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Tag Archives: 1940s

A post war Christmas 

Yes it’s been a long time between posts…that’s what opening a vintage shop can do. Now that I’m open six days a week time to blog is rare! I thought, however, that I’d take ten minutes to share a few articles and ads from the December 1946 issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly, about the first real Christmas after the end of the war…..Merry Christmas everyone đź’‹Deb

Magazine cover vintage Christmas 1946  Vintage Christmas gift cycles 1940s ad
Christmas Day lunch menu 1940sChristmas after WWII in England
1940s post war Christmas Vintage Christmas after the war
Vintage 1940s post war Christmas fashionVi gage war bride advertising 1940s

A cycle in time

I have mentioned in another post that my grandfather was in the Dutch Army Bicycle Corp during WWII. Today I finally dug out the photos that my grandmother left me some years ago and found the photos he had kept of those days.

Weren’t they so handsome?! My grandfather is the one standing with his arms stretched out and no hat!


You may also like a post on my other blog about Victorian Military Bicycle Uniforms

Debđź’‹

Pennsylvania 65000, The Menu, and Postum

Today while googling doing serious research I came across the The New York City Library website.  The Library has collected more than 40,000 restaurant menus dating from 1851 and have digitized them. They are now available on the library’s website for all to enjoy, including this 1942 menus from the Pennsylvania Railroad –

vintage 1940s menu 

Note the mention of rationing under beverages, and also the term “Postum.” I had to look it up On Wikipedia –

Postum is a powdered roasted-grain beverage once popular as a coffee substitute. The caffeine-free beverage was created by Postum Cereal Company founder C. W. Post in 1895 and marketed as a healthful alternative to coffee.

The “instant” drink mix version was developed in 1912, replacing the original brewed beverage.[2] Postum is made from roasted wheat bran, wheat and molasses. This 10‑calorie beverage is caffeine-free, fat-free, trans-fat-free, sodium-free, and kosher.

Although the Postum Cereal Company explicitly stated in its advertising that Postum did not taste like coffee and was not a coffee substitute, the drink enjoyed an enormous rise in sales and popularity in the US during World War II when coffee was rationed and people sought a replacement.

Aha!

There are more wartime menus on the website, but I picked this one as it reminded me of that great 1940 swing song “Pennsylvania 6-5000” recorded by Glen Miller and also the Andrew Sisters (which you can listen to here). 

  

Sewing Bees in Wartime

We hear a lot about ‘Make do and Mend’ during Wartime, especially when clothing rationing was in effect,  but maybe you haven’t heard about sewing bees. Quilting Bees were popular in America in the early 1800’s, as a way for women to meet others and tackle large quilts that would be cumbersome by themselves. They provided socialization, friendship, wisdom and sharing of supplies and tools,  and basically involved a group of women getting together and sewing.

The first mention I have found of a wartime Sewing Bee is in this article from December 1939 –

dec39

30 December 1939 Australian Woman’s Weekly

Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia.

bee27april1940

27 April 1940  Australian Woman’s Weekly

Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was probably the one who began to make Sewing Bees popular in England and Australia during the War, forming a Red Cross Sewing Bee for the women of the royal household at the palace each week from as early as November 1939.

queenbee

15 June 1940 Australian Women’s Weekly

You can also watch a little video her Great Sewing Bee of 1939 here.

This article from the American Woman’s Weekly in March 1942 is a little different, as rationing is not really mentioned, and the ladies are sewing more for themselves than the troops, but it is interesting to ‘see’ these ladies in action at their sewing bee.

sew1.1

sew2

sew3

Sewing Bees are obviously meant to be a cooperative event. There is a recent British TV show called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which is a reality TV contest type show, which to me loses the point of sewing bees, but you can watch it here.

Have you joined a Sewing Bee or thought of doing so? Tips for joining an online sewing bee can be found here.

Wartime Swimsuits

It’s the first week of Summer here in Australia, and my thoughts have turned to swimsuits. We have a few beaches nearby (which occasionally have crocodiles, sharks and stingers) and a pool (which is currently getting renovated) so we swim every day over Summer.  Usually we even put on swimsuits, although the odd skinny dip is not unknown!  

What style swimsuits would we have been wearing during the war? Let’s have a little look –

1939 jantzen swimsuit ad 1939  

at the beach 1939 

1940

   
 1941

  
 

1942 – clothes ratioing kicks in in Australia, and ads for swimwear are almost non existent.  Elastic used in commercial swimwear would have used rubber, which was needed for the war effort. To keep itself in the public  mind Jantzen cleverly told women how to care for their swimsuits so they would last longer.

 vintage 1940s swimsuit ad 
   
1943 – 

 vintage 1940s swimsuit  bikini 
1944

 vintage 1940s swimsuit  
1945

 

Saturday Night at the Movies with Carole Lombard 

My eldest son came home from university in Melbourne yesterday, which was exciting, as it’s been nearly a year since he left for the big smoke with his (now ex) girlfriend. Not quite as exciting as playing with kangaroos on the beach ( which you can see on my Instagram feed), but pretty cool.

