The kids and I have been watching a great series called ‘Turn Back Time: The Family,’ and in particular the ‘Second World War’ episode. The kids were amazed by some of the things the family’s had to go through, and my daughter in particular was interested in ‘Dr Carrot,’ one of the great propaganda machines of the war.
Carrots and potatoes were plentiful during the rationing of the 40s and people were encouraged to eat lots of them. In this photo three young children make do with carrots on sticks, a healthier alternative to ice cream which was unavailable during the war.
Carrots went from being primary an animal feed to being used in a variety of human dishes – marmalade and jam, breads, cake, pies, toffee and juice or ‘Carrolade’, made up from the juices of carrots and Swede grated and squeezed through a piece of muslin. sounds delicious!
Lord Woolton was Britain’ s Minister of Food from April 1940s and was in charge of the campaign to encourage people to eat more vegetables. The Savoy Hotel created a special vegetable dish to aid this campain, and called it ‘ Woolton Pie’ in the minister’s honor.This is the Official Woolton Pie Recipe as reported in ‘The Times’ on 26 April 1941.
Many people had their own interpretation of this recipe, but they always used carrots! Basically it is mixed vegetables, a sauce and a topping , which could be pastry or potatoes mashed or sliced. My version used the ends of bok choi, broccoli and kale, as well as carrot and potato, and mashed potato topping. For a richer meal you can make a white sauce to pour over the vegies before putting on the topping ( use a spoon spoon of butter and melt in pan, add two spoons of flour and whisk, slowly add in about a cup of milk and keep stirring). If you have any ends of cheese left over (from your rations!) you can grate this on top too.
My kids actually loved this meal, and even had seconds!
Australian’s were also encouraged to eat carrots, as in this article from the Australian’s Women’s Weekly, July 1944.
As for potato peeling, make sure potatoes are scrubbed first, and then cook your peels in a hot oven for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with salt and herbs like rosemary. Yummy!
For more information on Dr Carrot you can visit the Carrot Museum. Yes, there is one!