Recipes for police families in times of near starvation in Britain in the First World War


By April 1917 the British Food Controller advised the nation to eat as little bread as possible. As potatoes were almost unavailable in towns, drastic measures to feed the nation at home were needed. Advice to police wives through the police journal was to substitute eating bread and potatoes for swedes or mangold-wurzels (usually used as cattle feed and said to be very unpalatable), which were reputedly plentiful and inexpensive. Because mangold-wurzel was so unpalatable, the Food Controller’s Office experimented with recipes to improve its palatability – four of these recipes were published in the police journal The Police Review:

"I.
1 lb. mangold-wurzel. 
¼ lb. vegetable butter or dripping. 
2 small onions. 
Pepper and salt. 
Cook the mangold-wurzel in the butter for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Then add the onion (which has been previously chopped) and pepper and salt. Drain for a moment before serving on cooked lentils, buttered rice or cheese sauce.

II.
1 lb. mangold-wurzel.
2 oz. vegetable butter or dripping.
2 tablespoons of stock (vegetable or meat).
A little pepper and salt.
Cut the mangold-wurzel into small dices. Dust them in wholemeal flour. Place in saucepan together with the butter and stock and let simmer till tender, but care must be taken that the mixture does not boil. Serve as a vegetable."


III
1 lb. mangold-wurzel (cut into dice and cook as for No. 1)
Drain and then dip them into a batter made from the following:- 1 egg; 1/4 lb. flour, 2 oz. bread crumbs, sufficient milk to make a nice frying batter.
Fry in vegetable butter and other cooking butter or dripping"

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