Our exciting Saturday night tradition is pizza and a movie. Homemade pizza of course, which my husband usually makes, and a family movie, that I get to pick. The pizza was good, although made with white flour (no doubt in retaliation for a week of national loaf) which I regretted afterwards. The movie had no ill effects, and starred two of my favourite 30s actors, Carole Lombard and James Stewart. 

 

A last tribute to carol lombard, 1942

Newly weds Jane (Lombard) and John (Stewart)

 
“Made for each other” is set in 1938 and 1939, in prewar New York, a city then of around 7 1/2 million. The newly married couple live with his mother, and apparently neither women can cook or clean and need a maid to help them, which to me is the best part of the story! Worth a watch, it does get a little teary at one point, but gives great insight to how confident much of the world was before the war. You can find it on YouTube here.

I think Lombard was the definitive actresses of the screwball comedy genre, and she ranks among the American Film Institute’s greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema. 

CRol Lombard makes a comeback to comedy, 1940

CRol Lombard makes a comeback to comedy, 1940

 

 Apparently, she was also nice.

Why Carole Lombard is liked, 1938

Why Carole Lombard is liked, 1938

 
In 1939 she married Clark Gable, a second marriage for her and a third for him. Who knows if it would have lasted. In a ‘Sliding doors” type story, after surviving a car crash so severe it required she undergo plastic surgery, Lombard died in an aircraft crash in Nevada, while returning from a War Bond tour with her mother, on 16 January 1942. She was 33.

A last tribute to carol lombard, 1942

A last tribute to carol lombard, 1942

  
31 January 1942, We shall never forget Carol Lombard

31 January 1942, We shall never forget Carol Lombard

 
Her other wonderful movies include My Man Godfrey (1936) and Mr and Mrs Smith (1941). Enjoy!

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 Taste.com, 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 2

Being a Sunday I decided to make something different for breakfast.  I found an easy recipe from 1943 – savoury breakfast patties.

recipes from 1943

recipes from 1943

The lemon tart recipe looks interesting too, I might try that one day.

 

ingredients for savoury breakfast patties, mixed batter & grated onion & cheese

  

breakfast patties served with a spoon of yoghurt, spring onions & a side of shredded lettuce

 

The patties were excellent – my husband loved them so much he said he would make them next time, as he saw how easy they were. The recipe served four (one daughter was away), and it used one weeks ration of egg and cheese for one person. Yoghurt was available in the early 40s, and could be delivered in 1/2 pint bottles. Some cookbooks books advised making your own yoghurt from the bought stuff, using part of the powdered milk ration.  As to the lettuce with breakfast, food ministry leaflets remind us that –


For lunch we had beetroot sandwiches. I did think about using grated beetroot but I had a can in the cupboard and used that instead. They were “interesting” according to Ms 14 and “yuck” from Master 10, but we grownups enjoyed them. We drank iced tea, made from yesterday’s leftover tea and the juice of one orange – refreshing and not too sweet.

  
For dinner I bought a shoulder of lamb on special (still $20, but hopefully it will be enough for sandwiches on Monday) and decided to slow roast it, as per the following wartime leaflet advice.

  

I sliced the fat on top in a criss cross pattern, like for Christmas ham, sprinkled on salt, pepper, dried oregano (I’m out of Rosemary, which I love), and a bit of red wine vinegar, covered it in foil and baked at 150 degrees Celsius, fan forced, for four hours. We ended up with just over three cups of dripping, and I used a little of that to roast the potatoes in.

 

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb just  about to be carved

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb just about to be carved

 
It did shrink a bit, as you can see the bones sticking out.  The potatoes were in for about an hour with the lamb getting warm (instead or parboiling) then I took the lamb out at 6pm and turned the oven up to 190 for half and hour and browned the Spuds. We just had some steamed broccoli, carrot and cabbage with it, and horseradish cream rather than sauce or gravy.

 

slow roasted shoulder of lamb and veg, wartime food

Looks boring but tasted fantastic!

 
The verdict? Lamb is our new favourite! Tender, moist and delicious., and super easy. The small shoulder fed six of us, with enough left over for the kids sandwiches for school tomorrow, and a pot of soup.

Passed the evening watching the fabulous ‘1940s House’ documentary/ reality show, which you can find Here.

