History Class, Uncategorized, World War 2

A Taste of History: The Fabulous Carrot in World War 2

 

dr. carrot
Having a hard time getting your kids to eat their vegetables? Maybe Doctor Carrot can help!  

Greetings all! The end of May marks this site’s first blog-iversary!

Looking back over the last year’s posts, I’ve found a few from the early days that I thought might be interesting for those of you who are newer followers. Just for fun, I’ll repost them this month, along with my new weekly content.

So! On to the Fabulous Carrot in WW2.

The summer of 1940 found London suffering under the German Blitz. Europe was overrun, the British Expeditionary Force having barely escaped annihilation on the beaches of Dunkirk.

German U-boats threatened to isolate the British completely, disaster for a people heavily reliant on imported goods. Prime Minister Winston Churchill recorded in his History of the Second World War that the only thing that ever really frightened him during the war was the U-boat peril.

At risk of being starved out of the war, the Ministry of Food, steered by Lord Woolton, instituted a large scale program of rationing and conservation, and encouraged the people to plant Victory Gardens.

The programs were successful, but required the people to adapt. Many foods that had previously been staples were unobtainable.

One instrumental “filler food” was the carrot. Carrot recipes ‘cropped up,’ everywhere, from carrot curry to carrot ‘lollies,’ to Woolton Pie.

The carrot’s popularity was bolstered by hints the government publicized that perhaps one reason for the success of the RAF pilots during the Battle of Britain was their high carrot consumption, which improved their eyesight. Perhaps, posters speculated, carrots could even help members of the public see better during blackouts!

 

eat carrots

While the vision-enhancing powers of carrots may have been exaggerated, the programs were successful. In fact, according to some sources, the rationing and food programs led to improved nutrition, health and I.Q. scores – blessings amid the trials.

If you are interested in finding out more on this topic, following are a couple of my sources.

As for me, I’m craving carrot sticks!

Stolarczyk, John. “Carrots in World War 2.” World Carrot Museum. Copyright 1996-2015. http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html

Waller, Maureen. London 1945: Life in the Debris of War. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2004. Print.

On the U-Boat threat: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/battle_atlantic_01.shtml

 

11 thoughts on “A Taste of History: The Fabulous Carrot in World War 2”

  1. Hi Anne – this is great … and has given me something extra to add in to my post for Victoria Day here in Canada – with reminiscences of home. Lovely to read – and congratulations as you roll towards your first ‘versary! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I’m so glad you came on here. It’s neat to recall these little neato snippets of history, but I’m just so glad you’re here, writing in the midst of all motherly chaos. You rock, Friend. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My mum and dad endured WW2 and used to bang on about carrots and how they improved eyesight – particularly night vision. I don’t know how true that is, but can tell you that we planted some just the other day! Just in case the RAF needs me…A carrot museum? – really??? Happy blogiversary, Anne – excellent site – but you hopefully know that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, the carrots can’t hurt, right? And it’s good to know you’re prepared for the call!
      I’ll admit, I have used the eyesight angle to get my kids to eat theirs- true or no, whatever gets the veggies eaten! 🙂
      And thank you so much! Kind folks like yourself have made it a quick and enjoyable year.

      Like

  4. One story I heard many years ago Ann was that carrots were often used to disguise armaments carried in open trucks so that the Luftwaffe would be misled. I wonder how true this is? No reason why carrots couldn’t double up I suppose!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, that’s an interesting one! There are so many interesting stories counter-intelligence stories from the era, I wouldn’t be surprised! Thanks for sharing

      Like

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