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Category Archives: Menu planning

A Delicious Christmas Dinner, 1939

Last night I watched  “Sarah Beenys Christmas at Rise Hall” on iview, which looks at how some of our Christmas traditions have come into being – such as Christmas pudding and carolling. They dress up for each period, including WWII, and eat a menu that would have been eaten at their (grand) home at the time. It’s well worth watching, but if you would like a menu a little more suited to the common person, here is one from Christmas 1939.

In Australia it’s so hot at Christmas that I usually make ice cream plum pudding, or even jelly. What’s more Christmassy than jelly?!

You may also like this menu from 1943, or this one.


Saturday night at the movies with Danielle Darrieux

Last nights movie was ‘The Rage of Paris’, an American comedy made in 1938, but still showing in Australia in mid 1939. It starred Douglas Fairbanks junior and French star Danielle Darrieux. You can watch it here.

Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux was born 1 May 1917.  As the most popular actress in France, Universal brought her to the U.S in 1938 for a five year contract.  

Danielle Darrieux.

Danielle Darrieux.


On the outbreak of war  she decided to return to France, and continued to sing and act under German occupation .reportedly because her brother had been threatened with deportation by the manager of the German run film production company in occupied France.

In February 1940, despite the war, she was voted one of the 10 Best Dressed Women in the World (The Duchess of Kent was number 1).


Danielle Darrieux 1940

Danielle Darrieux 1940

Darrieux divorced her director/screenwriter husband Henri Decoin, and married Porfirio Rubirosa, a Dominican Republic diplomat and notorious womanizer in 1942. His anti-Nazi opinions resulted in his forced residence in Germany, but in exchange for Rubirosa’s freedom, Darrieux agreed to make a promotional trip in Berlin.  The couple lived in Switzerland until the end of the war, and divorced in 1947. 


 Danielle Darrieux in

Danielle Darrieux in “Rich, you g and Pretty” 1951

Darrieux married scriptwriter Georges Mitsikidès in 1948, and they lived together until his death in 1991. 
 Danielle Darrieux with James Mason in

Danielle Darrieux with James Mason in “5 Fingers” 1952


She has appeared in more than 110 films since 1931,  and her eight-decade career is among the longest in film history.  Combined with smart stock investments, substantial property holdings, lucrative endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics, several restaurants (the “Fat Darrieux Burger” chain) in Paris, a Football Team (the “Bordeaux Angels”), her own brand of Vodka (Pure Wonderdarrieux – France), perfume (With Love from Danielle) and a fashion line called “Danielle Darrieux Seduction”, she has amassed an estimated net worth of $275 million.  This month the 98-year-old has taken the No. 1 spot on People With Money’s top 10 highest-paid actresses for 2015 – with an estimated $96 million in combined earnings. Good on her!

Danielle Darrieux 2010

Danielle Darrieux 2010

A Christmas Menu & Birthday Dinner with Roast Duck

A Christmas Menu & Birthday Dinner with Roast Duck

Its was my birthday yesterday, and after a very unration like lunch of smoked salmon omelettes with unexpected (but very welcome) visitors, I cooked a duck for dinner.

I was inspired by this menu plan from 1935 when duck was very popular, and the main dish at most Christmas dinners.


Those directions for cooking the duck are so precise!

Then I found this recipe from 1933.  

1933 recipe for roast duck

1933 recipe for roast duck

It sounded way to complicated (and I used a supermarket duck not one from my small breeding flock) so I decided to stuff it with the raisin stuffing then cook it just like my slow roasted lamb – scored and seasoned for about 4 hours at 150*c/300*F. I turned the oven up for another 30 minutes to brown the skin and make it crispy, as I do with pork.

The oysters were local and fresh (and the biggest I have ever seen) so I simply served them in their shells with lime slices, and one prawn because everyone wanted one. 

Giant Aussie oysters,  prawn and lime wedges make a simple first course!

Giant Aussie oysters, prawn and lime wedges make a simple first course!


