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Carrot History - Carrots in World War Two

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Chapters in the history rooms:
 
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 History Part 1 - A Brief Timeline

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 History Part 2 - Neolithic to AD 200 - Origins and development

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 History Part 3 - AD 200 to 1500 - From Medicine to Food

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 History Part 4 - 1500 to 1700 - Evolution and Improvement in the Renaissance

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 History Part 5 - 1700 to date - Science & Enlightenment - the modern carrot evolves

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 History of Carrot Colour - Explores, in some detail the theories of the road to domestication and the origin of Orange Carrots

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 History in WW2 - Takes an in depth look of the role of carrots in World War Two, reviving its popularity

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 Illustrations of Carrot in Ancient Manuscripts and Early Printed Books


During the 6 years of World War Two the Ministry of food did its best to drum up enthusiasm for carrots as a substitute for rationed goods . Doctor Carrot, carrying a bag marked " Vit A" was featured on pages of recipe books and extensive advertising campaigns in the press, radio and in the cinema. 

Carrots were truly one of the foods that helped win the war. People experienced culinary delights such as curried carrot, carrot jam, carrot puddings and a homemade drink called Carrolade. Most of these "delicacies" were nothing new and items such as cakes, puddings and jam had been enjoyed throughout Europe since the Middle Ages.

Keeping a nation fed on wartime rations took remarkable ingenuity and a very strong stomach.

Carrots also played their part in winning the air battle. Famously, the Government responded to a temporary wartime oversupply of carrots by suggesting, through propaganda, that the RAF's exceptional night-flying and target success, was due to eating high carotene content carrots. The ruse worked: consumption of carrots increased sharply because people thought carrots might help them see better in the blackout, thus taking the pressure off other food supplies. (this story starts here)

World war Two revived the popularity of the carrot and gave it a rightful place in the kitchen elevated to a new high as a major food and nutritional source.

"This is a food war. Every extra row of vegetables in allotments saves shipping the battle on the kitchen front cannot be won without help from the kitchen garden.

Isn't an hour in the garden better than an hour in the queue?" (Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, 1941)
 

"There used to be a joke about only donkeys eating carrots. Now it seems we shall all be  donkeys if we don't." Kitchen Front broadcast 7 January 1941

Take a look at the short film "Easter on the Home front 1941" - where British Pathé took it upon themselves to suggest war-time holiday alternatives to the British public. check out the carrot lollies HERE


During the Second World War (1939-45)  Food, and in particular the lack of it, was central to the experience of the Second World War. Carrots were one vegetable which was in plentiful supply and as a result were widely-utilised as a substitute for scarce foodFront of Kitchen Front Recipe Book WW2stuffs and used in several "mock" recipes. It was also a major ingredient of the Campaign called Dig for Victory, which was extensively publicised with songs and posters featuring Dr Carrot and Potato Pete. It was run for most of the war by Professor John Raeburn, a respected agricultural economist, who joined the Ministry of Food in 1939 as a statistician and two years later was appointed to lead the Agricultural Plans Branch. See the US Dig for Victory posters here.

Before the war Britain imported 70% of its food; this required 20 million tons of shipping a year. 50% of meat was imported, 70% of cheese and sugar, 80% of fruits, 70% of cereals and fats, 91% of butter. Knowing this would lead the Axis powers into hoping to starve the British population into submission, by cutting off those food supply lines.

By 1941 the German blockade of food supply ships created food shortages had made things very difficult and the phrase "The Kitchen Front" came into use. It encouraged housewives to feel they were contributing to the war effort by cooking wisely and not wasting food. The British population emerged healthier than it had ever been before, and families had been educated in putting nutritional, frugal meals on their tables. In many ways, it was home economics that would win the war. 

"The Kitchen Front" - DuringListen to the Kitchen Front advert WW2 the Second World War, millions of people listened to an early morning five-minute BBC radio programme. With the assistance of domestic science teachers, dieticians, school-meal-organisers and hospital caterers, the Public Relations Division of the Ministry of Food gave the public lasting guidance about new food sources and creative recipes for items which were not rationed. It also gave advice to people about the healthiest way to feed themselves and to make the best use of their rations.

"From the Kitchen Front" was broadcast on BBC Radio Home Service (now radio 4) every morning for 5 minutes, and a few of these radio broadcast scripts relating carrot items have been transcribed from the archives -
Transcripts of radio broadcasts on carrots here (pdfs)     Gert and Daisy broadcast here (Youtube).

On 7 September 1940 the Kitchen Front offered this advice on cooking carrots:

“I have told you about the Aunt of mine who is the mother of all culinary secrets – well she listened to my talk to you on the value of simmering in which I mentioned carrots. She immediately said – you didn’t tell them that there is only one way of cooking carrots. Cut them up, the older they are the finer you cut them, and put them on to simmer in a pot with a little margarine or good dripping., a little sugar and salt and no water at all. Simmer them with the lid tight on for an hour and half. You should never really ever cook them any other way!”
29 September 1941 advice from the Kitchen Front - To make a jam filling, in cakes or sandwiches, go further I am advising people to mix with the jam an equal quantity of carrots cooked and mashed – or better still raw and grated. There’s plenty of sugar in carrots.  For a new flavour try adding a little cocoa sometimes
 

(above) Examples of Original WW2 Posters


While much of the credit for the campaign went to Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food from 1940 to 1943,  Mr Raeburn ran it until the end of the war and was responsible for its continuing success. At one point there was a glut of carrots, and the Government let it be known that carotene, which can actually to help night vision, was largely responsible for the RAF's increasing success in shooting down enemy bombers.

The Ministry issued many cooking leaflets, often dedicated to specific topics such as the magic of carrots. The language used was practical, and realistic for the time -- in listing ingredients for suggested recipes, the government leaflets would often say beside an ingredient such as butter: "if possible." Cooking demonstrations by women such as Marguerite Patten were held in many stores, including Harrods. Educational short movies on cooking were made for showing at cinemas; BBC Radio ran a morning radio programme called "Kitchen Front", broadcast from studios in Oxford Street, London.

They even came up with a recipe using carrot tops (the leaves) - Carrot Top and Potato soup. See extract here.

Carrots were a relatively cheap foodstuff and not rationed. There was a free market for carrots until the end of October 1941.  After that time the Government took over the sole purchase of "all sound marketable carrots fit for human consumption, grown on holdings of one acre and above". The price was fixed, nationwide, excluding the cost of bags. (source Ministry of Agriculture archives, March, 1941 - National Archives UK).

In 1941 they cost an average of 2 (old) pence a pound, retail. The selling prices was however were strictly controlled by government orders. For example in 1942 the Ministry issued the "Emergency Powers Defence (Food) Carrots Order" which dictated that retailers or any description had to display the maximum selling price at all times - maximum price was then 3 1/2 pence per pound. (2 pence a pound by 1943) The maximum price a grower could sell to a retailer was 9 shilling and 3 pence per hundredweight (plus delivery charge). - extract here:

Retailers were also required, by law, to maintain accurate records of where they had purchased any carrots from  the weight and at what price. There were also strict controls over the weighing of carrots to ensure "no extraneous matter" was included in the weight i.e. soil or green material. source: Ministry of Food archives, 1941, National Archives UK)


"Carrots Help you See in the Dark" was a popular saying at the time and people eagerly tucked in to carrots, believing this would help them to see more clearly in the blackout. This ruse not only helped reduce the surplus vegetables but also helped to mask the chief reason for the RAF's success in night time air battles - the increasing power of radar and the secret introduction of an airborne version of the system. It is true that carrots can help keep your eyes healthy and if you are otherwise deficient in Vitamin A, will help you see better in the dark. So, if you don't get enough carotene or Vitamin A in your diet, eventually you will suffer problems in your vision. This was the basis of the "myth" started by the Royal Air Force. Carrots cannot improve your eyesight, just take a look at the picture  -  even “Dr. Carrot” is wearing glasses. read more about night vision here.

