This film is part of Free

What's for Dinner

Could the perennial question of what to cook for dinner have been solved forever?

Documentary 1940 9 mins Not rated


The challenge of what to feed her family weighs on the mind of hard-pressed Mrs Bond in this surreal wartime film made for the Ministry of Food. Director Ruby Grierson played a pivotal role in the success of the early days of the documentary genre, and made further films for the war effort. She was killed in 1940, the year of the release of this film, while making a film about the evacuation of children to Canada, when the liner on which they were travelling was torpedoed.

Ruby Grierson challenged her brother John Grierson, often referred to as the father of British documentary: "The trouble with you is that you look at things as though they were in a goldfish bowl. I’m going to break your goldfish bowl". She went ahead and smashed the glass, starting with her (uncredited) work on Housing Problems (1935). She told the working class residents who feature in the film "The camera is yours. The microphone is yours. Now tell the bastards exactly what it’s like to live in slums".