The Wartime Kitchen and Ration Book Cooking – Day Three:
Eggs and Egg in a Nest: WW2 Mock Fried Egg Recipe
Today is day three of my Wartime Kitchen and Ration Book Cooking challenge, and today is all about eggs. Yesterday was a vegetarian day for us, and I made a rather tasty Woolton Pie, you can read all about it here: The Wartime Kitchen: Living of Rations with Ration Book Cooking – Day Two & Lord Woolton Pie. Janice and Fiona have also been busy in their wartime kitchen too, and you can read all about how day two was for them here: Farmersgirl Kitchen and London Unattached. But today is a walk on the wild side, enter the Black Market and the currency of EGGS! Whilst poring over my copy of Wartime Farm, that was very kindly sent to me by Fiona Smith at Octopus Books, I was intrigued to read that eggs became unofficial currency and were linked to the black market. The egg ration, according to BOTH my parents, was one of the hardest of rations to endure – we take eggs for granted today, but if you think how useful and nutritional eggs are in the kitchen for baking, breakfast and supper dishes, you can better understand how hard it must have been to try to live off one egg per adult per week. You were also allowed a packet of dried eggs in your ration, (one packet every 4 weeks; each packet contained the equivalent of 12 eggs) but they were universally hated, mainly due to not being reconstituted correctly; my mother still hates eggs to this day some 78 years after the start of WW2.
If you lived in the country you were more likely to have more eggs; I keep chickens, so during the war, my hens’ eggs would not only have been a boon for cooking family meals, but I could have engaged in a bit of “under the table” activity and maybe I could have sold them on the Black Market or bartered with my neighbours for other rationed ingredients. If you kept hens, you could give up your right to the egg rations, such as it was, and in exchange you would have received chicken meal/food. I have tried to keep RIGIDLY to the constraints of WW2 rationing and thus far we have lived exactly to our allotted rations, but today I am using one of my precious eggs, although I presently have about a dozen at my disposal! So, breakfast today was a very thrifty way of feeding TWO adults with one egg, and we both LOVED the recipe: Egg in a Nest: WW2 Mock Fried Egg. The recipe I made comes from a Ministry of Food Leaflet – Number 11 called Dried Eggs. I wanted to try some powdered eggs, but I didn’t manage to get any in time for my ration book challenge, so I used ONE shell egg as a substitute, as the original recipe calls for ONE reconstituted egg.
I saved some bacon dripping the other day (from another WW2 recipe that I made and will be sharing this week) and so I was able to add some extra flavour into these mock fried eggs, which were filling and very tasty as it happens. Served with a dollop of brown sauce, which was still available during the war, it made a wonderful breakfast for a chilly frosty morning. The recipe is below…….
Egg in a Nest: WW2 Mock Fried Egg
|Prep time||2 minutes|
|Cook time||5 minutes|
|Total time||7 minutes|
|Meal type||Bread, Breakfast, Lunch, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Serve Hot|
|From book||Ministry of Food; leaflet 11|
- 1 egg (fresh shell egg or reconstituted dried egg)
- 2 slices wheatmeal bread
- salt and pepper
This ingenious recipe comes from one of the Ministry of Food leaflets that were issued during WW2 and is leaflet number 11. The leaflet was all about how to cook with dried eggs and included recipes such as bacon and egg pie, egg cutlets, scrambled eggs and Yorkshire pudding. I was unable to obtain dried eggs, so I used one of my own hen's eggs in this recipe for my Wartime Rations week.
|Step 1||Beat the egg. Cut holes from the centre of each slice of bread with small scone cutter.|
|Step 2||Dip the slices quickly into water and then fry on one side (in dripping if you have any available) until golden brown.|
|Step 3||Turn on to the other side, pour half the egg into the hole in each slice of bread, cook till the bread is brown on the underneath side.|
|Step 4||The bread cut from the centres can be fried and served with the slices. Serve straight away with salt and pepper to season and some HP or Daddies sauce or brown Chop sauce.|
But on to my menu for today, day three:
Daily Meal Plan for Wednesday 7th November:
Breakfast: Egg in a Nest – Mock Fried Egg and two cups of tea with milk
Lunch: Leftovers – Woolton Pie with Salad two cups of tea with milk
Tea: Leftovers of Nettle and Watercress Soup (Recipe to follow) and two cups of tea with milk
And what I have left for the rest of the week is:
WW2 Rations 1940: Two Adults
Butter: 3 3/4 ozs (90g)
Bacon or ham: 200g (8oz)
Margarine: 6 1/2 ozs (160g)
* Cooking fat/lard: 200g (8oz) Used 20zs (50g) – 60zs (150g) left
Sugar: 14 1/2 ozs (440g)
Meat: To the value of 2/4d – about 2lb (900g)
* Milk: 5 pints (3000mls) – Used 1 pint (600ml) – 4 pints (2400mls) left
Cheese: 8oz (200g)
Eggs: 2 fresh egg a week – NOT taking this ration up as I have my own chickens
* Tea: 30zs (70g) left – Used 1/2 oz (15g) – 2 1/2 ozs (55g) left
Jam: 900g (2lb) every two months. 120g (41/2 ozs) left
Dried eggs: 1 packet (12 eggs) every four weeks
Sweets & Chocolate: 700g (1lb 8oz) every four weeks
As you can seen from my latest ration stores, due to eating leftovers, I still have a considerable amount left for the rest of the week, and I will be using some of my meat, cheese and butter rations soon, as well as some of my points. Points were put in place which you could use to purchase extra non-rationed goods; these included store cupboard ingredients such as dried fruit and pulses, tinned fish, meat or imported goods. 16 points were available in your ration book every 4 weeks, and those 16 points would enable you to purchase one tin of fish or meat, or 2lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of split peas, although, the points for these items did change according to shopping losses and the local market.
