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40s Recipes

Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, came up with the slogan 'food is a munition of war - don't waste it'. 

Did you know, potatoes were one of food items that weren't rationed? We have highlighted a few sweet and savoury recipes that met the 1940s rationing regulations for you to try at home.  Have a go and let us know how you get on and how it tastes - send your photos on our facebook page

Sweet Potato Pudding


8oz sieved cooked potatoes    

1 oz cooking fat

level tsp salt      1 egg    2 dessertspoons honey

2 sticks diced rhubarb, or any fruit in season

Method:  Mix all the ingredients together and beat well, turning in the diced fruit last of all. Place in a fire-proof dish, and bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

Comments: This pudding was made by our Marketing Coordinator, Angela Clay. Angela said : "This pudding was delicious and a great alternative for using up my rhubarb, I even had seconds! I did cheat a little and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on top whilst it was still hot. A very yummy rationing pudding!"  

Sugar would not have been used in such a luxury way in the 1940s.





For each pound of potatoes, allow at least ½ pound  vegetables, say a cabbage, or any green vegetables in season, mixed with carrots, peas or beans etc.

Salt and Pepper and few tablespoonfuls of milk. Also a small pat of margarine per person.

Method:  Cook a large pan of potatoes, allowing them to steam off and dry in the usual way. Cook the selected vegetable in very little water with the lid on.

Peel and mash the potatoes, beating well, then pour in a little milk, add seasoning of pepper and salt, then the cooked vegetable. Serve piping hot plates, with a small pat of margarine on each portion.

Comments: The Champ was made by  our Marketing coordinator,   Angela Clay. Angela said "the champ was a nice alternative to plain mashed potatoes, in true rationing spirit, I did not have any meat with this meal, although I did cheat by adding some broccoli on the side".  Broccoli may have been used but was had to come by and it was only seen in season.

Potato Sandwich Spread


Boiled potatoes mashed with a little margarine or hot milk, salt and pepper, and flavoured with either a little vegetable extract or chopped parsley or mint....makes a tasty sandwich filling

Image: The potato sandwich was made by  Ben Jones. Ben said "It is actually quite nice although perhaps tipping the scale a little over on the carbs side!"

Middleton Medley

Beat some mashed potato with a little milk, including a little egg if possible. Pipe with forcing bag, or mould with a fork into little nest shapes. Bake these in a hot oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Fill nests with roughly grated raw apple mixed with jam to bind, and sprinkled with toasted coarse oatmeal or wheat germ.

Potato Drop Scones



4oz Flour        ¼ teaspoon salt      

2oz mashed potato      ½ egg            

1 gill milk /media/learning/library/130624_120_ration5.jpg(118ml)   

½ oz sugar                                                   

small tsp cream of tartar


½ level tsp bicarbonate soda

Fat for frying

Sift the flour and salt, then rub the potato into it. Make it into a 


stiff batter with egg and milk. Allow to stand for a time.


Sift in the mixed cream of tartar and bicarb. Prepare a greased girdle (or frying pan) and make throughly hot. Drop a spoonful at a time (you should be able to cook 4/5 at a once) and cook for about 2 minutes or until almost set and bubbles are breaking on the surface; the scones should be golden brown underneath.

Images: this pudding was made and photographed by Janet Small. Janet said "the scones were very simple to make and went well with some raspberries and strawberries, for a more modern twist we added a little creme fraiche on the side"

Potato Oven Scones


Here is a recipe made and described by our Domestic & Cultural Life Curator, Clare Weston.

The recipe states 4oz mashed potato so I had to guess the quantity to boil.  I boiled 3 potatoes weighing about 8oz pre-cooked which created enough mash.  There was a little left over but sadly I didn't have time to make another dish with this, something a wartime housewife would have done.

For fat I used unsalted butter but found I had to add a bit extra to create the dough mix.  For the milk I added a little at a time as suddenly the dough became a bit sticky.  Although I used the stated amount of baking powder I found the scones didn't rise that well, but that might not be the recipe’s fault!

For ‘hot oven’ I chose 200 degrees C & found the 2nd batch cooked in 13 minutes rather than the stated 15 minutes, so do keep an eye on them if you try the recipe.

They do taste like normal scones and the potato taste doesn't dominate.  However the recipe’s optional 1oz of sugar, that I added, does help.  By May 1940 the allowance per person was 8oz sugar per week, so this may not have always been an option. Without the sugar, jam spread on the scones would add extra sweetness. I wanted to try the coffee flavoured scones but didn't have any coffee essence (like camp coffee) at home.

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