The Ministry of Agriculture promoted carrots heavily as a substitute for other less readily available vegetables, fruit and other commodities. To improve its image of blandness, people were encouraged to enjoy the healthy carrot in different ways by promoting various recipes never tried before, such as curried carrot and carrot jam. They even promoted the use of carrot tops (the leaves) in a recipe called Champ (a meal for six for a shilling) and Carrot Top and Potato Soup.  (These can be found in the  World War Two page here (see the transcript on the carrot Tops page here)  .

This secret reports on the Food Situation in 1941 clearly found that the campaign was working (perhaps too well - see right) -

February 1941 December 1941

 A little more on the surplus here.


The Ministry of Food produced several informative cookery leaflets including one specifically dedicated to carrots  (see official carrot cookery leaflet here) . People were encouraged to enjoy the healthy carrot in different ways by the introduction of Dr Carrot in a series of magazine articles and posters. A transcript of the actual broadcast about Carrots is here (pdf).

Every morning at 8.15 on the Home Service (UK radio 4) there was a Kitchen Front broadcast giving useful tips or using food in different ways, substitute ingredients and recipes.  Dr Carrot protects you

Carrot Competition - Carrots and potatoes featured regularly in the broadcasts, so much so, that on 18 December 1941 they announced a Carrot Competition where the public were to enter to show off their ingenuity and submit ideas,  not only for use as a vegetable but also in jelly, cakes and confectionary. The concept was to give the Ministry of Food's experimental kitchen some new ideas for inclusion in  its leaflets, for free, and to make people feel part of the effort.

The winner was a Mrs Casey from Palmers Green with "Carrot Savoury Pudding."  There was no prize - it was war time! but Mrs Casey did receive the standard BBC Guest broadcast fee as a thank you.  The winner was announced as the headline for the Kitchen Front broadcast made on 24 January 1942 -

 “Carrot Competition Winner Announced”. The Ministry of Food, emerging from behind the mountain of entries they have received for this competition, have just decided that the winning entry came from Mrs Marjorie Casey, 131 Connaught Gardens, Palmers green. The recipe is for “Carrot Savoury Pudding” and was endorsed by everyone judging – and even endorsed by a dismal visitor who has previously stated: “if you mention carrot to me again – I shall scream.”

See the transcript of the interview with Mrs Casey here (pdf)

Here is the simple recipe - make a suet pudding mixture, but before moistening add 2lbs of chopped up carrots. Now cut in small pieces 2 sticks of celery, half an onion or a leek, and half a turnip. And if you have any small left-over pieces of cooked meat, put these in too. Then add a tablespoonful of mixed herbs, and two tablespoons of chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Moisten in the usual way and steam for 2 ½ hours. Then serve with a good brown gravy, mashed potato and green vegetable.

Coincidentally this recipe (shown below)  appeared in a subsequent Ministry leaflet No 4 Carrots,  and is believed to be it based on Mrs Casey's winner.

Carrot Competition Winner WW2


The slogan "Carrots keep you healthy and help you see in the blackout" was used extensively. Advert (below left) from the UK Times, 6 February,1942.

Some war time recipes promoted by the Ministry of Food are also detailed below - click here.

There was even a homemade drink called Carrolade, made up from the juices of carrots and Swede (Rutabaga) grated and squeezed through a piece of muslin, clearly no one thought of just plain carrot juice!.  Modern recipe here.

Other culinary uses included carrot jam,  marmalade and toffee carrots. The humble carrot, previously thought to be only good for animal feed had been elevated to a new high and set in motion started its rightful return to one of the countries favourite vegetables. Read more about jam here

Also during the war many thousands of tons of carrots were dehydrated and shipped overseas in sealed metal containers in an atmosphere of carbon dioxide or nitrogen to prevent loss of carotene.

The Ministry of Food campaign to encourage people to eat more vegetables resulted in the promotion of Woolton Pie, composed entirely of vegetables. Potato, Carrot and Swede (rutabaga) provided the basic ingredients, with onion and cauliflower added when available. Lord Woolton was the Minister of Food from April 1940.

The recipe was the creation of the chef of the Savoy hotel and named after Lord Woolton.  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. 

 


The Official Woolton Pie Recipe as reported in The Times 26 April 1941:

INGREDIENTS Woolton Pie World War Two Dish with carrots

Take 1Ib each of diced potatoes, cauliflower, swedes (rutabaga) and carrots;
Three or Four spring onions;
One teaspoonful of vegetable extract and
One teaspoonful of oatmeal.

METHOD

Cook all together for ten minutes with just enough water to cover.
Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.
Allow to cool; put into a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with a crust of potatoes or wholemeal pastry.
Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely brown and serve hot with brown gravy.


There were of course many variations on this basic recipe, depending on which ingredients were available and accounting for personal taste.

The Kitchen Front Broadcast in 1941 by the Ministry of Food gave this, more detailed version:
(transcribed by the World Carrot Museum from script of actual broadcast)

Kitchen Front - Woolton Pie Recipe The Main Vegetables which The Kitchen Front promoted were given extra status
"1 lb King Edward Potatoes; 2lb Carrots; 1/2 lb mushrooms; 2 spring onions; 1 leek; 2oz margarine/chicken fat; salt/pepper, nutmeg & chopped parsley.

Peel potatoes and carrots and cut into slices the size of a large penny. wash them well and dry on a dish cloth. Fry them separately in a small amount of chicken fat.  Do the same with the mushrooms, adding the sliced onions and leek. Mix them all together, season with salt and pepper, nutmeg and coarsely chopped parsley.

Fill the pie dish with the mixture, placing the bouquet garni in the middle. Moisten with a little giblet stock or water.  Let it cool before covering with  pastry made with half beef suet or chicken fat and half margarine.

Cook for hour and a half in a moderate oven."

 Read more about the famous Woolton Pie - click here.


"Doctor Carrot" arrived in November 1941. The Ministry of Agriculture promoted carrots heavily as a substitute for other more scarce vegetables and meat, anDr Carrot Arrives - The Children's Best Friendd as a sweetener in desserts in the absence of sugar, which was rationed to 8 ounces per adult per week. The Dr. Carrot character carried a bag labelled "Vit A" as the Ministry of Food recognised the value of the carrot in providing high levels of this vital vitamin, via beta-carotene. People were encouraged to "take the doctor's advice" and eat more carrots to be fit for the ensuing winter. It was reported that the shortage of batteries would no longer be a concern as people would "develop cats eyes" and see better in the dark. Carrot were considered to be the most important of vegetables from a health point of view and it was hoped that Dr Carrot would carry out his mission as successfully as Potato Pete did for the potato. (source: Ministry of Food archives, 1941, National Archives UK)

In February 1941 the Minister of Food gave his monthly report on the food situation in the UK and stated "That the consumption of carrots has increased following the Ministry's publicity campaigns.  Supplies are still ample." (source: National Archives, Cabinet papers)

In wartime Britain children would very often use the humble carrot as a substitute for the fruit they could no longer obtain. Similarly the Government also issued a poster with the slogan 'Carrots keep you healthy and help you see in the blackout' to promote the humble carrot.
 

