Food and Canada during WW2

Part of my reason of making this blog in the first place, was because I am very interested in life as my grandmothers and great grandmothers and great great grandmothers (and the grandfathers too) lived. Especially when they were at the same point in their lives as I currently am. Part of my inspiration, was watching shows like Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime farm from the BBC. But when I watch (and re-watch) the episodes, I end up researching more into what life was like over here. Specifically while watching Wartime farm.

I am slightly more connected to that era – in that my grandfather fought in the war, and my grandma (they were married after the war – in 1948) was just a girl trying to figure out life. She didn’t come from a family with money (barely any actually). And they were still recovering from the years of the Great Depression.

Anyway – What I was trying to get to with all that rambling, is that I found this website called Wartime Canada. And on it, an essay titled “Food on the Home Front during the Second World War”

Here are a few “did you knows” that I learned while reading it (And you can too, by clicking the link above)

Apples and Lobster were two of the earliest things to be “re-branded” as “Canadian” and by eating more of them, you were being more Patriotic. This was partly because of the surplus. Overseas markets were out of the question at this time, but there were still apples growing and lobsters being caught.

(Side note- I wish I could have read this essay before my grandma passed away earlier this year, so I could ask her about it more. I know she worked in a hospital during the war, and I know she helped knit socks to send over to the soldiers, but there are other “women’s” efforts listed here, such as “a jam for Britain” that I am almost certain she would have participated in.)

Also, Earlier in the war effort- “Victory Gardens” in empty lots and front yards in cities and towns were actually discouraged by the Canadian Department of Agriculture. They said that the inexperienced city folk would waste valuable resources (like garden tools, and fertilizer) in their attempt, because the materials needed to make those things, were needed by the war effort. But by 1943, after protests from avid gardeners and an improved seed situation, they reversed their position, and victory gardens were actually encouraged.

During this time, leading nutrition experts estimated that  about 60% of Canadians had a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Programs and campaigns about healthy diets and eating right were launched, starting in about 1941. The slogan of the Food Rules: “Eat Right, Feel Right – Canada needs you strong”  (below is a link to a photo of the slogan on an envelope)

Rationing: In July 1942 – Sugar; August 1942 – Tea and Coffee; December 1942- Butter; March 1943- Meat.  Rationing received favourable public support as well, during, and after the war. (My other grandma, who was much younger during the war, still has their ration books. My great grandma kept them, and my grandma has done a great job in holding on to them as well. I have the scanned images of them, but they are on my external hard drive that is at my parents house, otherwise I would include it here)

I do wish that it was easier to find Canadian information about the war effort – We are usually either mixed in with the UK or with the US. But at that time, we were still a very young country, and were still flying the Union Jack. So it is easy to get us mixed in with all the others.

Also included in this article are a couple recipe names that I intend to  google and then attempt to make myself. Like a beef stew recipe from Nellie McClung (I wrote a report on her in school whenever we were studying the Women’s right to vote movement), and “Canada War Cake”.  I’m sure If I could go through all of my grandma’s old cookbooks, there would be a recipe (or two) for the war cake in there. I will probably have some better luck if I make a trip downtown (after everything is cleaned up from the flood) and go to the Glenbow Museum.

Just one final note about Wartime Canada. – I will be scanning and sending them some of the war-time things I do have from both sides of my family. I feel it would be a waste to not share it. I just need to get my new scanner and find some time.

And One last thing- I will try and get follow Along Friday back up and running… But next week, and almost the whole month of July is going to be pretty busy, so I’m not making any promises this time.


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