Orange salad seems to be the thing traditionally served with roast duck, and I found this simple recipe from 1940 – 

1940 recipe for orange salad to accompany roast duck

1940 recipe for orange salad to accompany roast duck

Slow roasted crispy skin duck with roast potaoatoes aand orange sallad

Slow roasted crispy skin duck with roast potaoatoes aand orange sallad


As I don’t have a maid, as I probably would have in prewar 1935, we skipped the soup course, and  lovely Miss 14 made chocolate mousse for dessert, with real cream and dark chocolate instead of the Xmas pudding.
Everyone would like a repeat of the meal for Christmas, although I have warned my husband that we will not be eating our own duck this year… May be in 2016. 

Fomaily dinner with grandmas crocheted table cloth and vintage dinnerset


Post war ads of November 1945

I thought today I’d share some post war ads, from this month 70 years ago, November 1945. After the austerity of seven years of war, these ads are light, bright and happy, and you can see that they are leading to the boom time of the 1950s.

 Vintage 40s 1945 Coca cola ad  
Vintage 40s 1945 Jantzen swimwear ad  Vintage 40s 1945 Australian airways ad 

 Vintage 40s 1945 Agee Pyrex ad  

Vintage 40s 1945 Taubmnas Paint ad   Vintage 40s 1945 Shalby shoes ad  

  Vintage 40s 1945 Princess dyes ad 

 Vintage 40s 1945 Maxim cheese ad  

Happy dreams!

Living with wartime rationing – the after thoughts

So if you have followed our one week rationing journey you will have seen that we did pretty well eating on rations.  We didn’t starve, we ate healthy, and I actually lost about 1/2kg. It has inspired me to continue eating the wartime way.

But it was only for one week. I had a store of food in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, chickens in the backyard and some fruit and veg growing In the garden. What I didn’t have, as wartime women would have experienced, was the following – 

  • Blackouts and restrictions that went with that;
  • War work, different work to my normal routine that could have involved travelling a long way;
  • Shortages, such as paper, toilet paper, food, fuel and queuing;
  • An outside toilet;
  • Carrying a gas mask;
  • Extra child evacuees, to look after and feed;
  • Fear – of bombings, air raids, gas attack, invasion or death of a loved one.


1940ss tips to conquer fear

1940ss tips to conquer fear

What I did have that makes modern life so much easier –

  • A washing machine
  • Hot running water
  • An inside bathroom  and toilet
  • A fridge and freezer
  • An electric stove and oven
  • A car and fuel to run it
  • A husband at home
  • Children at home, who are (reasonably) safe
  • Easy communication with phone and email
  • Instant access to recipes and books online
  • Television
  • A coffee machine

What we did before delonghi

Now I don’t want to give up all of my mod cons, but I am happy to go back to wartime food. It was cheap, filling and basic, and it was healthy. Sometimes I felt I used too much fat, but there were no hidden fats in war time cooking – any fat we ate was honest , as was the sugar. I knew what was in every morsel. There were no suspect food additives that I couldn’t pronounce – my bread, unlike supermarket bread, or McDonalds bread, contained flour, yeast, oil, orange juice, salt and water, my roast potatoes just potatoes and dripping and my eggs were from my own wheat and bug fed chickens! And although we did eat some nitrates ( the suddenly newest baddest carcinogen) in our bacon, the amount of bacon we ate was small compared to the modern standard diet.

I now want to make even more from scratch. Like making butter from cream, yoghurt and cheese from milk and growing more of our own (pesticide free) vegetables. I spent the morning putting up a new fence for the poultry and extending my vegetable growing area, and in the cool of the afternoon I planted seedlings that I had grown.

The ducks and chooks in their new enclosure, under the coffeebush and mango tree

The ducks and chooks in their new enclosure, under the coffeebush and mango tree. The black hose comes from the washing machine and waters the bananas

Back in my 20s, prekids but wanting to make the planet better before having any, I was an Eco- greenie- vegetarian warrior. Somewhere over the last twenty years I’ve become a middle aged-too busy-have money can buy guzzler. That’s about to change! I hope you’ll follow the journey, as well as stay around for more history and wartime bits and pieces.

