Shopping in London

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On her return from London, Molly gave a number of talks and guidance sessions locally and she was valued as a local ‘expert’ by the regional MOF office in Cardiff. In November 1942 she recorded two programmes for The Kitchen Front at the Cardiff offices of the BBC. In these she was asked to provide a number of basic recipes which were then vetted by the Ministry. Vetting by the Ministry would not be anything sinister in these circumstances, it was more a case of trying to incorporate ingredients into recipes that there may have been a glut of (carrots come to mind) or trying to reduce the importance of ingredients that were scarce.

Molly recalled that her biggest problem was a shortage of butter and cooking fats. The reason for this was that Britain relied heavily on imported butter, lard and margarine. Convoy shipping space for butter and fats was extremely variable for the first three years of the War and the Ministry were always on the lookout for hints and tips on how to cope with a lack of fats and oils. Eventually, matters were made easier by the import of American bacon which was valued for the amount of dripping it produced.

The photographs on these pages show some of the wonderful photo opportunities created by Molly's shopping trips around the London markets and recorded by the MOF photographer. She is seen here with her husband Archie. The fishmonger photograph on the left is interesting, for the Ministry had constant problems with the supply of fish across the country and the varying quality of what could be had. They were always on the lookout for useful fish recipes. I don't know if Molly took any fish recipes with her but this photograph suggests she did.

(Final photograph)



The View for Sunday 4 December 2000

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