World Carrot Museum - Carrots as sweet substitutes WW2

Carrots on Stick in World War Two

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WW2 British Pathé Newsreel reveals what children got for Easter

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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 during WW2. HERE


Carrots were promoted by the Ministry of Food as a sweetener in desserts in the absence of sugar. Some British children born just before the war didn’t discover what ice-cream actually was until well the war finished and rationing stopped.

Food and commodity rationing was a way of life during World War Two, creating a national culture of austerity, but it also sparked ingenuity, such as swapping an ice-cream for a carrot on a stick.

It was the official wartime substitute for ice-cream, and some British children born just before the war didn’t discover what ice-cream actually was until the fighting had finished and rationing stopped. Unlike ice-cream, carrots were in plentiful supply during the war and Doctor Carrot was even introduced in 1941, as the Ministry of Agriculture promoted carrots heavily as a substitute for other more scarce vegetables. It also promoted it as a sweetener in desserts in the absence of sugar, which was rationed to 8 ounces per adult per week.

The carrot on a stick was offered as the alternative when supplies ran low, because sugar needed to make ice-cream was one of the first luxuries to be hit on the introduction of rationing, along with bacon and butter.

In the heart-warming video, a pair of toddlers, who are thought to be siblings, can be seen gazing at a hand-drawn sign advertising ice lollies for '1d'- which was one penny in the currency of the 1940s (approx 1/2p in modern money).

But the words are crossed through and instead carrots on a stick are offered. The pair toddle into the shop and are later seen happily sitting on the grass, joined by a friend, enjoying their healthy snacks.

It was not just children who were content to much on the vegetable, adults were also partial to the snack. (photo right)

The newsreel Easter on the Homefront was originally titled Easter 1941 and compares the British holiday season during the war to before it began. It was issued that year in newsreel cinemas around Britain and on RAF bases.

The video highlights the fact that London railway terminals are becoming desolate, 'due to that nasty piece of work from Germany,' says the voiceover, referring to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

It also features people holidaying at home or in bordering counties, paddling in village ponds and enjoying walks along the promenade.

A spokesperson for British Pathé said: 'British Pathé took it upon themselves to suggest war-time holiday alternatives to the British public. As well as their quaint Easter time clip on they issued a fun mini-series in 1941 called Holidays At Home This Year which suggested affordable summer activities for families.'


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