Living with Wartime Rations – Day 7

We’ve reached the last day of our war ration experiment! 

I think it has really made us appreciate meat and dairy foods in particular. As we’ve seen, British wartime meat rations were much smaller than the Australian version, about 1/2lb a week compared to 2 1/2lb, and if we had been in the UK I definitely would have kept backyard rabbits and chickens, and been part of a pig club.

People in towns had kept backyard pigs for hundreds of years, but in the spirit of wartime ratioing, the government encouraged groups of people to form clubs, to buy, feed and look after pigs. The pigs were fed mostly with scraps from homes, cafés, bakeries, and anything edible that came to hand.  Clubs were also allowed to legally purchase small rations of feed or corn.

Pigs, and dairy goats, are definatley on my ‘one day” list!

After a bowl of rebated brown rice, with 1 teaspoon of sugar and coconut milk ( the girls used the last of our milk in lasts night pudding) I dropped the kids to school and popped into the supermarket for milk and cream. With my new wartime woman focused eyes, I also grabbed enough meat for seven meals, and some yoghurt –

Yhe benefit of supermarkets is the specials!

All for under $30!

My grandmothers would be proud! As a special treat I cooked my husband the lambs fry for lunch, (baked liver, from 1940, below) as the kids would have to be starving to eat it. I have only cooked it once before, and that put me off, but this recipe says to soak it in water for half an hour first, which does make it much more like normal meat and easier to deal with.

1940s recipes including baked liver

1940s recipes including baked liver

I let the bacon get a little too crispy, but I was baking bread at the same time. It was surprisingly good, and fantastic for under $2! The cats loved the raw and cooked liver too, so I will be buying more for pet food too.  I hope the kids enjoyed their tomato sandwiches today! 
Baked liver with bacon and apple. served with coleslaw and a slice of national loaf

Baked liver with bacon and apple. served with coleslaw and a slice of national loaf

Instead of another mince meal for dinner, I decided on fish, the traditional Friday food, and not rationed.Last time I used frozen white fish fillets they were tough, so it seemed sense to make a stew from them. I found this recipie for fish curry from another Ministry of Food Leaflet (about using leftovers). 
wartime ministry of food recipe for fish curry

wartime ministry of food recipe for fish curry

Not quite the type of curry we are used to but not bad, although the sultanas were something new in a curry for the kids. Instead of salad I added cabbage to the curry.


Wartime Fish curry with sultanas

Wartime Fish curry with sultanas

Let’s see how we did. Remember the rations for one week for one adult?

  • · Bacon & Ham 4 oz/113 grams 
  • · Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb/227gm minced beef, in Australia it was 2 1/4 lb from January 1944 to 1948 and fish, rabbit, poultry and organ meat were not rationed)
  • · Butter 2 oz/ 57 grams (Australians got 1/2 lb from June 1943 to 1950)
  • · Cheese 2 oz/ 57 grams 
  • · Margarine 4 oz/113 grams 
  • · Cooking fat 4 oz/113 grams 
  • · Milk 3 pints/1.7 litres 
  • · Sugar 8 oz/227g (1 lb week in Australia from August 1942)
  • · Preserves/Jam 1 lb every 2 months/ one 230gm jar a month 
  • · Tea 2 oz// 57 grams (1/2 lb per 5 weeks in Australia from July 1942)
  • · Eggs 1 fresh egg per week 
  • · Sweets/Candy 12 oz/340g every 4 weeks 

