Prior to WWII, Britain was importing 75% of its food. When war was declared in September 1939 the German army attempted to weaken Britain by attacking the cargo ships with its U-Boats and E-boats.

In response to these attacks, the British Government launched its Dig for Victory campaign in October 1939. Citizens were urged to turn every available piece of land into vegetable patches. The campaign was enormously successful and it is estimated that there were 1 400 000 allotments in Britain by the end of the war producing 1.3 million tonnes of food.

Here are two of the campaign posters for this war effort:

dig for victory               dig for victory

Potato pasty was one of the way British housewives used produce from their gardens and allotments to supplement limited flour rations.

I found the following recipe which uses flour and potato:

  • 8 oz. flour (240 grams)
  • 1-2 oz fat (30 to 60 grams)
  • 4 oz cooked mashed potato (120 grams)
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • Water to mix

Cream the fat and potato until smooth. Work in the flour and salt and mix to a stiff consistency with water (if necessary). Not too much water is required for potato pastry, as care must be taken not to make it too moist.

Two cartoon characters, Potato Pete and Captain Carrot, lead the Dig for Victory campaign and featured in many of the Food Facts pamphlets published by the Ministry of Food from 1940.

Image result for Captain Carrot and Potato Pete

Rationing and the Dig for Victory campaign feature in my new book While the Buzz Bombs Fell – coming soon.

Have a great week