Living on Wartime Rations – Day 1 & The National Loaf

    Yesterday was Saturday, the first day of our week of living on wartime rations. Given that the children are meant to be having around 7 slices of bread a day, we had toast for breakfast, from day old bread, with a little butter and plum jam that I made last Summer.  The children had one glass of milk each and hubby and I had a coffee with a spoon of cream.

    Day old national loaf, homemade plum jam and almost a weeks worth of butter for five

      

    Toasted national loaf, a smidge of butter and jam and coffee with 1 tbsn cream

     

    bean and grated carrot sandwiches – I love my ‘new’ vintage op shop cloth ($1)!

     
    We ate sandwiches
    with homemade bean paste and grated carrot for lunch with a glass or two of water each, followed by a small locally grown mango each.
    I usually bake a loaf of bread every second day – grain and wholemeal – so the kids are used to it for their school lunches. It won’t be a shock like it was to millions of white bread eating Britons when the mainly wholemeal National Loaf, was introduced. Bakers were banned from making any other type of bread except the national loaf, made with national flour, and many people hated it.  But being high in vitamin B, wholemeal flour was nessessary for people eating smaller amounts of meat and eggs.
     
    why eat wholemeal bread

    from The Australian Women’s Weely, November 1944

     
    Recipe: The National Loaf (makes 2 loaves)

    • 1 ½ lb national flour (wholemeal with 15% white or potato flour)
    • 1 ½ tbsp salt (this is a LOT but it helped to preserve it)
    • 1 ½ tbsp dried yeast
    • 1 dsp honey or treacle
    • 450 ml tepid water With 1/2 vitamin c tablet dissolved

    1) Mix together all the ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes until you have a soft dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave until dough has doubled in size (around 2 hours).

    2) Knock back the dough, give a short knead then cut into two equal pieces. Place in 1.5 litre loaf tins, allow to rise for a further 2 hours.

    2) pre-heat oven to 200°c then bake loaves for 30 min. To test the loaves turn them out of their tins and give the base a tap. if it sounds hollow they are ready. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

    (I often use the juice of half an orange in my mix instead of the vitamin C tablet, it helps the bread to rise and means less kneading, and provides the sweetness for the yeast instead of the honey. My mix is usually two cups wholemeal, one cup grains, 1/2 cup rye and 1/2 cup white and just a pich of salt which makes 1 loaf. I find a tablespoon of oils helps the bread keep and makes it softer. Sometimes I leave out the grains and do a different shape, like ciabatta, or rolls, just to mix it up a bit!)

     

    the wholemeal grain loaf, this one didn’t rise very much!

     
    We had an exciting afternoon tea – left over bread with jam, no butter, for the kids, who also had milk in their tea, and just black tea for us grownups. I have just been rewatching the first episode of ‘the 1940s house’ and have been inspired watching the ladies go without so the kids can have more! I am pretty sure my son sneaked a mandarin as well.

     

    the world’s most exciting afternoon tea

     
    Dinner was a stew – kangaroo. We don’t have rabbits here in Queensland, but kangaroos are plentiful, and although it has only recently hit our supermarket shelves, country people have been eating ‘roo’ for decades. My stew recipie is based on the brown stew guidelines below, from my new goto book (which you can find as an ebook on Amazon).

     

    my new go to book, Eating for Victory

     
     

    tips for good wartime stews

     
     I used 500gm kangaroo for the meat and added one clove of garlic and some dried oregano for flavour. The tomatoes were a gift from a neighbour and the veggies were scrubbed instead of peeled for less waste and more vitamins.

     

    Kangaroo stew ingredients, including 1 clove of garlic. Note the flour, I had just kneaded the bread and didn’t want to waste it!

     
      
    Being Saturday I did have one cocktail, but the rest of the night was water. We had a square of dark chocolate each and an after dinner coffee for the grownups.

    Not a bad first day, and I also op shopped, gardened, put up a new fence for the ducks and did laundry. And finally found my elusive tape measure and measured vintage tablecloths for the Etsy store. Yeh me!

    Identifying Japanese Planes During WWII

    I am so grumpy with Blogger at present, and am again in WWII mode, that I have decided to resurrect this blog – I hope you’ll stay with me!

    Being an avid watcher of shows about WWII, I am always interested to see that many people could identify an enemy plane by its silhouette, paint color and markings, and even sound.  I suppose that after seeing enough of them, you would, but what about the first time – how did they recognise them?

    They had help of course – propaganda posters and ads, and even articles in magazines, like this one from February 1942 in the Australian Women’s Weekly.

    Image

    Image

    Of course the red dots, or rising suns, help a lot. I can just imagine little boys all over Australia and the US making models and painting them – and then probably pretending to shoot them down.

    I have a kit for the boy somewhere, might have to dig it out!

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