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Cooking up ration-book recipes

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:49 06 July 2010

Patricia Day (left) getting ready for the World War Two ration day Elizabethan House Museum. With Colin Stott and Anne Watling.

Patricia Day (left) getting ready for the World War Two ration day Elizabethan House Museum. With Colin Stott and Anne Watling.

A Yarmouth museum is to step back in time to an era that would bring many modern cooks out in a cold sweat. The quayside Elizabethan House will be transformed into a billeting station cooking up meals for second world war troops.

A Yarmouth museum is to step back in time to an era that would bring many modern cooks out in a cold sweat.

For one afternoon, the quayside Elizabethan House museum will be transformed into a billeting station cooking up meals for second world war troops staying in the town.

Staff will demonstrate to visitors how ingenious housewives of the day prepared hearty dinners from meagre ration book supplies - and without the option of rushing to Tesco for anything pre-washed, pre-cooked or microwave-packaged.

Rehearsing for Saturday's event, learning support assistant Patricia Day said she had been pleasantly surprised how good jam made from carrots and almond paste actually tasted.

However, she was less enthusiastic about a morning cuppa of coffee and chicory - heavy on the chicory because of the wartime scarcity of coffee.

Ration book recipes visitors will be able to try will include mock duck, using mince rather than duck, spam fritters and a vegetable-based Lord Woolton pie, named after a Ministry of Food official.

The museum's learning manager, Colin Stott, said: “In many ways there are a lot of things we can learn from those times when left-overs were used up and nothing was wasted.

“People shopped for what they needed rather than what they might use, and they were probably healthier for eating the right quantities.”

He said his mother had been evacuated to Norfolk during the war, and in some ways life had been easier in the countryside because extra provisions could be obtained from farmers.

However, he said the scarcity of food had still sometimes driven people to extraordinary lengths to obtain it.

“One Yarmouth man we interviewed for the museum told us how he and his friends would crawl under the barbed wire and avoid the mines on the seafront to obtain tins of food washed up on the beach from sunken ships,” he said.

t The ration book recipes event will be from 12.30pm to 3.30pm on Saturday. Normal museum admission prices.

Recipe for Lord Woolton pie: Take 1lb each of diced potatoes, cauliflower, swedes and carrots, three or four spring onions, one teaspoon of vegetable extract and one tablespoon of oatmeal.

Cook all together for 10 minutes with just enough water to cover. Stir now and then.

Allow to cool and put in a pie dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and top with potato crust (or wholemeal pastry).

Bake in a moderate oven until browned. Serve hot with gravy.

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