Recipes from my Suffolk Kitchen

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Eggs or Anarchy - Book Review



The wartime event at the railway museum had a small display about food rationing and by co-incidence I was reading this
 book, picked up by chance from the library van last month.

Lord Woolton, Minister for food during most of the war years kept a diary of his time in office and entries from this, his wife's diary and historical records are used to tell the story of how the nation was fed.
Thankfully the government had learned from the 1914-18 war that they needed to introduce rationing very quickly in the event of another war so all procedures to do this had been put in place before September 1939. Having been given the job of sorting out the problems of clothing the fighting forces in early 1939 and his speed in getting the factories on-side, in April 1940 Woolton was asked to take on the roll of keeping the country fed and healthy.

During the 1930s Britain had imported a large percentage of it's food,(food miles is not a new worry) but with shipping routes under attack and European imports lost Woolton had to find a way to ration what was available, to increase production at home and persuade people and the government that he knew what he was doing. Even Churchill, when he took over as PM,  doubted Woolton could cope and constantly questioned his decisions.

Using his business skills - he was in charge of several department stores in the north of England - he set about negotiating with factories, farmers and shipping lines. He wanted people to end the war healthier than they had been when it started and had to persuade them to not get involved in the Black Market, to use the rations wisely and then to use their gardens to grow some food to supplement the rations.

If you are at all interested in this subject you will find this book full of information that you probably didn't know. For instance - the majority of people working in the Ministry of Food were secretly moved out of London to Colwyn Bay in Wales, taking over hotels and schools.

A really good read, it will be added to my WWII  Home Front collection when I can find a cheap copy

Back Soon
Sue

15 comments:

  1. I have this book on reserve at the library (it's still on order here) & following your review, I'm looking forward to it even more. Food supply & security is such an important issue - then & now.

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  2. Have recently read this. I really enjoyed it. It doesn't paint Churchill in the best light at times. Am currently reading "A green and pleasant land" by Ursula Buchan. about "how England's gardeners fought the second world war" Ursula is a gardener and it is very much a gardener's book. For instance how john Innes compost was "invented".

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    1. Thought I'd read that but it's not listed in my book of books so I'll see if the library have it.

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  3. That sounds a really interesting book. I wonder what folk today would make of rationing, bearing in mind a goodly proportion of them might not be able to actually "cook" . . .

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  4. Obviously I had heard of him but didn't realise he had kept a diary. Thanks for this.

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  5. If you have a "Works"near you the paperback is £3.

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  6. It sounds like a good read. I'll look out for this one :-)

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  7. Thanks to you, I enlisted DH yesterday to help me master Ziffit without getting eye strain! We have listed £60 worth of books, cds and DVDs. Have 3 bags to take to charity shop too. This will help to payfor a new caravan battery as thebold one is totally dead. Box being picked up on Friday. Happy me, thanks to you. Catriona

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    1. Glad to be of service!
      I have another and probably final box being picked up tomorrow - Just over £20. Which means I have sold over £150 worth to them since last October yet still have all my favourite books and still several 100 here

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  8. That sounds like a book to look out for - thanks for the review

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  9. This sounds fascinating. I'll look out for it.
    (Problem is, I have so many books on my "fiction to read" list.
    Current read - The Zig Zag Girl by Ellie Griffiths.)

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    1. I recently read the newest of that series, not as good as the Ruth Galloway I thought but still worth a read

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  10. Sounds like a very interesting read.

    God bless.

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  11. Sorry to post about something from yesterday but wasn't sure if you would go back to read or not.
    The Range is coming to the old B & Q site - will be open later this year.

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  12. This does sound interesting and my best friend will also love it. Thank you for the review.

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