This film is part of Free
Austerity Britain reaches for the humble spud in this earnest wartime cookery film.
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. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.