Partying 1940s Style: Part 2 – How can you make party food without flour?

5th May 2020 / Museum, Museum blog

For the second of our VE Day party blogs (answering those really important party questions) we consider how you make party food without flour?

The current shortages of a few items in our shops has come as a bit of a shock to us all. We are not accustomed to being rationed to one pack of toilet roll or two packs of pasta. However in 1945 rationing had been in place for five years (and would remain for a further nine).

Rationing was introduced by the British government in January 1940 it was intended to ensure that, at a time of national shortage, everyone had an equal share. Rationing was managed by The Ministry of Food and ration books were issued to every man, woman and child.

Basic foods such as sugar, meat, fats, bacon and cheese were directly rationed by an allowance of coupons and you had to register with particular retailers to purchase them. While queueing outside of shops is a new experience for us, for the 1940’s housewife it became part of daily life.

With so many shortages people had to become creative. To help the struggling housewife make the most of what was available and ensure that nothing went to waste the Ministry of Food produced publications which gave suggestions for different dishes. As did some of the producers of key ingredients such as Stork margarine and McDougall’s flour.

These recipes come from booklets and pamphlets in the museum collection. They are full of useful recipe tips, such as using vegetables to make ingredients go further…

…to using cheaper, more readily available cuts of meat:

This is all well and good but some of these recipes use flour and this is a rare commodity at the moment. So back to the original question. How can you make party food without flour?

Here are some of our favourites from our collection:

Or how about something savoury for the 1940’s key worker?

Ok so we agree it is not easy to bake without flour! But just in case you do have some hiding at the back of your cupboard why not give some of these a try?

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could try one of these decorative celebration cakes…

…if these are too adventurous, how about one of these cakes?

Whatever you decide to make, stay safe, stay in and party on!

Tomorrow we consider that most important of party questions… What should I wear?


You can read more about rationing on the Imperial War Museums website