The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.


Potatoes 1940


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Potatoes 1940

6 mins United Kingdom Director. Jay Lewis

Austerity Britain reaches for the humble spud in this earnest wartime cookery film, sponsored by the Ministry of Information. While a no-nonsense narrator delivers practical do's and don'ts - "never use cold milk - it makes them sad and heavy" - a model-of-efficiency housewife demonstrates how to save fuel, preserve goodness and achieve that "nice floury quality". And with recipe suggestions ranging from the depressingly drab (jackets stuffed with leftovers and chopped onion), to the downright distasteful (grated-potato pudding crust, anyone?), it's a startling reminder of just how food habits have transformed since the 1940s.

If you find the taters a little bland, the filmmaking is rather lacking in seasoning too - especially when compared with the wonderfully funny Public Information films of Richard Massingham, or the extremely punchy 'Food Flash' series. Other culinary delights from the MOI's Cookery Hints included: Herring; Oatmeal Porridge; Steaming and Casserole Cookery.

Directed by

Jay Lewis


Government sponsored film




Ration Book Britain




United Kingdom



Read lessRead more


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later