Would you fancy mock goose or mock apricot tart if it was put down to you? Would you even know what was in it? If you are part of the generation that experienced rationing, you may remember those dishes and have an idea of what they contain, I for one certainly had no idea! Spreading the joy of replacing goose with lentils (who knew!) is exactly what we’re aiming for in the new traditional experience that we have devised in the Food Team. Go back in time and visit Home Farm and cook the meals that people would have experienced during wartime in the 1940s, you even have the chance to dress up in the outfits of the time! Who could say no to cooking with Spam in a headscarf and dungarees?
Louise and Laura in the Food Team have been putting together lots of tasty recipes that really do give people the taste of this part of the past, where rationing was strict and people were encouraged to grow their own and not throw anything away – waste not want not! The whole landscape of Britain changed during these years (rationing lasted until 1954!) and the health of the nation actually improved! Must be all those lentils and dried eggs! Over six million extra acres of land were cultivated so that more food could be grown, so there was less reliance on imports, this would change the landscape of Britain forever.
Cooking these recipes in the kitchen up at the farmhouse really gives you sense of what it would have been like at this time, and makes the experience all the more real. Can you imagine being rationed to one egg a week, which would mean any recipes containing fresh eggs had to be swapped with their dehydrated replacements? I certainly couldn’t, (Joseph Herron would be aghast selling an eggless sponge in his bakery!) and can picture all the housewives at the time experimenting with these new-fangled ingredients to desperately try and recreate the dishes their family loved and were used to. This one especially significant during such an unsettling time for the nation, when home comforts would have been greatly relied upon for a bit of normality.
If you would like any more foodie inspiration to whet your appetite, Louise has kindly given me the recipe for the potato pastry that she will be using in the mock apricot tart, if you want to try it out at home!
Potato Pastry Recipe
4oz smooth mashed potato
Pinch of salt
Rub the fat into flour and salt
Mix in the cool mashed potato
If needed add a splash of water to make a soft dough
Use as needed, it will need to be blind baked before you add your filling
We use this pastry to make mock apricot tart and serve it with mock cream, yum!
For more information, to book the traditional experiences, or see the dates available, please contact the Group & Venue Sales Team on 0191 370 4026 (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm) or visit http://www.beamish.org.uk/experience/1940s-wartime-cookery-experience/