Doctor Carrot

was EVERYWHERE!

Potato Pete had been previously introduced to encourage potato substitution for other commodities. The Ministry of Food were so impressed with the success of Potato Pete that Dr Carrot soon followed. No one knows who actually invented Dr Carrot or who drew the cartoon. Nonetheless he was a tremendous success.

Sweets (candy) were scarce so children had to make do with whatever their inventive mums came up with. As ever the Ministry of Food came to their aid.  This wartime recipe for carrot fudge (below) sounds really weird. Why not print it out and give it a try? You'll need a bit of grown-up help with the cooking. See if your friends can guess what it's made of and let us know how it tastes.  More ingenious uses for the surplus of carrots below.


World War Two Archive Photos (UK)


 

Carrots Lollies Carrot Sign
Cropping carrots in Dig for Victory Garden Adults enjoy lollies too!

An old hand shows the kids how to plant carrots (1941).

The carrot creativity even hit the New Zealand press in 1941


A Surplus of Carrots!Carrot Pudding - (Source: National Archives records, inspected September 2011 &September 2013))

The Ministry of Food encouraged so much extra production that, by January 1942, it was looking for a market for the 100,000 tons of carrots that were surplus to consumers' requirements even at a time when green vegetables were not too plentiful and were expensive in the shops. Such was the success of the domestic agriculture reorganisation, that the crop was 3 times bigger than any in living memory!   There was no regulation of the type of carrots to grow and most stayed with a reliable favourite - Nantes type whilst others preferred James Intermediate, depending on soil conditions.

The surplus tonnage, which was "no more than a provident margin in wartime" was offered to farmers for stock feeding at less than half the price guaranteed to the growers.  Famously, the Government responded to a temporary wartime oversupply of carrots by suggesting that the RAF's exceptional night-flying was due to eating carotene. The ruse worked (and was in certain circumstances true!): consumption of carrots increased sharply because people thought carrots might help them see in the blackout, thus taking the pressure off other food supplies. read more here.

In an attempt to prevent malpractice the carrots sold for stock feeding were sprayed with a violet dye, before delivery (in the same way as the surplus potatoes sold for stock feeding at the end of 1940).  Carrots made good food for dairy cows, horses. fattening bullocks, and pigs, and if there were more carrots in the country than human consumers could take, it was right that they should be used for stock-feeding.

This dye was harmless to animals, and therefore probably ok for humans, and no doubt many found their way into the food chain via the black market economy, which was rife at the time.

So in a bizarre way purple carrots were around in the 40's !

Companies were coming forward all the time with creative ideas to help out the Ministry of Food. Here is an extract from correspondence from the Delma Canning Company in 1943:

The Ministry archive papers also pointed out that the above processes could utilise sub-standard carrots previously "wasted" in their use as animal fodder.  The "treacle" referred to was apparently well liked by children as it was so sweet. It was estimated that one ton of carrots produced 1 hundredweight of treacle and that the company promoting its production claimed that it "was a better use than mere cattle fodder".

There was considerable debate in the Ministry of Food about the true motives of the company promoting the production of treacle as this extract from a Ministry Committee from December 1943 shows

The firm claimed to be able to extract 150 grammes (about 6 ozs.) of Vitamin A from every ton of carrots, this being about fifteen times the highest quantity which people with the best scientific equipment have been able to obtain. I should, therefore, require considerable evidence before was prepared to accept this claim at its race value. So far from being given any evidence, the staff were particularly secretive and refused to give any information at all.

 

I gather that this firm has processed surplus carrots in the past and obtained carrot treacle, which has been sold as artificial honey probably at a high price, and also pectin, probably sold to jam manufacturers. You will see that the firm has, therefore, done considerable business in products to be obtained from carrots. Since the suggested vitamin process would only take 6 ozs. out of each ton of carrots, one naturally wonders what is to become of the remaining 19 cwts. 111 lbs. 10 ozs.

 

The answer is obvious - that it will be used to manufacture carrot treacle and pectin, which will be sold by this firm as it has been before. I am very suspicious of the firm's claim to be able to manufacture Vitamin A, and even if their claim were substantiated I would still regard vitamin manufacture as a by-product rather than the main object of the Company. My feeling was that this was being used as an excuse to obtain carrots for treacle and pectin manufacture which, without this excuse, they would be unable to obtain. Finally, even if their claims were genuine, there is no reason why they should not employ brock carrots, as these would be quite suitable for their purpose except that they would require more trouble in washing and additional labour in trimming.  I would strongly resist this demand for sound carrot unless the supply is particularly abundant." source National Archives

It was reported to the Ministry of Food in 1941 that "There had been a marked improvement in the general character of the diet. There will be a natural tendency for people to eat fewer carrots unless the publicity campaign is carried out with considerable effort. Fortunately a strong appeal can be made to the public to eat carrots as a heathful food."

The Ministry also explored the possibility of manufacturing carrot powder and a carrot spread, similar to margarine, as ways of effectively using the surplus. Breakfast Food and Powder - it was claimed by the manufacturer, Sun-o-Like Co Ltd, that one pound of the product contained the equivalent of one pound of carrots and the corresponding carotene content.  After exploring many options the conclusion was that any surplus remaining after increased public consumption would be passed over to the Ministry of Agriculture as raw roots for the feeing of livestock. 

People were encouraged to use Carrot tops (the leaves) too! -   Carrot tops had other uses: They even promoted the use of carrot tops (the leaves) in a recipe called Champ (a meal for six for a shilling) and Carrot Top and Potato Soup.  (These can be found in the  World War Two page here (see the transcript on the carrot Tops page here)  .They were also fed to the rabbits that many people kept in their back gardens for free and off-ration meat.

Here are some more ingenious uses for the surplus of carrots:

Concentrated juice as "honey, Drying carrots for cattle feed in future years and the preparation of pectin.

A further suggestion was that carrots could used to manufacture vitamin preparations for post-war relief. The Red Cross had proposed Vitaminised chocolate, and by margarine producers who would otherwise be using a Vitamin A concentrate.

In 1943, the Ministry of Food discussed the options for using carotene obtained from carrots in "Vitaminised chocolate", which would help with the surplus of carrots prevailing at that time.  (correspondence extract late1943)

 

Having re-examined he statistics the Committee considered that

 

“There would be no supplies of carrots available for the purposes proposed as the 1943 yield was much lower than in recent years, and the supply of carrots would fall short of normal human consumption, adding that the acreage was about 21,000 compared to the estimated requirement  of 33,000 acres for 1944.

