Quotes from The Virago Book of Food: The Joy of Eating
Fruit, like vegetables, was distributed according to supply, but was so scarce that an hour's queuing for a pound of cooking apples was thought to be worthwhile. For many people fresh fruit became a luxurious memory. Once again it was a matter of growing your own or making the most of what you could get. One Hampstead woman with four small children and not enough money to make ends meet remembers: 'Our blackcurrant bush was a treasure. We used to have a few - about five each - for lunch sometimes, and collect blackberries on the Heath for fruit pies, and with the glut of plums we could make puddings that even our billeted refugees liked.' A Manchester housewife remembers one of the rare arrivals of oranges: 'Somehow, some oranges arrived and I carefully cut the rinds and sugared them and made strips of sweets, quite a delicacy, and later a friend with whom we had shared them, asked us to tea and produced jellies in little cups from a packet she had kept as a treat. We made a bit of jam by going out of the city to pick blackberries and we had gooseberries in the garden, and also a few apple trees.'
One lady remembers to her astonishment watching a monkey toying with a banana at the zoo. She hovered, filled with moral righteousness,outraged complaints on the tip of her tongue, only to realise the animal had been given a potato wrapped in a more seductive skin. Another family who managed to get hold of a banana, after showing it to everyone and meticulously sharing it out, could not bear to part with the skin. They arranged it on the pavement and watched, from behind their curtains, the reactions of passers-by.
Bombers and Mash
The Queue at the Fish Shop by Evelyn Dunbar
Imperial War Museum