Chapter 16: The myth of mock recipes

Britain_Queues_For_Food-_Rationing_and_Food_Shortages_in_Wartime,_London,_England,_UK,_1945_D24983As the War went on, the effects of rationing started to be felt. The government issued information about various recipes that would make the best of what was available. Then, from time to time, we heard about Mock Recipes. These recipes were meant to use ingredients that would give the impression of the original recipe.

One such was Mock Fish Cakes. This recipe is rather like the original, but without the fish. The taste of fish was meant to be inserted by anchovy sauce (and where would you get that ?) or maybe Worcester Sauce which one could get from time to time. Otherwise, fish paste, which was readily available, could be used. (Here’s a recent recipe for Mock Fish Cakes I found online).

766px-Lea_&_Perrins_worcestershire_sauce_150mlAnother I have seen recently is a recipe for Apricot Turn-over. Where would the Apricots have come from ? At that time, you could not grow any of the existing varieties in the south of England leave alone the north.

Another recipe I saw sultanas among the ingredients. In England ? In World War Two ?

I think that most of the talk about mock recipes started long after the war was over. In my personal experience, my own family never got involved in making mock anything. My mother cooked what was available. I do not recall any acquaintance who indulged in mock cooking during the War.

I imagine that cooking of mock recipes would have been amusing for some people, but I do not believe that serious cooks would have found the time to try it.

The finished article would never have tasted like the original.

Growing your own vegetables became all the rage*, that is, among those who had some space. Our garden was little more than the size of a billiards table. Some local parks were opened up as allotments which enabled some people to grow all the vegetables they needed.

* The clip below illustrates the growing of vegetables during the war and how parks we’re dug up to allow more allotment space.  The clip is by Terry’s first company British Movietone News and in the last scene it features his great friend cameraman Paul Wyand and film editor Raymond Perrin as the neighbours – Ian.

However, vegetables were seldom in short supply from the greengrocers.

Next chapter: Chapter 17: Billeted with the Head Cook

© Terence Gallacher 2015.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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