For five of  us we used – 

  • Bacon – 5 rashers Sunday, 5 rashers Thursday, 2 today, total 12 oz UNDER!
  • Meat – 500gm kangaroo (unrationed),  2kg/4 lb lamb shoulder, 500gm/1 lb mince SLIGHTLY OVER FOR UK, UNDER FOR AUSTRALIA
  • Butter – 250gm/8oz UNDER but only because we ran out, would have used more
  • Cheese – under 1 1/2 cups grated from a block, and a few slices, about  250gm/9 oz UNDER
  • Margarine – we used olive oil, about 2 cups
  • Cooking fat – only dripping that we collected from the roast, and we still have a cup left
  • Milk – grownups about 1 glass a day and kids 2-3 cups each – would have used our full rations SAME
  • Sugar – Started with one 1kg bag and have 280 gm left so used 720gm/ 25 oz so far UNDER the 40oz allowed, although we did use about 100 ml of maple/golden syrup as well.
  • Preserves – used almost 1/3 a jar of Jan
  • Tea – about 10 teaspoons at 1 Gm per spoon UNDER but about 250 Gm coffee
  • Eggs – 6, and always in something not as a meal, and we have chooks laying two eggs a day EQUAL
  • Sweets – two one hundred Gm blocks 70% cocoa chocolate, And the kids had about 100gm starburst, so UNDER

To be honest we did have a bottle of wine and a few beers too, but I think we did pretty well. We certainly ate a lot more salad than usual, even the kids, and we used a lot less meat, butter and cheese than usual. 

I think with keeping our own ducks and chickens we could even keep our dog and cats fed, as they get mainly leftovers and unrationed meat. On the outbreak of war, 750,000 pets were slaughtered in Britain in one week, as a patriotic, and slightly misguided, action encouraged by the government. You can read more here.

Our Muscovy ducks enjoying their favourite food, lettuce

Our Muscovy ducks enjoying their favourite food

Thanks for joining us on our ratioing experiment. I hope it’s encouraged you to try some new, or old, foods and recipes, and to think a bit about being prepared. For what the future may bring.  I’ll share some more thoughts about what our experiment has meant, and how it’s changed us a little, soon.

Living on Wartime Rations – Day 6

  This ad is from 1940 –

Rice bubble ad from 1940

Rice bubble ad from 1940

Like any good mother whose daughter doesn’t want to eat her porridge, I succumbed to the advertising and bought rice bubbles.

The breakfast that entertains

Happier children you have not seen! They all had big bowlfuls, without sugar, and sang the jingle all through breakfast. We grownups still had our porridge though, and I saved a bowl for Mr Ten to have after school, as it stops him raiding the pantry and fridge (not that there is much to raid at present). The rest I added to my bread mix, which made the usual loaf.The bread was too warm to cut thinly, so we had tickly sliced open sandwiches with cucumber soaked in a little sugar and vinegar.

Cucumber sandwiches and fruit for lunch

While the oven was on I decided to make biscuits, with almost the last of the butter. What more fitting for this week than Anzacs?

the Miniistry of Food's recipe for  Anzac Biscuits

the Miniistry of Food’s recipe for Anzac Biscuits

This is the strangest Anzac biscuit recipie I have ever made – they really need more syrup, as they are crumbly and didn’t spread out in the oven.

I had three red peppers in the fridge that needed using, so I made peppers stuffed with rice and bacon for dinner. We have only used five rashers of our bacon so far, which is a third of our allowance for the week, so I used another five, and one Ionian and some herbs.  I also placed a slice of cheese on top, as we have used less than half our cheese allowance so far. 

Rice stffed red peppers, more popular than Woolton Oie!


As dinner was flour free, I thought we’d have “pudding.” The girls decided they would make it, instead of doing the dishes. They decided on a self saucing chocolate pudding, but Miss Ten got a little confused and mixed the sauce in. She also put cocoa and sugar in the cream be use it was past its use by and “tasted funny.” I explained there were no such things as use by dates during g the war, and many people didn’t have fridges – lots of things, including meat, would have tasted funny.

To be honest they used a modern recipe from, but it did use almost wartime amounts, such as 1/2 cup sugar. Our butter ration is finished so they used oil, which we have been using instead of our margarine ration.  It was delicious.

Chocolate self saucing pudding

Chocolate self saucing pudding

I read today that our local mayor is in trouble as she delayed the (now one instead of the original two) minute silence at the Remembrance Day service while she gave a speech – by 26 minutes! It’s made the national news now..what do you think of her actions? I’m giving a whole week to rememberkng them, so I am a little cross!

