Sunday, 24 February 2013

Boosting our fat supply - wartime style

One of my criticisms of the modern diet is that it contains too much fat. Processed foods and ready-made meals seem to be stuffed full of it. Fat is an essential part of the diet, but too much of it and too little exercise is a dangerous combination. For us, the problem is the opposite. Finding our own source of fat has been quite a challenge so we turned to history for the answer.

During the Second World War, and in the immediate postwar years, fats were tightly rationed but the wartime Ministry of Food produced helpful leaflets that explained how to make the most of your rations and eat a healthy diet. One of the leaflets explained how to render fat from meat. We used this leaflet to extract the fat from joints from our Tamworth pig.

Pork was is short supply during the war years as pig production was low priority for the wartime government. Thousands of pig clubs were set up however in which people could together buy a piglet and raise it for slaughter. The pigs would be fed on kitchen waste (no longer permitted here in the UK), garden waste, foraged wild food and pig swill from the local council if the latter collected food waste separately. Typically, a council supplying swill would be able to claim a share of the slaughtered pig for use in local community restaurants called British Restaurants.

These pig clubs provided their members with pork and bacon over and above the basic meat and bacon rations. But they also provided their members with the opportunity to boost their fat supply.

The past has much to teach us. Looking around at people's diets these days, and the near criminal waste of food, I wonder just how many people need to relearn the lessons from history.

No comments: