We Can Do It!

In our health conscious society during lockdown there are many who’ve taken the opportunity to eat healthier food and take more exercise! Undoubtedly food has been an important occupation for many households with more time to experiment with new recipes. Photos and videos of people showing all the delicious food they’ve made has inspired us to put on our aprons and get going in the kitchen!

Some parts of the country have experienced a shortage of food on the supermarket shelves and a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Maybe this will inspire more people to grow their own as well as the threat of rising food prices due to the uncertainty of overseas supplies in a post covid and Brexit country. For those who have the space and the inclination, this would be wonderful both for our physical and mental health. It might mean we spend more time outside and less time on our screens. 

War time food was high in carbs and low in fat and according to dieticians, the nation had never been healthier. Less food and more exercise was the key. Unlike today, there were few vegetarians as meat was the preferred option with the exception of Lord Woolton’s vegetable pie, made with seasonal vegetables and pastry, which was extremely popular. Fruit was scarce so it was often preserved to last all year round.

Back in the 1940’s people in this country had never heard of things like pasta, pesto, garlic, quinoa, avocados and all the other food we’ve grown so used to over the past 20 years. People ate things like sausage rolls, steamed puddings and rabbit stew. Another difference between food now and then was it was homemade and there was very little waste. People generally took much more exercise, they walked to their local baker or butcher rather than jumping into their car for a trip to a supermarket.

During lockdown, the pace of life has slowed down, there has been very little traffic on the roads, no aeroplanes in the skies, and many people have combined exercise with shopping, walking or biking. Homegrown produce seems to be much appreciated, and possibly more homemade food than usual has been consumed. One or two people who live in beautiful surroundings have said they wish life could continue like this forever and some have said they feel nothing much has changed! I can’t be sure, but I have a feeling that some things will change for the better and one of them might be to grow, cook and eat your own food.

I’ve looked at a few wartime recipes and the one I’ve come up with looks and sounds really good and is very similar to the sort of biscuits we would make today. 

War Time Orange drop cookies

  • ½ tsp orange flavouring 
  • 1 tbs orange zest
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 170g butter 
  • 425g honey
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 310g all purpose flour sifted
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix butter and honey together, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and add to the honey and butter mixture.

Fold in the beaten eggs, along with the rind and juice of the orange. 

Refrigerate the batter for 30 mins. 

Put heaped teaspoons of the mixture an inch or two apart onto the baking sheet as the biscuits expand when they cook. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack. Delicious with anything but possibly best eaten with vanilla ice cream and some rhubarb compote – whoops, (as they would say in World War Two) I mean stewed rhubarb!

– Julia

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