An early suggestion for the manufacture of carrot juice was also a suggestion which was not pursued. The Ministry's official response was that "Carrot juice is of relatively low vitamin value (!) and when concentrated to a syrup has no greater food value than that of the sugar it contains".  Subsequently the question of juice was back on the agenda, following information on what the US was doing in that area (November 1941):

Carrot Treacle was also an option to reduce the surplus (January 1942):

The Committee finally deliberated:

 
The Carrot Flan - quite an innovation at the time. This is one of a series of meals developed by the Ministry of Food to encourage people to make the best use of available home-grown produce. Recipe here. A product called "Pommace" was also examined, not only to use up carrots but also to make best use of cider making machinery! (January 1942)

World War Two Carrot Flan

Pommace is a by product of cider production. In the Middle Ages, pommace wine with a low alcohol content of three or four percent was widely available. This faux wine was made by adding water to pommace and then fermenting it. Generally, medieval wines were not fermented to dryness; consequently the pommace would retain some residual sugar after fermenting.

I do not think the government realised they were contemplating an alcoholic drink!

 
More Ministry Advice - Don’t pare, cut or chop vegetables until just before using them. Make salads, and add dressing, immediately prior to eating to protect them from the air. Never soak vegetables – water is an enemy of many vitamins.

Valuable nutrients are near the skin. Cut carrots lengthwise. their cells are long and less of the nutrient qualities will escape in the cooking water.

 Disney Carrot Characters

In late 1941, Walt Disney offered to help the British Government promote carrots as a nutritious food source. England had already been at war with the Germans for two years and severe rationing measures were in effect. The January 11, 1942 issue of The New York Times Magazine announced: "England has a goodly store of carrots. But carrots are not the staple items of the average English diet. The problem...is to sell the carrots to the English public."

Hank Porter, a leading Disney cartoonist  designed a family of carrot characters on behalf of England's Food Minister (Lord Woolton).

The Disney Corporation created a carrot family including Carroty George, Clara Carrot, and Dr. Carrot, for the British media to promote the eating of carrots. The vegetable characters were reproduced on a poster, recipe booklet, flyers and the images were used extensively in a newspaper campaign. Carroty George's motto was "I'll tell you what to do with me"!

As the British Ministry of Food had already used their own Dr Carrot character in their promotions,  this particular Disney character was never used, and appears to have been "converted" into Pop Carrot.

These images are reproduced from the originals. They are VERY rare!. Please do not copy them.

Disney Carroty George WW2

Disney Carroty George Recipes WW2

Disney Clara Carrot Leaflet WW2

Disney Calra Carrot Recipes WW2


Disney Pop Carrot Leaflet WW2

Disney Pop Carrot Recipe Leaflet WW2

The cartoons shown below appeared in "The Times" in 1941/2. The associated flyers which were distributed to the public featuring six carrot-based recipes and also had illustrations of Carroty George, Clara Carrot and Pop Carrot. They also featured other frugal recipes.

The full list of recipes as they appeared in the press is shown here together with more information and rare photos about the Disney characters.

These copies are taken from "The Times" archives.  They are VERY rare!.

Carroty George Disney Character used in WW2 campaign Pop Carrot Disney Character used in WW2 campaign Clara Carrot Disney Character used in WW2 campaign

This is how the New York times reported it on 11 January 1942:

An article also appeared in the March 1942 "Boy's Life" Magazine (UK). This read:

England has wakened to the fact that  'a carrot a day keeps the blackout at bay', according to Lord Woolton, the Food Minister, English people, however, are not great carrot eaters, so Lord Woolton had to educate his country, where upon he cabled Walt Disney in Hollywood, and asked if Disney would create a set of carrot cartoons for him. Within a few hours he received a reply, ?Have immediately created Carrot Family, Dr. Carrot, George, and Clara.? The British Press Service wire-photoed the drawings via RCA, and now the Carrot Family is all over the British Isles.

If you get a call this spring from Governor McNutt, to plant and raise a big crop of carrot or sweet potatoes. don't be surprised, 'Be Prepared', for America is going in for Vitamin A in a very big way.

From Time Magazine (USA)  29 December 1941 -

"Three new characters made of carrots (Dr. Carrot, Carroty George, Clara Carrot) have been photo-wired to London, they are advising the British that if they want to see better during blackouts, they had better munch carrots." 

In fact there were four characters, Pop Carrot was not mentioned.  As the British Ministry of Food had already used their own Dr Carrot in their promotions, this Disney character was never used, and is lost for posterity. Perhaps Pop Carrot came later as a replacement for Dr Carrot?

Any one with further information about the Disney Carrot Characters or the whereabouts of the posters or leaflets please contact the Museum.

(The World Carrot Museum respectfully acknowledges the outstanding work undertaken by David Lesjak at the Toons at War Blog which has assisted in the research of some of the above information about the Disney Characters. It also provides an excellent resource about the role Toons played in Wartime)


The full list of recipes contained in the leaflets is shown here together with more information about the Disney characters.

Here is one of Carroty George's recipes, as part of a series of carrot based recipes designed to encourage healthy eating during rationing.

You can meet young Carroty George any day at the 'Hot Pot' if you're a member. He belongs of course, to all the best clubs, and what's more he has the entrée of all the best kitchens. That's because a fellow of tact and resource and can so quickly adapt himself to any occasion, sweet or savoury. See how well he fits into:

Carrot Hot Pot

Wash and coarsely grate 6 carrots and 6 potatoes; mix with 2 tablespoons packet sage and onion. Make seasoning of 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and, if possible, brown sugar. Put half the vegetables in a stewpot, cover with half the seasoning, add rest of vegetables and rest of seasoning. No water required, cover stewpot and bake very slowly for 2 hours. You'll have a dish very much out of the ordinary, for 3 or 4.


Carrot Fudge (Recipe from Colleen Moulding's "Frugal Recipes from Wartime Britain"). Dig for victory poster child

You will need:
4 tablespoons of finely grated carrot
1 gelatine leaf
orange essence or orange squash
a saucepan and a flat dish

Put the carrots in a pan and cook them gently in just enough water to keep them covered, for ten minutes. Add a little orange essence, or orange squash to flavour the carrot. Melt a leaf of gelatine and add it to the mixture. Cook the mixture again for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Spoon it into a flat dish and leave it to set in a cool place for several hours. When the "fudge" feels firm, cut it into chunks and get eating!

Let us hope that the country never faces such extremes again. However, it is now realised that the home population never ate so well as during and after the war. This was thanks to the strict rationing of shop-bought goods and the amount of fresh vegetables that people ate.

There is a simple message for the 21st Century's increasingly obese and under-exercised populations. Take up carrot growing and give up the car while you're at it!


Dig For Victory

Dig For Victory Poster - 2 spade

The Ministry of Food launched its 'Dig for Victory' campaign in October 1939, one month after war broke out. The campaign was led by an agricultural economist, Professor John Raeburn, who was recruited to the Ministry of Food in 1939, and who would run the campaign until the end of the war.

The campaign encouraged people to transform their front and back gardens into vegetable plots. The goal was to replace imported food, thus freeing up shipping space for more valuable war materials, and to make up for food that was sunk in transit. By the end of 1940, 728,000 tons of food making its way to Britain had been lost, sunk by German submarine activity.

The government realised that the population would go hungry if the war was to last longer than a few months. The result was that formal gardens, lawns and even sports pitches were transformed into allotments, large and small, and everybody on the home front was encouraged to become a vegetable gardener.

Whilst the term ?Victory Garden? has become synonymous with World War Two, its origin can be traced back to the 1600?s in England where Richard Gardner in his book entitled Victory Gardens wrote: 

"If any citie or towne should be besieged with the enemy  what better provision for the greatest number of people  can be than every garden be sufficiently planted with carrots?

Prior to World War II, Britain imported over 55 million tons of food a year - much of it from Canada and the USA. After the outbreak of war, merchant vessels carrying provisions into Britain, especially those coming across the Atlantic, became targets of the German navy and food imports were under threat. At the same time the British government recognised that the merchant ships were required for the transport of troops, munitions and even aeroplanes to the theatres of war.

In October 1939 Rob Hudson, Minister for Agriculture, announced "We want not only the big man with the plough but the little man with the spade to get busy this autumn... Let 'Dig for Victory' be the motto of everyone with a garden". It was a desperate request because farmers could only produce 30% of the country's food. But if gardens could be turned over to growing food rather than flowers, up to 25% of the necessary vegetables could be provided.

The whole of Britain's home front was encouraged to transform private gardens into mini-allotments. Not only this, but parks, formal public gardens and various areas of unused land were dug up for planting fruit and vegetables. Kensington Gardens dug up its flowers and planted rows of cabbages and carrots. All over the country, lawns were dug and potatoes, cabbages, carrots and beans planted. Windsor Great Park was given over to wheat, and public parks, road verges, railway embankments, golf clubs, tennis courts, roofs and even window boxes were put to work. Dr Carrot and Potato Pete Poster

The Ministry of Agriculture got in on the act producing several informative leaflets on how to grow more. Leaflet number one "Grow for Winter as well as Summer" which showed how to get fresh, home grown vegetables throughout the year.  Copies can be seen here.  Front page and inside page.  The plan worked and by 1945, around 75% of food was produced in Britain.

A song was introduced to promote the Dig for Victory slogan.

Dig! Dig! Dig! And your muscles will grow big
Keep on pushing the spade
Don't mind the worms
Just ignore their squirms
And when your back aches laugh with glee
And keep on diggin?
Till we give our foes a Wiggin?
Dig! Dig! Dig! to Victory"

Dig for Victory was very successful. From a total of 815,000 allotments in 1939 the number rose to 1,400,000 by 1943.

It was reported in the UK Times on 15 May 1941 that "Evidence of American determination to help Britain in every possible way is provided by the offer of vegetable seeds".  These were accepted by Mr. R. S. Hudson, Minister of Agriculture. The first instalment of nine tons arrived through the agency of the British War Relief Society.  Among the vegetables which have been specially asked for are onions, carrots, beans. cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, parsnips, and tomatoes.

Very soon allotment holders, members of the Army and Royal Air Force, and others were sowing American seeds on their plots.


In the USA - Victory Gardens

US Victory Gardens Book FrontispieceThe programme was mirrored in the USA with the formation of Victory Gardens. Left the Official US leaflet issued February 1942.

Victory gardens were vegetable gardens planted to ensure an adequate food supply for civilians and troops. Government agencies, private foundations, businesses, schools, and seed companies all worked together to provide land, instruction, and seeds for individuals and communities to grow food.

From California to Florida, Americans ploughed backyards, vacant lots, parks, baseball fields, and schoolyards to set out gardens. Children and adults fertilized, planted, weeded, and watered in order to harvest an abundance of vegetables. (read more at the Smithsonian website here)

At the beginning of World War II, Secretary of Agriculture Wickard suggested that, since the farmers of America would be busy feeding the army, civilians should plant Victory Gardens to provide fresh vegetables for their own tables. Americans were quick to respond. By 1943, victory gardens were flourishing in many backyards, empty lots, parks, baseball fields, schoolyards - even parking lots, since not many cars were being driven due to the shortage of gasoline. These gardens came in every size and shape. Governments and corporations promoted the victory garden effort as a call for self-reliance.

People in both rural and urban areas tilled the soil to raise food for their families, friends and neighbours. Households used what they needed and preserved and canned for future use. Eventually more than 40 percent of the country's vegetables were grown in the nation's backyards. Victory gardening enabled more processed foods to be shipped to our troops around the world. Emphasis was placed on making gardening a family or community effort - not drudgery, but a pastime, and a national duty.

By 1944, 20 million Americans planted Victory Gardens, producing one million tons a year of vegetables -- about half the amount consumed in America. Of course carrots figured highly in the campaigns, as evidenced by the various propaganda posters. Click here to see more posters.Dig for plenty poster

Brightly coloured posters produced for the government by artists from the Work Progress Administration (WPA) encouraged Americans to "Fight with Food." Vegetables grown in home gardens, the government reasoned, would not only lighten the burden of food rationing, but would free up supplies needed for troops fighting in Europe. The appealing combination of self-sufficiency and patriotism made the Victory Garden effort arguably the most successful civilian wartime program.

AVictory Garden poster Ministry of Agriculture food production poster using the slogan 'Dig for Plenty'. Illustrated with a colourful box of winter vegetables, it is aimed at the amateur gardener, rather than industrial agriculturalists. ?Dig for Victory' was a campaign that ran throughout much of the war. The famous ?foot on the spade' illustration, , took on a life of its own early in the war.

Pictured right, "Dig for Plenty" by Le Bon, 1944, Gouache on board. A Ministry of Agriculture food production poster using the slogan ?Dig for Plenty'. Illustrated with a colourful box of winter vegetables, it is aimed at the amateur gardener, rather than industrial agriculturalists. ?Dig for Victory' was a campaign that ran throughout much of the war. The famous ?foot on the spade' illustration, visible in the bottom left-hand corner, took on a life of its own early in the war. The benefits of growing one's own food were stressed. Such over-heightened colour visions of abundant vegetables, rarely fruit or salad, but good nutritious food in a time of shortages, would have appealed to the public. ?Dig for Plenty' indicates a recognition that victory was already assured and now a healthier future was possible. Previous campaigns had seen many gardens turned into allotments. Those who dug up half their lawn for vegetables had done it partly in response to the government campaign and partly because they feared rises in food prices. It was also a leisure interest. In 1944, the campaign no longer called for extra allotments and was directed almost entirely to greater efficiency in vegetable production.

The most common carrot varieties used by US citizens were Amsterdam Minicor and Autumn King.

Also an extract of carrots was used in America to colour Oleos (margarine) during the fats rationing that took place during the second world war. (They were really reviving an early American folk custom in colouring foods.)


Carrots helped win World War Two in the air!

The carrot "myth", which is not!  - It is said that UK World War Two pilots were fed excessive amounts of high carotene carrots to help them see better in the dark and therefore spot, and shoot down enemy airplanes quicker. Famously, the Government responded to a temporary wartime oversupply of carrots by suggesting that the RAF's exceptional night-flying success was due to consuming more carotene, via carrots. The ruse worked: consumption of carrots increased sharply because people thought carrots might help them see in the blackout, thus taking the pressure off other food supplies.

At one point in the early 40's there was a glut of carrots, and the Government let it be known that carotene, which is believed to help (or restore) night vision, was largely responsible for the RAF's increasing success in shooting down enemy bombers. People eagerly tucked in to carrots, believing this would also help them to see more clearly in the blackout. The ruse not only reduced the surplus vegetables but also helped to mask the chief reason for the RAF's success - the increasing power of radar and the secret introduction of an airborne version of the system.

Here is what the RAF Museum in London has to say on the myth -

"We have not, as of yet, found any official paperwork or correspondence in our collections relating to any officially organised attempt by the Air Ministry or RAF to convince the Germans our night fighter successes were down to carrot consumption.

 

The public were almost entirely unaware of the concept of radar as it was officially secret (they could see the various sites around the south coast but didn’t know what they were for), the Germans however were well aware of their function, as evidenced by the effort put in to see if they could be knocked out during the Battle of Britain.

 

It’s reasonable to assume that when John Cunningham started racking up his score against the night bombers that had been terrorizing the public, it would make a great morale boosting story; but neither he, nor the RAF, were at liberty to say why he was so successful – the Germans may well have known half the story, that ground based radar stations vectored his aircraft into the vicinity of the bombers, the public were not even aware of this much.

 

Whilst the [British] Air Ministry were happy to go along with the story [of carrot-improved vision], they never set out to use it to fool the Germans. The German intelligence service were well aware of our ground-based radar installations and would not be surprised by the existence of radar in aircraft. In fact, the RAF were able to confirm the existence of German airborne radar simply by fitting commercial radios into a bomber and flying over France listening to the various radio frequencies!

 

The UK RAF Museum, in London, has no paperwork relating to this first press release (which would have been handled through the Ministry of Information anyway) so who first mentioned the idea of using the carrot story may remain a mystery, unless any files are still held at the National Archives. Whether or not the Ministry of Food were responsible for the original story, they certainly made use of it getting Cunningham to endorse carrots to the population. The lack of any follow on from the RAF, and no effort to really get the Germans to believe it was carrots rather than radar that allowed our night fighters to be as successful as they were, leads me to believe that the Air Ministry were just happy to “go with the flow”, as it were, and follow the lead set by the MoI.

 

It seems far more likely that the publicity campaign was intended more for the people at home than for the Germans, and an attempt to convince the public to use a readily available home grown food to replace things that would otherwise have been imported."

 

In the US the Popular Science magazine reported in May 1942 thus:

Flyers are Redesigned - The new challenges of fighter pilots achieving successful missions in almost total darkness gave the flight doctors some challenges.  The photochemistry of night vision is still mysterious but it is thought to be intimately connected with Vitamin A in the diet. Vitamin A deficiency causes xeropthamlia , an eye inflammation commonly associated with nigh blindness; but the Air Forces are interested in something much less obvious than that.

 

In the retina of the eye is a pigment known as visual purple, very sensitive to dim light, formed by a combination of vitamins A with certain proteins. Light bleaches out the visual purple in the eye. the theory is that adaptation to darkness depends on the amount of visual purple stored, and that glare blinds us by bleaching it out. Blindness follows glare until the pigment is restored.

 

Whether or not this is the final solution, flight surgeons heavily load the diet of pilots with butter, eggs, carrots and spinach to supply large quantities of Vitamin A. The pilots grumble good humouredly about “duty food” and put away large platefuls of salad greens. (extract, full version available here - Popular Science archives)

Facts:
 - The First radar system was produced in 1935 by Sir Robert Watson-Watt

 - By 1939, UK had radar stations all round the south coast of the UK

 - In 1940, John Cunningham was the first pilot to down an enemy using radar

 - To cover-up the use of  radar from the Germans, pilots were praised for being able to see in the dark through a "secret" diet

 - The government said it was because they ate carrots, rich in Vitamin A.

There is very little hard evidence for this propaganda exercise, but it is fairly clear it did take place. For example in the book "The Fear in the Sky: Vivid Memories of Bomber Aircrew in World War Two" by Pat Cunnigham, he said:

"One extracurricular activity this time around at Yatesbury involved the disinformation that night-fighter pilots were fed on carrots to improve their night vision. This, of course, was aimed at covering up the fact that the RAF possessed radar. Whether the authorities had begun to believe their own propaganda, I couldn't say, but the Yatesbury intakes were used as guinea pigs. Our class was fed carrots until we were sick of them, whereas other classes had none. But although it went on for some weeks I never heard that anything came out of it one way or another."
 

How the myth became confused, although it has some truth behind it - For the record, carrots CAN help you see better in the dark. Carrots are good for your eye health (not eyesight) and in one area can be a cure for night blindness! if you are otherwise deficient in Vitamin A.

Night blindness (nyctalopia) is the inability to see well at night or in poor light. It is not a disorder in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying disorder or problem. It can have several causes and Vitamin A deficiency is one of them. It is rare in Western society, that does not mean it does not exist. The consumption of carrots in such circumstances will help cure the symptom and help the sufferer see better in the dark, by restoring night vision to its normal level.

Read more:

In 1940 experiments with high carotene varieties were conducted to reduce night blindness in World War II pilots. These high carotene roots were very dry. With the advent of synthetically manufactured carotene, cultivation of these varieties ceased in 1947. In World War II, Britain's Air Ministry spread the word that a diet of carrots helped pilots see German bombers attacking at night. That was a lie intended to cover the real matter of what was underpinning the Royal Air Force's successes: the latest, highly efficient on board,  Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed some enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

When the Luftwaffe's bombing assault switched to night raids after the unsuccessful daylight campaign, British Intelligence didn't want the Germans to find out about the superior new technology helping protect the nation, so they created a rumour to afford a somewhat plausible-sounding explanation for the sudden increase in bombers being shot down. British Intelligence instigated news in the British press about extraordinary personnel manning the defences, including Flight Lieutenant John Cunningham, an RAF fighter pilot dubbed "Cats Eyes" on the basis of his exceptional night vision that allowed him to spot his prey in the dark. In fact, in WW II, he was the RAF's top-scoring night fighter pilot, with a total of 20 kills. Cunningham's abilities were chalked up to his love of carrots.  The Royal Air Force bragged that the great accuracy of British fighter pilots at night was a result of them being fed enormous quantities of carrots and the Germans bought it because their folk wisdom included the same myth.

But this story was only a myth invented by the RAF to hide their use of radar, which was what really located the Luftwaffe bombers at night - not human carrot-assisted super-vision.

They can help you see in the dark, but can only improve your night vision, by defeating night blindness if you are otherwise deficient in Vitamin A.  When you eat carrots, the beta-carotene is transformed into retinol or vitamin Carrots are high in Vitamin A, and a deficiency in this nutrient can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Vitamin A is essential for the formatDig For Victory Poster Carrotsion of the chemical retinal, whose presence in the retina is necessary for vision. Our eyes have two kinds of light sensitive cells: the rods and the cones. The rods are the cells we rely on to see in dim light.

They are sensitive to Vitamin A deficiency, because it can cause a shortage of retinal. The retina is the light-sensing part of the eye that holds the rods and cones, which contain enzymes that absorb light and allow us to see. When light strikes the retinal molecule, it changes its shape. This activates a cascade of chemical reactions that informs the brain that light has entered the eye. When the levels of light sensitive molecules are low, due to Vitamin A deficiency, there will not be enough retinal to detect the light at night. During the day there is enough light to produce vision, despite low levels of retinal.

So it's only night vision that can be improved by eating carrots. The rods provide black and white vision and respond in dim light while the cones provide colour vision and respond to bright light. Vitamin A helps the retina tell black from white and provides for colour vision. It also helps us see in dim light or at night. When you go into a darkened theatre after being out in the bright light, your eyes are able to adapt because of the vitamin A that you have stored in your body. So really the answer is they do help you see in the dark, but can only improve your night vision if you are deficient in Vitamin A.

The disinformation was so persuasive that the English public to the extent that they started growing and eating more carrots, so that they could find they way around easier at night during the blackouts that were compulsory during WW II.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children." In fact, WHO estimates that 250 million young children, and an unknown but substantial number of pregnant women, are vitamin A deficient worldwide. Read more on the Vitamin A page.

How the "myth" became misunderstood - It is pretty clear that beta carotene is good for eye health and easily available from carrots. Carrots are of course not the only source of Vitamin A. There is a difference between eye sight and eye health.

Eye Sight – is about visual acuity and whether a person can see everything, near and far, in sharp focus. Poor eye sight is often a physical trait. Once Night blindness is cured you can see better in the dark. Items will be not better focussed as that is a function of good eyesight.

Eye Health -. It is possible to have good eye health yet poor vision.  Less likely to have poor eye health and good eye sight.

As many UK citizens were not deficient in Vitamin A, the higher consumption made no difference they claimed that is was a myth promoted by the government to convince the to eat more carrots..

Read more about night blindness at the US National Library of Medicine here.

See the full story of "Cats Eyes" Cunningham here.

World War Two also produced a genuine Carrot plane! - read more here.

The benefits of carrots to night vision was also covered in the antipodes - copies of Australian and New Zealand newspapers -

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic, 21 June 1941 (Australia) WAR FLYING Evening Post, Volume CXXXII, Issue 131, 29 November 1941 (New Zealand)

RECIPES

Recipes which included carrots, "invented" during war time

Recipes either created by ordinary housewives using their ingenuity, or taken from the "official" recipes promoted by the Ministry of Food. Every morning there was a radio broadcast giving hints and tips on food use, also including some interesting recipes. Samples of every type are shown below.

Ministry of Food Leaflet Number 3 (extract)
 WW2 Ministry of Food Leaflet

Ministry of food poster -  root vegetables - carrot and beets

WW2 Ministry of Food Leaflet

Carrots were one vegetable in plentiful supply and as a result widely utilised as a substitute for the scarce commodities. To improve its blandness, people were encouraged to 'enjoy' the healthy carrot in different ways by the introduction of such characters as 'DoWar Time Cookery Leaflet - Carrotsctor Carrot'. Culinary delights in the form of curried carrot, carrot jam and a homemade drink called Carrolade were suggested by the Ministry of Food. (See the official leaflet here)

The homemade drink called Carrolade was made up from the juices of carrots and Swede grated and squeezed through a piece of muslin, clearly no one thought of just plain carrot juice!.

Other culinary uses included carrot marmalade and toffee carrots. The humble carrot, previously thought to be only good for animal feed had been elevated to a new high and kick started its rightful return to one of the nations favourite vegetables.

Also during the war many thousands of tons of carrots were dehydrated and shipped overseas in sealed metal containers in an atmosphere of carbon dioxide or nitrogen to prevent loss of carotene.

Carrots for Breakfast

(suggested by a radio listener)

Slice up two carrots and cook the rounds with bacon. The bacon fat makes them tender in no time.

Carrot Fudge (Recipe from Colleen Moulding's "Frugal Recipes from Wartime Britain").

You will need:
4 tablespoons of finely grated carrot

1 gelatine leaf
orange essence or squash
a saucepan and a flat dish

Method: Put the carrots in a pan and cook them gently in just enough water to keep them covered, for ten minutes. Add a little orange essence, or orange squash to flavour the carrot. Melt a leaf of gelatine and add it to the mixture. Cook the mixture again for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Spoon it into a flat dish and leave it to set in a cool place for several hours. When the "fudge" feels firm, cut it into chunks and get eating!

Curried Carrots

(Serves 4 persons)
You will need
2 lbs Carrots
1 oz margarine or dripping
1 1/2 teaspoonfuls curry powder
1 onion
1/2 pint stock or water
3 teaspoonfuls flour
Salt and Pepper

Method: Trim carrots and boil in the usual way.

Prepare curry sauce as follows;
Melt fat in saucepan, add chopped onion and fry for a few minutes.

Add curry powder and flour and fry, stirring from time to time, for a few minutes longer. Stir in stock or water, and when boiling, season to taste. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
Add cooked carrots to curry sauce in saucepan and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Serve with a garnish of cooked rice.

Mock Apricot Tarts

You will need:
1 lb young carrots, a few drops almond essence, 4 round tablespoons plum jam, about 6 tablespoons cold water, 1 lb shortcrust or potato pastry, 2 teaspoons jam more if it can be spared.

 

A 9 inch pie plate or flan dish, Flour dredger, Rolling pin, Greaseproof paper, Baking beans, Baking tray, Medium saucepan, Potato peeler, Grater, Tablespoon, Palette knife.

Oven set at 190 degrees C / gas mark 5,
Shelf near the top, Time: 15-20 minutes.

 

Line plate or flan dish with pastry and neaten carefully, Prick base with a fork,  add crumpled greaseproof paper and backing beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes, remove paper and dry out 5 minutes more, cool.
 

While cases are cooking, peel, wash and dry the carrots, grate into saucepan, add jam, essence and water and cook slowly until a pulp forms.
Stir regularly and check it's not drying up, spread over the pastry case and top with a little more jam if available. Could be served with mock cream. (see below)

 

 

Carrot Marmalade 

 

From the “Kitchen Front” broadcast 8 January 1942 by Freddie Grisewood (He also created an earlier version in a 1941 broadcast here)

 

 2 lbs. of carrots, washed, scraped and grated

1 ½ . lbs. of sugar - (warmed)

The equivalent of 2 lemons in lemon substitute

 

Put the carrots in a preserving pan with just enough boiling water to prevent the pan from burning. Cook the carrots until they are tender, adding a little more water if necessary. Now you add the sugar. As soon as it is melted, bring back to the boil and cook until your marmalade has reached the consistency of a chutney. This should take about 45 minutes.

Here's something else to remember. Supposing you can't get lemon substitute, you can still make carrot marmalade. Your substitute for lemon substitute is a portion of quassia chips** tied in a piece of muslin. . A heaped teaspoonful of quassia chips in a piece of muslin, more if you like the marmalade very bitter. This should simmer with the carrots - and if you're using it don't forget to add an extra teacupful of water to the pan. And you remove the muslin bag before you add the sugar.

I didn’t invent the Carrot Marmalade recipe myself, it was handed to me by the Food Advice people when I asked what I could use as breakfast spread when I had overdrawn my preserve ration.

It would be my entry for the competition if I had have invented it.

It's not intended for storing, so remember not to make more than a week or two's supply at a time.

 

(There was no mention of the quantity this produce, at a guess probably about 3 pounds (six jars)

 

** Quassia wood chips.- This multi-purpose wood has been used for many hundreds of years to treat a wide variety of ailments, both inside and outside the body. These include stomach problems, intestinal parasites, head lice, hair tonics and many more. It is a very bitter-tasting plant. Used as a substitute for Hops in beer making. Also used in aperitifs and in tonic wines. It contains pectin which would help the marmalade to set.

 

(another different recipe here)

 

Mock Cream

A wartime substitute for cream. All dairy products were rationed in the war and this substitute cream gave people a little bit of luxury during the hard times.

Does it taste like the real thing?

Ingredients

1/2 oz cornflour 1/4 pint milk 1 1/2 oz margarine 3tsp sugar few drops of vanilla essence

Method

Mix the cornflour with a little of the milk to form a smooth paste.  Bring the rest of the milk to the boil.  Pour the hot milk over the cornflour paste.  Return to the heat and bring to the boil.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Cream the sugar and margarine together.  Gradually whisk in the cornflour mixture.  Add the vanilla essence.  Allow to cool.

Carrots with Potato Soup (serves 4)how to cut carrots - advice from Stork cookery book

You will need - 2 carrots, 3 medium potatoes, 2 cups water, 4 tablespoons flour, 2 slices of onion, carrot or parsley greens, 1-1/2 cups of milk, 1-1/2 tablespoons of fat, Salt and pepper, stalk of celery

Wash and pare potatoes. Cook in boiling salted water until they are soft.
Rub through colander. Use water in which potatoes were cooked to make up the two cups of water for the soup. Cook carrots, cut in cubes in boiling water until soft; drain. Scald milk with onion, celery, and parsley. Add milk and water to potatoes. Melt fat in sauce pan, add flour, and cook for three minutes. Slowly add soup, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute, season with salt and pepper. Add cubes of carrots and serve.

Carrot Buns

You will need - 8 oz self-raising flour, 3 oz margarine or cooking fat, 3 oz sugar, 4 tablespoons finely grated raw carrot,2 tablespoons sultanas or chopped dates, 1 reconstituted dried or fresh egg, a little milk or water.

Method - Grease 2 baking trays. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Rub in the margarine or cooking fat.  Add the sugar, carrot, sultanas and egg. Mix well, then add sufficient milk or water to make a sticky consistency. Divide mixture into 12 small heaps on baking tray and bake in a hot oven (gas mark7) for 12 to 15 minutes until firm and golden.

Carrot Cookies

You will need -  1 tablespoon margarine, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence, 4 tablespoons grated raw carrot 6 tablespoons self- raising flour (or plain flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder added), 1 tablespoon of water.

Method - Cream the fat and the sugar together with the vanilla essence. Beat in the grated carrot. Fold in the flour. If mixture very dry then add a little water. Drop spoonfuls onto greased tray and press down just a little.  Sprinkle tops with sugar and cook in an oven at 200 centigrade for about 20 minutes.


Carrot pudding (for 2 persons)

You will need - 1lb scraped carrots, 2 oz margarine, Breadcrumbs as required, 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon minced onion, salt and pepper.
Carrot Pudding

Method - Rinse the carrots, then place them in a saucepan of boiling salted water to cover. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook slowly till soft. Rub through a sieve. Measure and place puree in a basin. Add half as much breadcrumbs as carrot puree, then add onion and the margarine, melted till creamy. Season to taste, then add enough beaten egg to bind the mixture. Place in a greased pudding basin.

Cover with greased paper. Steam for 45 minutes. Turn out onto a hot dish. Serve with cheese or caper sauce or left over gravy.
 

Carrot Tart (Kitchen front broadcast recipe, 1941)



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Carrot  Sandwich Fillings

Add two parts of grated raw carrot to one part of finely shredded white heart cabbage and bind with chutney or sweet pickle. Pepper and salt to taste.

Bind some grated raw carrot with mustard sauce flavoured with a dash of vinegar.
 

Ambrose heath - "War Time Recipes" - 1941 - Heath was one of the contributors to the ?Kitchen Front? talks broadcast by the BBC during the Second World War. The talks were organized by the Ministry of Food to encourage frugality and palliate the hardship of rationing with recipes, household hints, exhortations from government officials and comedy. The ?Kitchen Front? was a platform for propaganda, but of a homely and avuncular cast.


Rationing in World War 2 increased intelligence of Britons

Digging for victory in World War 2 improved the health and brain power of Britons, the University of Aberdeen found.

A study by the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian has found that children who grew up during the Second World War became far more intelligent than those who were born just 15 years before.

Researchers think that cutting rich, sugary and fatty foods out of the diets of growing children had a hugely beneficial impact on their growing brains.

Consequently, children born in 1936 grew up to have IQ scores on average 16.5 points ahead of those born in 1921.

read more here: BBC report

(source - Intelligence Journal - Intelligence Volume 47, November–December 2014, Pages 194–201 - Aging trajectories of fluid intelligence in late life: The influence of age, practice and childhood IQ on Raven's Progressive Matrices R.T. Staff, M.J. Hogan, L.J. Whalley)


 

The relevance today

In today's global culture of cheap, abundant and ready-prepared food, it is hard to imagine a situation when the whole nation faced such severe food shortages, when even the least experienced people ended up keeping pigs, or digging up their lawns for carrots, potatoes and cabbages, in order to survive.

During the war, although there were privations and shortages, people generally had a good, healthy diet as people were forced to adopt new eating habits. After the war it was found that the average food intake was much higher than when it began. This was mostly because many poor people had been too poor to feed themselves properly, but with virtually no unemployment and the introduction of rationing, with its fixed prices, they ate better than in the past. People who had previously consumed a poor diet were able to increase their intake of protein and vitamins because they received the same ration as everyone else. People at all levels of society ate better,  took nutrition more seriously and fed their families sensibly with the rations and whatever vegetables and fruit that were available, and with less sugar and fewer sweet snacks there was less tooth decay. As a whole the population was slimmer and healthier than it is today.   People ate less fat, eggs, sugar and meat whilst eating many more vegetables.

Many people ate a better diet during rationing than before the war years and this had a marked effect on the health of the population - infant mortality declined and life expectancy increased.

 

Let us hope that the country never faces such extremes again. However, it is now realised that the home population never ate so well as they did during and after the war. This was thanks to the strict rationing of shop-bought goods and the amount of fresh vegetables that people ate. There is a simple message for the 21st Century's increasingly obese and under-exercised population. Take up vegetable gardening, grow carrots and take more walks!

 

 

 

 


Examples of Actual Government Guidance to Families used at the time:

See the actual Ministry of Food official Carrot recipes leaflet here.

Ministry of Food advice on storage of carrots here.

Read more on WW2 Food and rationing. Here

Ministry leaflet on growing vegetables all year round here. (pdf)

Transcripts of actual "Kitchen Front" radio broadcast scripts (all pdfs)
Several recipes Healthy eating
Carrots broadcast 1 Carrot Candy
Carrot broadcast 2 Carrot Recipe Competition  
Carrot and Roots  

Reference material is here. The majority of the information in this page has been drawn from the archives material in the Imperial War Museum (UK), The UK National Archives (Kew, London) and the Mass observation Archives located at Sussex University

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