Saturday, 25 February 2012

Weekend Cooking - A Collection of Occupation Recipes by Lillie Aubin Morris


For some reason I had always wanted to visit the Channel Island of Jersey, and last July we did. We were not disappointed. It was very strange, I instantly felt a connection with this island that lies closer to France than England. During the course of the week we spent there we visit several places that had been on my list, including the Jersey War Tunnels. You can read about our trip to Jersey HERE and I wrote four posts about the War Tunnels - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. We enjoyed our week so much that we returned for a second week in October. During the October trip we visited several of the Jersey Heritage sites and it was at that site that I picked up this book.

Jersey was during the Second World War heavily protected against the Allies by the German Army. Therefore, food was in short supply.  There was a black market, but in essence food was scarce and after D-Day things became worse. The International Red Cross Ship; The Vega didn't arrive until 30th December 1944. By this time, the population of Jersey had spent more than 3 years living on what foods they could find, grow and improvising. Trying to keep life as normal as possible. This little book is a collection of recipes, recorded at the time, either by Mrs Morris or from the Jersey Evening Post. 
Poverty Cakes (Page 11)
"Scraps of meat or fish can be turned to good account and made to go a long way if mixed with the following ingredients: one egg, two cupfuls of milk, quarter teaspoon of baking powder, pinch of salt, sufficient flour to make a paste. Roll out as for a scone, cut in squares or rounds and fry in hot fat. The cakes should puff up and are very light"

Potato and Tomato Casserole (Page 14)
"2lb potatoes
1 tin tomatoes
1oz butter
pepper and salt

Melt butter in a small pan, add potatoes cut into quarter inch slices, put potatoes into the fat for a few minutes over a low gas. Turn into pie dish, cover with tomatoes and a little pepper and salt. Bake in a moderate oven until brown. The liquor from the tomatoes maybe used according to taste"

Sugar Beet Coffee (Page 4)
"Wash sugar beet and grate roughly. Roast the pieces in an oven if gas is available, or if sufficient wood and tar to give a fair heat in coal oven. When roasted, mince the pieces finely and use as coffee"

As I read through this little book, there seems to be much more than a few recipes within its 30 pages. I recall the jar of jam made in 1942 and now archived at the War Tunnels. 


A reminder of the hardships faced.


Weekend Cooking is hosted by BethFishReads

18 comments:

  1. Oh cool!!!!!!! I lived in Guernsey for the better part of a year in the 1980s when I was doing my doctoral research. I love the Channel Islands, and I'm so happy I was there in the days before they became world-famous. The German occupation was horrible for the residents, who in the 80s could still vividly remember. Jersey is a lovely island. Now you need to visit Guernsey & Sark.

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    1. Absolutely Beth. We did a day trip to Guernsey in July and loved it. It is on the list, in addition to Sark and Herm.

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  2. This book is a wonderful piece of history. It's humbling to think about the hardships the people suffered during those times and still they made the best of it.

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  3. visiting Jersey would be so interesting..but that 'occupation' food sounds rather harsh.

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    1. It is very interesting Caite. It does indeed sound harsh, but then I guess it was difficult and frightening times.

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  4. Ive been trolling all over your site reading about Jersey! Do you think my Kids would DIE if I made them an Occupation Dinner?!?! This reminds me a bit of one of my mom's Depression recipes for mock apple pie. No apples. They used layers of Ritz crackers which were then soaked with lemon juice and baked.

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    1. Hi Libby, thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed Jersey! I guess they improvised quite a lot during those days. The Potato and Tomato recipe doesn't look too bad, and I may make something similar. Did your Mom keep a recipe book that has survived?

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  5. What a fascinating post; your trip sounds so interesting!

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    1. It was a very fascinating trip.

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  6. Thanks for the little history lesson. I know next to nothing about the Channel Islands. You've aroused my curiosity!

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    1. Jama, If you get the chance do visit. It is a lovely Island and full of history, with a mix of continental flavour!

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  7. This is a fascinating post! Now I'm off to read the other entries from your trip...

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    1. JoAnn, I hope you enjoy your virtual trip. I have written up all of our first week and day one of our second week with more to write. Stay tuned!

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  8. I really love good budget recipes that use up leftovers :)

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    1. Quite - reminds me of the bubble and squeak dinners of my childhood and the ones we still have!

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  9. What a great post--very educational.
    I'm thinking that Sugar Beet Coffee doesn't taste anything like coffee.. but anything hot and flavorful to drink I'm sure was welcomed.

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    1. Christine, I suspect your right. From the War Tunnels there was also references to grinding down hazelnuts and using that instead of coffee.

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  10. what a wonderful book!

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