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Derby - A taste of the ration book

Pupils have been learning about the delights of banana spread made of parsnips and other delicious substitutes after meeting pensioners to talk about the deprivations of rationing.

Children from Ockbrook School in Derby invited 14 senior citizens to talk about their wartime culinary hardships and how it affected their lives when rationing was introduced in 1939.

The school's catering department baked brown "apple betty" and carrot cookies at lunchtime, typical dishes that were made during the era. Other dishes that were devoured in the time of ration books included carrot fudge made with gelatine and sweet potato victory cake.

Ann Brain, 74, talked to pupils about how her mother made food go further. "My mum used to skim the cream off the top of the milk and mix it with margarine to make a butter substitute," she said. "It is interesting now with obesity being a problem, because we couldn't overeat during rationing really. We didn't have gyms to go to because we didn't need them. We got exercise doing the housework."

Neal Gupta, assistant head of sixth form at Ockbrook School, said: "The rationing period is an important part of British history and will help students to appreciate the hardship endured during wartime and how the sacrifices allowed us to live in the democratic society we have today." IB.

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