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World War Two: Meals at home


Desserts and drinks in WW2

drinks - tea

Filling desserts were standard and expected by families in 1940s England, and the Government ensured that the ingredients were available - albeit often on ration.


Guest contribution

Flour in bags was always available which led to an increase in home cooking. Cakes, pies, tarts, dumplings were all cooked at home - using dried eggs in place of fresh eggs. I can't ever remember having 'shop made' cakes or pies. Much of this grain for the flour came from Canada at a great cost in human life for merchant seamen. If we left anything on our plates, we were reminded of the men who had died in getting it to us.

Spotted Dick was a regular and filling dessert, either served with custard or by itself. It was made with flour, lard and water, with some dried currants or sultanas if available. The lard was in place of the traditional suet. The ingredients were all mixed together and formed into a long roll which was then rolled up into a clean tea cloth and made secure by tying it up with string. Then it was placed into a saucepan of water and boiled till solid. If there was no dried fruit or sultanas available, the spotted dick was made plain and served with a dollop of jam.

Peter Johnson


Guest contribution

Custard powder always seemed to be available. It came in a tin just marked 'Custard'. I suppose it was a way of preserving eggs. So it was custard with everything - or nearly everything. It was usually thin and watery.

Peter Johnson


Guest contribution

As no fresh fruit was imported, we ate what was in season, either fresh or cooked: apples with custard, apple pie with custard, apple fritters, etc. There was also rhubarb which grew in most gardens, and was either boiled with custard or put in a pie with custard. Even with plenty of sugar - which was of course on ration - it still made teeth feel funny.

Now and again, there were dried figs, peaches and prunes that came in large wooden boxes, but they were on ration. They were soaked in water overnight, and boiled the next day. Then on went the custard.

Peter Johnson



Guest contribution

Basic tea was available. Adults drank it without sugar and frequently without milk.

Michael Sullivan


My parents drank sweetened coffee just before going to bed at night. The 'coffee' was something called 'coffee and chicory' which had to be perculated in a perculator for what seemed to me at least 20 minutes. The 'sugar' for sweetening was a saccharin tablet. My parents got so used to the taste of this brew that they continued with it even when rationing and shortages were in the past.

Treat drinks for children

Guest contribution

My grandmother used to give us children what she called 'raspberry tea'. It was a spoonful of her homemade jam in hot water, probably rather today's Ribena.

Pamela Brierley

I don't remember any drinks for children other than milk or water.

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