Remembrance Day has come and gone - my few historical talks preceding it forced me to delve into the subject more than I ever had before and afforded me a greater understanding and appreciation for the events and sacrifices that we all know happened but don't often sit with and think about. Understandably it left me feeling all the things you normally associate with remembering war, but also with an unexpected (or maybe expected in my case!) urge to celebrate - perhaps as a counter-balance to the solemnity of the occasion.
I've been mulling this over for some time now: combining history and food into a World War II dinner party. The last thing I would want to convey is making light of this time by throwing a party in which the horror of that era is covered up by Carrot Fudge and Victory Cakes, but the real people of WWII are what I am aiming to highlight. While war was waged, life went on and people had parties! They made do and made the most of it. That is what I want to capture.
And please, for a moment, let's think about all the make do recipes of WWII. Rations. Dried fruit. Carrots. Mystery replacers, fillers, beefer-upers, flavours. We can have some fun with this.
The tentative line-up is as follows:
- Woolton Pie
- Carrot Fudge
- Spring Beauty Cake
- Victory Sponge with Fake Whipped Cream
- B.Y.O.I.D.A. (Bring Your Own Illegally Distilled Alcohol, obviously)
I am (with good reason) very nervous about serving plates with names like "Spring Beauty Cake" to my friends, near and dear, so I will be testing and documenting these recipes in advance of feeding them to guests. The World War Two Dinner Party adventure begins!