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Christmas on the home front

The Story

In 1943, as Canadians face their fifth Christmas as a country at war, family cooks know that advance planning is key if they want to make all their traditional holiday dishes. In this CBC Radio clip, a home economist says flexibility is also important: wartime rationing means some ingredients may not be available. Assuming the Christmas pudding and mincemeat are already done, Dorothy Batchellor sets out a six-day schedule of list-making, shopping, baking and preparing for the big meal.

Medium: Radio
Program: Food Facts and Food Fashions
Broadcast Date: Dec. 10, 1943
Host: Dorothy Batchellor
Duration: 5:08
Photo: The Gazette/Library and Archives Canada/PA-108300

Did You know?

• "There is one thing the war has done for Canadian women," wrote Toronto Star food columnist Marie Holmes on Dec. 10, 1943. "It has relieved her of 'keeping up with the Joneses.' Display and extravagance in entertaining is no longer in style... The present trend, therefore, is toward serving suppers informally, usually buffet style."

• By December 1943, foods on the ration list in Canada were butter, sugar, coffee, tea and meat. Imported foods were harder to find or simply unavailable. For example, Marie Holmes's food column for Dec. 14, 1943 included a recipe for oat bars filled with meatless mincemeat. The usual date filling was, Holmes wrote, "a war food casualty." 




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