Now Becksie must confess that most types of history do not float her boat – knights at round tables, Vikings with pointy hats and very narrow boats, kings and queens of yesteryear! She isn’t being ignorant and understands why others find these subjects very interesting but for her they just don’t tick any boxes. Ian is quite into history as are Aunty Leah, Grandad Gray, Grannie Gray, Grannie Pugh and Grandpa Pugh (Becksie is not 100% sure of Uncle Phil’s thoughts but she knows for a fact he knows a lot about film history) so don’t panic Lizzie will by no means grow up ignorant of history.

However, all this said there is a little corner of history that Becksie LOVES! In fact it fascinates her! Becksie and her exclamations love food history! Well…….. she did say a little corner it’s not quite food history in general. It is the food history of the Victorian era (this gets an 8 / 10) and the food history of the second world war (this gets a 15 / 10).

history 4One day we will post about the Victorian era (would be so un us to do this in date order) but today and probably in a few up coming posts we will focus on the whole second world war thing.

So where to begin – well firstly Becksie sometimes thinks she was born in the wrong era – perhaps it’s a bit weird to say the following statement (and those of you who know Becksie will know this is a very un Becksie thing to say) but if Becksie had to be born in a different era she would weirdly chose to be born in 1916. This way when the second world war started she would have been around 23. Now obviously she would in no way want to have lived through the horrors and terrors that the war bought with it but she often thinks that catering during war time must have been extremely satisfying! War time rationing must have been INCREDIBLY hard but the ingenuity, courage and not sure of quite the right word so we’re going with brilliance of everyday folk trying to meet their basic needs is simply beautiful.

HISTORY 5If Becksie had of been born circa 1916 she is 100% sure that when food rationing was announced she would have been one of the people who would have had her twopennace worth to shout about! But……. as with most things once the cloud of steam had dissipated she would have got on with it, probably embraced it and having embraced it would probably have LOVED the challenge. Now this may be controversial but……. with all the food waste issues the world has………… we wonder what would happen if just for a while food rationing (before anyone says it we know this is HUGELY unlikely, would be HUGELY unpopular and would probably lead to a HUGE amount of crime etc etc) was bought back in! Would people eat better? Would people eat less? Would more people learn to cook? Would there be less food waste? We are not going to answer these questions but…….. you can probably tell what we feel!

Becksie's Grandad Gray

Becksie’s Grandad Gray

During this time people had to pull together to meet basic needs and it may be a romantic notion but in Becksie’s head this would have been quite nice. Certainly the stories Becksie’s lovely Nana used to tell her seemed to echo these sentiments. Times were hard, times were sad but times were also good.

Becksie's lovely nana holding a photo of her younger self

Becksie’s lovely nana holding a photo of her younger self

Of course shopping during these times was all about the butchers, the bakers, the greengrocers so given that time travel is not something that can currently be done and……… should it ever become available there is a good chance Becksie would chose to stick firmly with her original date of birth, perhaps this shopping experiment is our way of living in the past. They say we should learn from history and we can firmly say that in our view shopping of yesteryear is in actual fact the way forward and we dream that it will be the tomorrow!

history 2So where is this post going? Well…… as we find this era so fascinating (and Uncle Phil bought Becksie some beautiful books about wartime food for her birthday) we thought……. Over the coming weeks we might dip our toe into food history and in the not too distant future (and as another method of keeping this blog fresh and sexy haha) try our hand at a ration week! This said we must must must sort out our garden!

So here it is our starter for 10 and it could only have gone to a recipe Becksie’s lovely nana was famed for – Ginger Parkin!

Ginger Parkin (we must confess not made tonight for the post and...... to a slightly different recipe, but...... you get the idea)

Ginger Parkin (we must confess not made tonight for the post and…… to a slightly different recipe, but…… you get the idea)

Oh and……….. three more points – as it’s a wartime recipe the measurements are in old money, the recipe is an adaptation from  war time recipe from the book ‘We’ll Eat Again’ by Marguerite Patten and…….. it must be good as MS Patten has an OBE!

Ginger Parkin

This recipe requires the following props

A oven preheated to a temperature of 180c (the original recipe states a moderate oven and we think in the scheme of oven temperatures 180c seems moderate)

A cake tin – 7 by 4 inches (can be square, round, star shaped – your choice as long as its approximately that size or ….. you could use a smaller tin, make a deeper cake – the world is your mock oyster really)

4oz Self raising flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder or……. you could use plain flour and 3 teaspoons of baking powder.