Living on Wartime Rations – day 5 & Remberance Day

smiling diggers on the kokada trail

How I like to remember our diggers – together sharing a yarn and a cuppa

The Australian Women’s Weekly is my main source of information about the way women lived during WWII. Sometimes there is propaganda, sometimes paid adverts, often interesting home decor, recipes and fashion ideas and then there are the letters of readers and advice columns. Sometimes there is just a small snippet of interest that catches my eye – something I have never heard of before, or something that makes me think in a differnt way.  The following are such articles, in reference to today, 11 November –

From August 1937 


The origin of the two minute silence on remembrance day

The origin of the two minute silence

Of course now it’s only one minute silence because two minutes was too long for us to stay quiet. I have always been confused about the difference between Armistice Day and Remembrance Day – no longer!

 peace or armistice after WWII? 

So today is our fifth day on wartime rations, and I think the kids are really getting into the swing of things. Miss Ten asked if she could have ‘national loaf’ for breakfast with milk again (while the rest of us had porridge, soaked overnight first this time which makes it cook quicker and go further).

The kids have even started calling the bread “Hitlers secret weapon,” which they think is hilarious. They also know the five favourite most used wartime ingredients – cabbage, wholemeal flour, oats, carrots and potatoes!

Ministry of food guidelines on cooking potatoes

Ministry of food guidelines on cooking potatoes

 I actually love potatoes, as they are so versitile. And you can grow them, which makes them easier To obtain than rice or pasta for most people in the UK and Australia.

If you can't grow them buy dirty potatoes and scrub them yourself- its cheaper and they don' t have wax on them

If you can’t grow them buy dirty potatoes and scrub them yourself- its cheaper and they don’ t have wax on them

Today’s lunch was prepared last night while dinner was cooking – baked potatoes. Scooped out and mixed with fried bacon (out first this week, and it smelt SO good) and some shredded cabbage, it’s in sandwhiches for the kids and back into the potato skins for us.

The bread didn’t rise much this time but saves me cutting sandwiches in half


Bacon and cabbage stuffed potatoes, with a precious slice of cheese

Bacon and cabbage stuffed potatoes, with a precious slice of cheese

Dinner tonight was one of the most famous war time dishes ever – Woolton Pie.  There are many recipies around, but this one from Wikipedia is great, you just use what you have.

“The recipe involved dicing and cooking potatoes (or parsnips), cauliflower, swede, carrots and, possibly, turnip. Rolled oats and chopped spring onions were added to the thickened vegetable water which was poured over the vegetables themselves. The dish was topped with potato pastry and grated cheese and served with vegetable gravy. The recipe could be adapted to reflect the availability and seasonality of ingredients.”

I used one onion, 2 stalks celery, 1/4 cabbage, 1/4 cauliflower, 3 carrots and 1/2 capsicum, and I added 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup red lentils, 1 tbsn Vegemite, some chopped sage and three cups of water for the filling.

My Woolton Pie ready for the oven

My Woolton Pie ready for the oven

The pastry top is left over mash, about 1 cup, 1 cup wholemeal flour, 1/2 cup dripping, sprinkled with about 1/2 cup grated cheese. 
Golden brown Woolton pie just out of the oven,  after about 1 hour

Golden brown Woolton pie just out of the oven, after about 1 hour

A serve of Woolton Pie and cucumber salad

A serve of Woolton Pie and cucumber salad

 Here are some more carrot ideas, from July 1944 – 
We also had a slice of bread and cheese, no butter, for supper.

So let’s remember. Let’s remember them, what they did, was they sacrificed, and what they had to eat!  

Living with Wartime Rations – Day 4, Ministry of Food Guidelines & a cake 

During WWII that old saying ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ was adhered to, at least according to the Ministry of Food leaflets ( and if you were a rich pauper).

breakfast guidelines from the Ministry of Food

 What we call lunch was dinner in wartime Britain- the main meat meal, eaten at 1pm. The Ministry of Food leaflets gave not only menu ideas and recipes, but guidelines on how to have your meal ready by 1pm.


