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!
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