What Was It Like To Cook In The 2nd World War?

In this era, if there are video and online games like the Rise of Kingdoms  (for more information about this game, your can visit this website) that simulate world war, there are also recently published books that describe how it had been like during the war. In this post, we have come across Cooking in wartime that describes what it was like to cook during the war and how the people then adjusted to the situation.

Recently, the most charming book by Manon Henzen was published under the title ‘Cooking in wartime’. It contains dishes and recipes from the first half of the forties of the last century. A period in which creativity was called upon, something that we also find today, when it comes to meatless food, for example.

Never eaten so healthy

Before the war, the Netherlands was to a large extent an importing country when it came to vegetables. But in wartime, you have to fall back on your own land for all the food. So grasslands were plowed and many cattle slaughtered.

It is striking to read that in the first years of the Second World War people never ate as healthy as they did then. Lots of vegetables; the population was also called upon to create vegetable gardens themselves. But unfortunately, after the war things immediately went the wrong way.

eat! past

Manon Henzen is a piece of food! Past. The historic cooking studio in Nijmegen. From that passion for old dishes, she noses in all kinds of historical writings and books. In this way, she is shifting somewhat towards the culinary historian’s business. But it is difficult, if not daring, to write about food in those war years in so few pages. Yet she has selected thirty twisted fun recipes that – and that’s how it is meant to be – are easy to make today. And the book (you) only costs € 12.50. That’s less than 42 cents per recipe.

The Dutch Open Air Museum made the media for its theme Grugelijk Tasty with the fact that our distant ancestors ate dogs. If we have to believe the text of Henzen, people ate roof hare in the war. That appears as a rabbit in a recipe.

Available at All book stores and if you want to shop online, buy it here at the real book store , and not at BOL
The books the Manon Henzen makes for Het Zwarte Schaap publishing house have significant titles. For ‘Cooking in wartime’ there was ‘Cookbook of the Golden Age’. But to be honest, they are too small in size and have too few pages to cover this load. It is a selection of recipes from a chosen era with a somewhat historical context. Consider it a stepping stone to culinary history. Because, on the other hand, what can you expect for that money?

No tulip bulbs

In the Introduction the author goes in great steps through the history of the forties. We get to know Messrs Louwes and Hirschfeld, who manages the Dutch food supply in those days. On the one hand, this meant a concern for the Dutch people and, on the other hand, cooperation with the occupier.

Although (as a result of that) eating was very healthy, the Hunger Winter has become a characteristic period for wartime food for us today. In this booklet, there are no recipes with tulip bulbs, no sheep meat, no dandelion or nettle recipes, no dog or cat. But the roof hare.

If we look at Wikipedia, the Hunger Winter is not a direct consequence of Operation Market Garden, as suggested in a paragraph of the introduction. Of course, it was a time when it was clear to most Germans that they would lose the war and that more extreme decisions were made. And Market Garden also started in September 1944. But the real hunger is a direct result of the railroad strike that the government proclaimed in exile and the German response to actually block the western part of the Netherlands for a period of six weeks. Do you want a strike? Therefore no other transport, no food transport via land or water. Dutch people were then encouraged to eat a lot of vegetables.

Funny is that Henzen is surprised that she came across kohlrabi and other vegetables in a vegetable garden booklet or garden advice. That’s not as strange as it might seem when you consider that all Kohlrabi was converted scale century in Germany – and perfectly well in the Netherlands. And paintings from the Golden Age show what was known about vegetables.