.

Grateful letters of acknowledgement have come from a large number of the men, who desire the Vicar to thank all the Bracknell friends who contributed; the contents of the parcels seem to have been much appreciated.

The parcels were packed by Mrs. Barnett at the Vicarage, with the kind assistance of Mr. Payne and Miss Hunton. The contents of the parcels were such things as biscuits in tins, cake, Oxo, potted meat, milk and cocoa, chocolate, apples, soap, candles and cigarettes.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)

Eat 3/5 of the meat you used to

The German assaults on civilian shipping were having an effect on food imports, and meat in particular was beginning to be in short supply. The Sulhamstead parish magazine advised:

MEAT SUPPLIES
The supply of meat for the ensuing year is causing considerable deliberation on the part of the Government and an Act of Parliament has been passed dealing with the subject. It is stated that we must be prepared to rely principally upon home grown stock and that we ought, each of us, now to eat three fifths of the meat we have hitherto each consumed. The remaining two fifths, it is said, is wanted for the soldiers. In the growing families, and especially the bread winners, is to be maintained, so it remains for the better off classes to use their restraint. It seems, therefore, that there still is something we can do for our soldiers and sailors. The government have now taken authority to prevent the killing for market of female calves that will be wanted for milk at a later date.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, July 1915 (D/EX725/3)

“Butcher’s meat has to go”

Two more Cranbourne men had fallen in the war, while others had followed them to the front. Meanwhile those left behind were sending eggs for the wounded, and taking the advice of an almost certainly fictional letter in the church magazine to save food and money.

We have to record, with much regret, the deaths of Sergeant Tom Hillyer, and Private James Andrews.

Sergeant Hillyer was killed in action in April. He was well known in the Parish as a Postman and as the winner of several prizes for walking at the Sports of the Windsor Forest Athletic Club. When the war began he at once enlisted in the Canadian contingent and was very soon promoted to be sergeant. He had seen service in the Egyptian campaigns and in the South African War, and held four medals.

James Andrews was gardener at Springhill and being reservist had to join his regiment at once. After eight months fighting he was seriously wounded and died of his wounds early in May. He was a much respected member of our branch of the C.E.M.S. and a regular communicant. Memorial services were held in our Church for both of these soldiers who died for their King and Country.

The following names are to be added to the list (published last month) of those who are serving in His Majesty’s forces.

Charles Goodchild, Suffolk Regiment.
Charles Peters, Lance-Corporal, Mechanical Transport.
Ernest Hawthorne, Royal Engineers.
Arthur Robert Hatcher, Royal Engineers.
Frank Edmonds, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.
Albert John Edmonds, Berkshire Yeomanry.

Several in this Parish are contributing to the egg collection which is being made all over the country for our wounded soldiers. Miss K. Meyer is the local Secretary and takes the gifts each week to Windsor, where they are packed and sent to headquarters in London, from which place they are sent to our hospitals in England and France. Since April 30th, 1485 eggs have been given by residents in Cranbourne and Winkfield, but during the last month the number sent each week has been getting less. The Secretary wishes it to be known that even one egg a week, or one a fortnight will be gratefully received, for “every mickle makes a muckle.” She would be glad to receive the eggs on Thursdays, as she takes them to Windsor every Friday.

We have seen an interesting letter and as it seemed to contain some most valuable information, we have persuaded the writer to let us publish it in our Magazine. It is too long to print the whole of it in this month’s issue and so it will be “continued in our next.”-

MRS. SMITH TO MRS. ROBINSON.

“DEAR MRS. ROBINSON,”

This comes hoping you are well, as it leaves me at present, but terribly worried over this cruel war. It’s hard enough to get on now that work is plenty. What will it be when the war is over and hundreds of thousands of soldiers come back to work and take the situations which are being kept open for them. And the bill there will be to pay. The Parliament is spending 3 millions of pounds every day on the war, and you don’t suppose they are finding the money in their cellars where Guy Faux was hid. No, my husband says they are running up a big debt, and who do you suppose will pay it, he says. Why, he says, it is us the working people will have to pay it, at least it will come hardest on us. So those who are making a little more just now (which is not you or me) should be saving every penny beyond their bare living, and not fancying themselves rich.

It is a mercy I learned to make the most of things, and I may mention some of the things I am doing now. First of all, butcher’s meat has to go. No bits of steak and one-and-five per lb. Even the gentry are not buying such a lot of butcher’s meat just now, so that there may be more to go round for the poorer classes. Any meat I can buy must not be choice parts. If it is nicely stewed any part can be made good, especially just now, with vegetables not so hard to get. Onions one must have. They are most wholesome and they make anything go down. Brown a bit of onion in a saucepan with a bit of dripping and a good dust of flour. When it is all brown, add a little water and stir till it boils, and makes a thin sauce. Drop in the meat and a tea spoon of vinegar, also a little pepper. Cook it slowly till the meat is soft. You can keep putting in any bits of vegetables, also potato. When you dish it up, you get back everything you have put in- no waste. Of course the pot must be filled up with more water if the meat is getting too dry.

As for potatoes, I should feel ashamed of myself if I was to peel them. The Irish, who know what potatoes are, think the skin of a baked potato the best part. Any way, if boiled in their skins you get much more flavour, and can strip off the skins as you eat them. Peeling them in the old way wastes one pound in every four pounds. It is wise to buy what potatoes you can, as they are good food, except for babies, and make other things go further. If I ever run to a rasher, I fry some cold potato with it, as a saving, and as for ‘sausages and mashed,’ the potato is half the battle.

Sausages are a help just now. Put them in a pie dish and over them a batter made with flour, milk, and water, and one egg, and they go a long way as ‘toad in the hole’; or put them in the dish, covered with potatoes and bake like a pie. If only plainly fried they are too dear. Fish, when you can get it, will save the meat. Plaice, haddock, cod or hake can be made quite tasty. Put on a tin, and sprinkle with vinegar, pepper and salt; cover it with a bit of clean paper and put a bit of dripping round. Bake it till it is ready to leave the bone. Baste it through the paper whenever you have time. Serve it with the liquor which runs out, which is quite tasty.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)