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The Rations Challenge: Forty days of feasting in a wartime kitchen, by Claud Fullwood

21 February 2020

JUST in time to be on the bedside table for Lent as the 75th anniversary of VE Day approaches is Claud Fullwood’s The Rations Challenge: Forty days of feasting in a wartime kitchen (Lion Hudson, £12.99 (£11.70); 978-0-7459-8077-5).

The author, who has worked for the international aid agency CAFOD, once decided to take a break from her comfortable suburban lifestyle and live on 1943 wartime rations for Lent, to “explore abstinence as an exercise in solidarity” and change her perspective. Now in a small rural town and on one third of what she earned then, she invites others to take up the challenge — while she herself is thankful that she has not had to become a foodbank client, but knows “too many friends who have”.

This thoughtful, informed, and fascinating book crosses various boundaries of time, economic status, and contemporary global circumstance, and suggests ways to bridge the generation gap. Fullwood acknowledges a debt to the late Marguerite Patten’s Victory Cookbook (1995), and her recipes introduce younger readers to potato pastry, mock cream, and much more — but not (glory to you, O Lord?) powdered egg.

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