Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Meat rationing ends in 1954

As Marguerite reports in Victory Cookbook (Chancellor Press, 2002), February 1952, saw the new Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip embark on a Commonwealth tour.

At that time, Britain still was far from having recovered from the ravages of WWII. Meat, the final rationed item, was not deregulated until June 1954. When at long last queuing for limited supplies of food was no longer necessary, people gleefully tore up their ration books.

The end of meat rationing was timely. A few months earlier, a disease had killed many of the nation's rabbits, particular in Kent, where the population was nearly wiped out. During the war and post-war years, rabbit had helped to eke out the few ounces of meat allocated to each person.

A month earlier, fats had been taken off the ration. This too was cause for celebration. Then a "frantic call" came to the food guru at Harrods, asking what to do with pastry that had turned sticky and greasy. During rationing, people had become unfamiliar with handling rich ingredients. They didn't know pastry had to be refrigerated between rollings.

Ms Patten had a cooking show on BBC Television, and during a period of freak weather conditions, an episode became visible in America. When a call came in reporting that US watchers could see "a dame making a pud," BBC and Marguerite Patten realized that hers was the first British broadcast to be received on US television by direct transmission.

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