    Ministry of War Menu Plan and Method with timing

Ministry of War Menu Plan and Method with timing

 Dinners (lunches) and suppers (evening meal) both included ‘fillers’ at the end, usually either more bread or a ‘pudding.’

 I don’t know how a woman would have time to make it all, and then wash up afterwards, let alone eat all that food! Breakfast for us is usually toast OR cereal, not both. Our children don’t get lunch provided at school, and just take a sandwich, or sometimes a thermos of soup. They tend to have another meal after school for afternoon tea – another sandwich or beans on toast, a glass of milk or cup of milky tea and some fruit. So I suppose this would count this as their high tea, and the evening meal would be their supper. It all actually sounds like a lot of food to me, but they are all meals you sit down to – there is no grazing. You actually realise you are eating a meal, and if you are full, then you don’t need the ‘filler’ at the end.  This must be so much healthier!

Anyway, today we had the usual porridge for breakfast, with 1 teaspoon of sugar each. The kids get a cup of milk at breakfast and can use part of it on their porridge. Fussy Miss Ten had a bowl of yoghurt (she did vomit last night so I was kind).

For lunch at home we had the leftover scotch broth, blended, left over roo stew, and a salad. 

left overs and salad for lunch for two

We were out of bread, so I made the kids potato patties from the leftover roast potatoes from a couple of nights ago. I used a Ministry of Food recipe, but did add one egg, as I wanted them to stick together in their lunch boxes.  

fromthe Ministry of Food Leaflet on potatoes, this made 6 patties

Irish potato cakes make from left over roast potato

Irish potato cakes make from left over roast potato


I made two loaves of ‘national loaf’ today, with 85% wholemeal flour and the juice of one orange for sweetness and to help rising. Seeing the oven was on, I thought I’d try my hand at a cake. Which recipe to use? This one from the Ministry of Food?  

Or the exciting eggless, milk less and butter less recipie from the Weekly? 

the eggless, milkless,  butterless cake with lots of sugar

the eggless, milkless, butterless cake with lots of sugar

As two cups of sugar was all of our rations, I went with the Ministry of Food recipe. Quite yummy! 

ingredients for a plain wartime cake

ingredients for a plain wartime cake


Afternoon tea for the kids, homemade wartime cake, milk and fruit

I tried hard to find a wartime recipe for mince and cabbage, ingredients I know were used at the time, and that I also use on a weekly basis in an Asian flavoured dish. I found a great recipe, from the Ministry of Food leaflet ‘Making the most of meat’, for ‘Mince in the hole,’ which uses mince but no cabbage, but would go well with coleslaw, or cabbage soup.
Mince  in the hole recipe from the Ministry of food

Mince in the hole recipe from the Ministry of food

This recipe is for four people, which means one ounce, or 28 grams, of meat per person! I also found an article with some of the most bizarre wartime recipies I have come across. The mincemeat spaghetti cassolettes just looked like too much work – spiral the spaghetti, really? The savoury cabbage mould looked promising, but I’m all out of pigs cheek, same with rabbit, and I don’t have oysters for the cauliflower oyster flan or kidneys for the Spaghetti Supberb. Drat!

In the spirit of wartime cooking, I made the mince in the hole and coleslaw, rather than my usual easy stir fry. For five of us, I doubled the batter recipe, and actually used nearly 500gm of minced lamb, nearly 100gm each (less than half of Australia’s average daily amount), intending to leave three serves for the children’s lunches the next day. The batter is very runny but was firm after cooking for about 45 minutes.

Not bad and quite filling – The kids loved it and we actually ate the whole thing! But no pudding.

 Living with wartime rations – Day 3 and eating meat

 Living with wartime rations – Day 3 and eating meat

Monday…my least favourite day of the week. Miss Ten has band practice and needs to be at school by 8am, which is forty five minutes earlier than usual and sends us all into a spin. I managed to get up just in time to put on a pot of oats for breakfast (1 cup rolled oats and 3 cups water).  I usually soak the oats the night before, but hubby cleaned the kitchen as he was so impressed by last nights dinner, that I forgot. Miss ten of course hates porridge, and will usually eat weetbix, but as we were out I made her an old wartime standby – bread and milk. Both had one teaspoon on raw sugar on top, and Miss Ten really enjoyed her breakfast!