That’s it for day three, do pop back tomorrow to see what I am cooking up in my wartime kitchen, where I will be talking about the British Restaurants……bye for now, Karen.
Dave at eRecipeCards says
Wonderful series… hello my friend, been awhile since I visited. Going to catch up on the rest!
Thanks Dave! I need to add my recipes again, but it’s such a problem with photo resizing, and I have to edit all my photos before I an add them to the site…..that’s all that is stopping me! Will try to reduce at least one photo from each post so I can add them to eRecipes! Karen
I am with your Mum on dried eggs, what ever directions were followed they tasted nasty. My mother was mad as hell when she tried to make a cake using this super glue, as the cake was more pancake when it came out of the oven and she had wasted her precious ingridents on this experiment. (my mother was not a cook, she knew enough to keep you alive. A great egg and chipper when we could get eggs, usually from an aunt who lived in the country and breed chickens )
As an aside we were given a tin of peanut butter, having never seen the stuff and not knowing how to eat it, we followed the directions and spread it on our bread. This stuff was very dark brown and dried and try as one may not spreadable, but we would not give in and topped it with Jelly, laughed our heads off and thought the Yanks were nuts to eat this stuff.
We found out later that Jelly in American was Jam and Jello was Jelly . I still laugh when I hear peanut butter jelly sandwich, a vision of a slice of peanut butter topped with jello/jelly.
I have lived in America for 50yrs
Thanks so much for sharing all of your memories here, I love to hear people’s first hand experiences…..and I think that powdered eggs was a much disliked product during the war. What a shame about all of those lost ingredients when the powdered egg didn’t do it’s job.
I love the story of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich – yes, jelly is jello and jam is jelly……a language divided by two nations!
Why did you move the America?
Lovely to meet you through one of my wartime posts……day four tomorrow for me and I will be talking about the British restaurants!
I came on a trip, then met and married. Now it is many many years later and it is true “You can not go home” but one things for sure——the best of times are now !
I have so enjoyed your posts, brought back many fond memories. They were very hard and to some extent sad times. I lived in London and the bombings were terrible. On the bright side one learn’t to live in the moment and a very good habit to follow.
By following the war time diet, the drug stores will go out of business, less pills.
You are so right Alice, we all need to eat less and eat more vegetables, less visits to the doctor! Karen
Love your egg-speriment, Karen (groan) Love all those old adverts, the spam dish looks quite bizarre!
Hehehe Janice! It was basically fried bread with an egg in the middle, but, just one egg between the two of us.
The Kitchenmaid says
Karen, you never fail to amaze me! This is such an incredible post – I have the Ministry Of Food book (from the Imperial War Museum exhibition) and it too talks about the horrors of reconstituted egg. I read the recipe very guilty, thinking of the two eggs I had for lunch at home today (the decadence), but it also reminded me that I had a friend at university who used to make this dish. He called it Egg Windows – it was the first thing he learned to cook from his dad. Ah, memories. Have a great weekend!
Ah egg windows! That is a great name for this egg dish too! I am doing really well on the rations, I think I will make it right through the week without running out of rations, if I careful! I also have a couple of Imperial War Museum books on food, and they have proved to be very handy for extra research! Karen
Hi, I’ve just come across your page, I am at home planning my lessons on rationing and will be teaching my class cooking to tie in with our WW2 history lessons, I will be trying out this one for sure! Am on the look out for other ideas many thanks
Karen Burns-Booth says
That’s great news Caroline, please do leave a message if you have any queries.
Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand says
Gosh, one egg per adult per week. As you say it is very much something we take for granted these days. Thanks for running this series and describing so vividly the wartime rations Karen. I’m sure many of your readers are learning lots.
Thanks for popping by to comment Jacqueline, and also for your interest on twitter too! 🙂 The whole week has been a fascinating journey and I have discovered some new recipes that are as relevent today as they were during WW2. Karen
Fiona Matters says
I do find this series so interesting. The fried egg in bread idea looks fantastic! I actually really like it. I don’t think I could manage on just one egg a week! That must have been seriously hard work. I do love your food history articles. So interesting and well written.
Lisa Williams says
That eggs recipe is amazing thank you 🙂
Maya Russell says
Such and interesting recipe. The thought of dried egg sounds revolting. I hope we always have access to fresh eggs.
sophie buckle says
I loved this post passed it on to my Grandma who agreed it was fantastic thank you!
I was wondering if you had any information on what specific month (or better, the date) the rations ended in 1946?
Karen Burns-Booth says
Rationing ended at different times for different things, such as petrol ended in 1950 Jerry, so a definitive month is hard to say!
I was wondering if you had any idea what month (or better, date) the rationing ended in 1946?
Karen Burns-Booth says
I’ll check into that for you Jerry and get back!
Did you ever try this recipe with dried eggs? It’s not nearly as nice as with a shell egg (I couldn’t eat it at all — the dried egg is horrible. I had to eat around the centre of the bread so as not to throw out everything).
Karen Burns-Booth says
I DID buy dried eggs, and I have used them in WW2 recipes, and I have to say I was NOT a fan! My mum DID warn me, as she HATED dried eggs during the war.