1 teaspoon of   bicarbonate of soda

2 oz margarine or cooking fat

3 oz medium oat meal or rolled oats

1 oz sugar

2 tablespoons golden syrup

5 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon of ground ginger (now…….. we are adding this after publishing as …… one of our lovely readers spotted we’d missed out the main ingredient – ops!)

Here is what one needs to do:

Moderately pre heat that oven.  Line / grease your carefully selected cake tin. Sift all the dry ingredients together (a quick note on sieves – Team Pugh can never be bothered and since the great HFW shared his tip on sieving we only ever use this – put the stuff that needs to be sieved in a bowl and mix it with a fork – a brilliant time saving tip)!! Rub in the fat, then……… add the oat meal or rolled oats, sugar, golden syrup and milk and in the words of Michael Jackson ‘just beat it’! Spoon it into the cake tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes!

history 3


16 thoughts on “History

  1. Great post! I was only thinking the other day what would happen if rationing was introduced again, and we all had to dig up our back gardens and keep chickens, and unravel our wooly jumpers to make new ones. Would people in this day and age do it? I have my doubts…Unsurprisingly I LOVE the whole Make Do and Mend attitude!!

    • You know what…… I think if people had to do this it would be such a lovely time but…….. sadly I think it would cause uproar! The year without supermarketers and the make do and menders would however be in our element!!!!

  2. Great post!!

    According to my cookbook (The Cookery Year , bought for me by Daisy’s Grandad many years ago) you are spot on with your guesstimate of 180C being a moderate oven.

    Next time Daisy’s GG (Great Grandma) visits you should talk to her about war time cooking and rationing. She was a teenager when war broke out.

  3. Lovely, you know i’m onto all that war stuff -the nostalgia i mean not the war itself!!! – And i thought all along what u are doing smacks of that era, i also think i was born the wrong time have done for ages now, i was a baby then and obviously remember nothing about it all and it was just ending anyway-thank god-. I have some wonderful books when we meet soon will try and remember them. Carolxx

  4. Evening again, love reading the blog. I’ve found my mums really old cook book and in the back are recipes from my childhood that I thought were lost forever. Thanks for clearing up the moderate oven question as that’s what my mums recipes say. I remember my mum making apple crumble with breadcrumbs, cinamon and sugar for the crumble. Tried it a few weeks ago & it was brill! good way of using out of date bread up. thought you’d like that! One thing, if your recipe is for Ginger Parkin why is there no ginger in the ingredients whereas there is in mine?

    • Well spotted – you are of course right……. ginger parkin would contain errrmmm GINGER! Ooopps school boy error. 1 teaspoon of the stuff! We shall amend it now! Thank you so much for reading – LOVE the crumble idea – that’s got to be worth a go! xx

  5. Steak and kidney suet pudding, steamed in a china bowl with a white cloth and string. Straight out of WW2. I remember this with mashed potatoes and marrowfat peas. I will try to make this as a nod to your plans.

  6. Reblogged this on MossStitch and commented:
    Great blog post from Team Pugh. I am also fascinated by this period in History particularly the Home Front and the Dig for Victory Campaign which I am currently researching.

  7. Great post, adopting the make do and mend approach would probably help and lot of people and this country! Through choice we have a veggie patch and keep chickens in our garden and love doing this 🙂

  8. This comment isn’t about living without supermarkets, but about making do and mending, which others on here have brought up. I recently had 10 1/2 months of separation from my husband (we’re back together now) during which I lived most of the time (there were some exceptions, but for good reasons) on £20 a week, for everything – food, clothing, cleaning materials, and travel, though I did very occasionally allow myself a little extra for travelling (bus fares) if I felt I really needed it. The reason I’m telling you this is that like others have ,making do and mending was so exciting and worthwhile and I loved the challenge of living on this small amount. My daughter laughed once when I got so excited when she found 30p on a bus and let me have it because she wasn’t bothered abut taking it! (She didn’t know how much I was living on). It really is LIBERATING in many ways to do this. I found out about everything that was free or cheap, walked and cycled everywhere, and in many ways (but not in others…) had an amazing time. I didn’t scorn anything – even a half used (no not used in that way!!!!) loo roll….found on the Ridgeway. I still walk around with my eyes on the pavements looking for coins and pens or anything else that people have dropped!

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