Porridge and bread with milk, great wartime breakfasts

I made the children leftover lamb sandwiches with sliced tomato and shredded beet root tops (the ducks ate the lettuce, which is a wartime no no, but they are transitioning for their old home still). They also got a carrot, an apple and a small blueberry cake ( from the freezer, as I haven’t baked this week).

We work from home, so usually eat lunch at home.  Today I made Scotch broth from the rest of the left over lamb (about a cup), the lamb bone, a cup of soup mix (barley and split peas) and a cup of vegie trimmings that I keep in the fridge and add to during the week – waste not want not!

Ministry of Food recipies for vegetable soups

I served it with some bread and dripping from last nights lamb, saving the butter ration, which is quite tasty but a different idea to get used to. It’s also surprisingly firm, and can sit on the kitchen bench without melting, unlike butter. My husband says its like eating a heart attack.


Scotch broth and bread & dripping for lunch

For afternoon tea, knowing the children would be starvingafter school, I made wholemeal pikelets, with a recipe from 1941 (19 July Australian Women’s Weekly). I doubled the recipe, except for the sugar and added a teaspoon of cinnamon.


pikelets served with 1 tbsn of maple syrup – seriously popular!

For dinner we had chicken livers with pasta (macaroni was eaten by wartime Australians and offal was not rationed). Well, when I say we, the kids refused to eat chicken livers, so had the rest of the scotch broth instead. I used the ‘Liver in Sauce Mexicana’ recipie from 1945, below, but used chicken livers instead of calves liver, as that’s all I could buy. 

Tips for ratiioning from 1945

Tips for ratiioning from 1945


Chicken Livers ala Mexicana with a green salad

My husband loves meat, and would eat it for every meal if possible, as I imagine would many men of the 1930s and 40s. I’m not so fussed – I was vegetarian for eight years and vegan for half of those. I only started eating meet when my first child was two and started demanding sausages at bar b ques (despite being told where that meat came from). 

In 1939 Australians still ate more meat than anyone else, according to an article in ‘The Longreach Leader’February 1939, beating even the Americans, with an average 226lbs a year ( or 102.5kg, an amount which did not include wild foods like rabbit and kangaroo).


Meat eating facts from the Longreach Leader, February 1939

Meat eating facts from the Longreach Leader, February 1939

According to the Business Insider Australia, in 2015″ Australia tops the list again, with each resident consuming on average nearly 100kg of meat a year — or around 250g a day.” So we are actually eating less meat than we did in 1939, prewar.

Unfortunately a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that many Australians are now consuming too much food that is high in fat and sugar and not enough vegetables or wholegrain cereals. Apparently Australians exceed the world average consumption of not only meat, but alcohol, sweeteners, milk and animal fats, while consumption of vegetables and cereal is below the world average – 90% of people aged 16 years and over are failing to eat the recommended five serves of vegetables each day.


the 14th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

the 14th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

There is a simple solution. Rationing! We are now eating less than 200gm of meat and animal fat a day, at least five serves of veg, 1/2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar/sweetners, at least five serves of whole grain cereals, 2 pieces of fruit or equivalent home made juice, lots of water, less tea and coffee, one or two eggs a day for all of us, less to no alcohol and 1 (adults) to 3 (kids) cups of milk. We don’t snack between meals (the kids are allowed fruit from the bowl), we even sit down for afternoon tea, and we don’t go out or get takeaways (we don’t do that often anyway).

If we lived closer to shops, rather than just the local conveniance store, I would try and be more like a wartime housewife and walk to the shops each day. Instead I have tried to get to the supermarket every second day after driving the kids to school (it’s 10km away) and buying fresh, using what I have grown in the garden or bartered with neighbours, and walking the dog morning and afternoon. I am cooking from scratch, which takes some time, but I don’t have to stand queuing for hours, which gives me time to actually go to work and have some time for blogging!

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