|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 19th July 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Cheap Milk is Ready Now - New Rationing Schemes and Price Variations
The Ministry of Food’s cheap milk scheme for mothers and children is ready to go. This scheme provides a pint of milk at 2d. a pint daily for nursing and expectant mothers, and for children under five who do not go to school, whatever the family income.
Milk is free for families where the income is not more than 40s. a week (plus an allowance of 6s. for each child). This means that a man and wife with two children under five years of age, and an income up to 52s. a week can have two pints of free milk a day. They could have three pints if the wife was expecting another baby.
There is a form to fill in, but this is understandable in a case like this where large amounts of public money are being spent and must be accounted for. You get the form from the local food office or a welfare centre, or through the district nurse.
This is what is wanted : Your name and address, and the number and ages of the children who are to get the milk. Your form must be signed by some “responsible” person such as a minister, a doctor, a magistrate or trade union official or teacher somebody who knows you and expectant mothers need a certificate from a doctor, midwife, or health visitor.
Margarine and Cooking Fat
Margarine and cooking fat are the next things to be rationed starting from July 22nd.
Six ounces of butter and/or margarine a week will be allowed on the butter coupon in your ration book, beginning with No. 3. You can take all butter or all margarine, or some of each so long as it is not more than six ounces; but both butter and margarine must be bought at the same shop.
If you are already registered for your butter ration there is nothing more to do. You will be automatically covered for margarine. If you have not registered you should do so at once. You should also fill in the particulars on the cooking fats page of your ration book at once, and register with the grocer. The grocer you choose need not be the one from whom you get your butter.
You need not take any notice of the word “dripping” on the coupon, because it will not be necessary to ration dripping or suet at present.
With your cooking fats coupon you can get 2 ozs. a week of animal or compound lard, or, if you prefer it, margarine. The margarine would be extra to any you may have bought with your butter coupon.
Tea has been rationed. At 2 ozs. per head per week you will get roughly a quarter less than your normal supply. There is no need to register at any particular shop. Your tea coupons like your petrol coupons hold good anywhere.
Also, you need not use only one coupon at a time. You can use two coupons and get four ounces to last you two weeks. For the time being you will be paying the same price as you paid on July 1st.
The buff coloured page, after the sugar page in your ration book, is the one to use for tea. You may leave the whole page with your grocer if you wish, and let him tear off the coupons as he supplies you with tea.
Beekeepers are having a special allowance of sugar from the Ministry of Food. They will get ten pounds of sugar for each colony of bees during August and September. The local food office will supply permits to all beekeepers who give “satisfactory evidence” of the number of bee colonies they possess.
From July 14 the top retail price of new potatoes dropped from 2½d to 2d a lb. This holds good until July 31, when the new potato season ends.
The Ministry of Food announces a change in sausage prices. The top wholesale and retail price of sausages filled in sheep casings and sold at not less than ten to the pound is now increased by not more than 1d. a lb. This will affect mainly chipolata and cocktail sausages.
There will soon be no more iced cakes on sale in shops and restaurants. The Ministry of Food has made an order vetoing sugar being used, after August 5th 1940, for the outside of any cake, although chocolate coating may still be used.
After September 2nd 1940, it will not be possible to buy any cakes of this kind, nor will the making of candied peel and crystallised cherries be allowed. You will, however, still be able to get drained or cut peel and glace cherries.
The “days of grace” between the dates on which these orders come into operation allow bakers and confectioners to use up their icing sugar and get rid of their stocks of confectionery.
Increased prices for the main classes of fat cattle are in force from July 15th. These interim prices have been fixed after discussion with the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and apply for the period of 8 weeks ending September 9th. They may be reconsidered when the report of the Expert Committee which has been set up by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Secretary of State for Scotland has been received.
Peas and beans are plentiful this year, and many housewives are asking how best they can preserve them for winter use. Sad to say, the bottling of vegetables by simple home methods is firmly discouraged by the Ministry of Health, who believe that the danger of food poisoning is a grave one when bottled vegetables (not fruits) are concerned. So unless you are the proud possessor of a pressure cooker you will have to turn to other methods.
Most country people are familiar with the salting down of runner beans for winter use, but it is not so widely known that the method can be adapted for peas and broad beans. For the sake of those who have not yet experimented with the idea, this is how it should be done.
The runner beans should be young and tender and can be sliced or broken into short lengths. Many people prefer the latter way, as they think it keeps the flavour more than slices.
Take an earthenware or glass jar and put a layer of salt in the bottom, then a layer of beans, and so on. Be sure each layer of beans is completely covered with salt. One pound of salt is needed to cover three to four pounds of beans. Cover the jar with paper or cloth. In a few days the salt may have sunk a little and it will be necessary to add more, as it is essential that the beans should be entirely covered. Examine them at fairly frequent intervals to ensure this. If the jar is stored on a stone floor, raise on a piece of wood.
When wanted for use the beans should be carefully removed from the salt and rinsed several times, then put to soak in cold water for about 12 hours. Cook the beans for 25-30 minutes, drain and serve as fresh runner beans.
For peas and broad beans you will need glass jars with tightly fitting lids. Put a layer of salt in the bottom of the jars, then mix the peas or the beans with more salt before packing them in the jars, as otherwise there may be air pockets between the vegetables not filled with salt. Be very careful to have a thick layer of salt on the top, and if it settles down after a week or two put more salt in. The vegetables must be soaked for at least 12 hours before using.