Series 1: 1 x 60’ for Yesterday
To mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of food rationing in Britain, chef and passionate food lover Valentine Warner turns culinary time traveler to explore the food and recipes that kept wartime Britain alive. In a classic 1940’s kitchen he recreates some of the key recipes that kept Britain going through fourteen years of food rationing (1940 to 1954) from Woolton Pie to Mick Goose and reveals the tips and tricks that millions of housewives used to make what little food they had taste delicious.
From 1940 until VE Day and then for a further nine years afterward, food, fuel, electricity and clothing were all rationed at times, but none had such an effect on everyday life as food rationing. The responsibility for feeding 45 million Brits fell to Lord Woolton and his newly created Ministry Of Food who at first rationed only a handful of basic foodstuffs but soon oversaw restrictions on a wide range of daily staples. Rationing or no rationing, each dish Val cooks must be fit for the home front heroes of World War II because at the end of show Val hosts a meal for some very special invited guests including the doyenne of wartime cooking, Marguerite Patten. Ration Book Britain is a culinary journey through the food rationing of WWII and the challenging years that followed, bringing back to life recipes that kept Britain fighting fit.
Series 2: 4 x 60’ for Yesterday
International supermodel Jodie Kidd and former Olympic tennis player Andrew Castle join TV chef Valentine Warner, to explore how the spirit of 1940s rationing affected all areas of British life during the Second World War. Ration Book Britain, exclusive to Yesterday and produced by Optomen Television, will also hear first-hand wartime memories and tales of resilience and ingenuity, during what was a period of frugality. Catwalk queen Jodie Kidd has strong family connections with the Second World War, her great grandfather was Lord Beaverbrook, a key member of Churchill’s war cabinet. In Ration Book Britain – Homemade (15th December) she explores how women on the home front had to ‘make do and mend’ when it came to furnishings and fashion, whilst being expected to look their best at all times, to help boost morale. Under the guidance of an expert, she learns how to apply make-up 1940s style, using cherry juice for blusher, beetroot for lipstick and tea bags, as an alternative to stockings, for when supplies ran low.
Former professional tennis player turned TV presenter, Andrew Castle tells the unlikely story of how sport played an essential role in the war effort, by maintaining morale, keeping people fit and entertaining both the armed forces and civilians. In Ration Book Britain – Team Spirit he meets medal winners from the 1948 Olympics, who triumphed over adversity when the games were staged in war-ravaged Britain. Andrew also travels to Herne Hill Velodrome to meet former Olympic champion Tommy Godwin. Here, he goes back in time as he takes to the track on Tommy’s trusted bicycle, the same one he rode to victory more than 60 years ago.
In the second programme, he explores how a typical wartime Christmas was celebrated on a shoestring budget, and how food rationing gave rise to some surprisingly inventive festive cooking. Included on his frugal menu are: roast chicken with trimmings, Christmas pudding and a special wartime themed Christmas cake topped with mock marzipan.