Food in WWII


Anyone who knows me knows that I take my food seriously. Never mind the danger to my family or me, the deprivation of my daily requirements of food would probably be enough reason for me to go to war.

Luckily enough I never had to go a day without food(although it would have done me no harm). during WWII however some of my family had to do with tulip bulbs for food, apparently it tastes a bit like onion.

Even though none of my family ever mentioned this, I do know that not every cat was assured of any of its 9 lives during the war.(I hear it tastes like chicken) But that was the case in the Netherlands and most of the other occupies countries.

Although food wise Britain and the US fared better then the occupied countries they also had to ration their food.



This poster encouraged people to save peelings and food waste for the ‘pig bin’.


Shoppers wait patiently in a queue. This photo was taken in London in 1945. There had been rationing in Britain since 1940.


One thing there was no shortage of was rabbits, so rabbits stew was not so much a popular dish but rather a dish born out of necessity.


Rabbits could be caught wild and the government encouraged people to keep them to provide food. This recipe uses rabbit and was adapted from a pre-war recipe which used cider. The wartime version uses grated apple instead.

If someone wants to try it out, below is the WWII recipe for Rabbit stew

  • 1 whole rabbit, cut into joints
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1oz flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2oz dripping
  • 2 bacon rashers, de-rinded & chopped (if available)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 pint (600ml) water or stock
  • 1 cooking apple
  • fresh herbs (as available)


  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Tablespoon
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Strainer
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Peeler
  • Frying pan
  1. Put the rabbit to soak in cold water with the vinegar for 30 minutes
  2. Remove and dry well
  3. Mix the flour with the salt and pepper and coat the rabbit joints
  4. Heat the dripping and add the bacon rinds.  Then add the rabbit joints and cook steadily for about 10 minutes or until golden brown in colour
  5. Remove from the pan
  6. Add the bacon, onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes then return the rabbit to the pan
  7. Add the water or stock and the grated apple and stir as the liquid comes to the  boil and thickens slightly
  8. Add the herbs
  9. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  10. Quickly put dish into the hay box and leave for 4 to 5 hours
  11. Serve with seasonal vegetables.


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  1. Great post. Have you had the chance to read Lizzie Collingham’s “The Taste of War?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dirkdeklein says:

      I’ll put on my ever increasing list


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