Art enthusiast. Loves painting, bushwalking and travels. Writing what I love sparks my passion. Sydney, Australia.
Published April 29th 2012
I was attracted to the book title when I first spotted it – Cold Meat and How to Disguise It: A Hundred Years of Belt Tightening. The old-style image and the interesting title on the front cover of the book caught my eye. I couldn't resist flipping through the book and I decided to purchase the book without hesitation.
Written by Hunter Davies, the book reveals how people have coped with wars and austerity over the past century. During the tough times, people were urged to economise for survival – avoid waste, make do and mend and more. Rationing and shortages also led to an emphasis on "creative" cooking and recipes. The book contains fascinating array of old newspapers, magazines, brochures and interesting advertisements; that's the great fun!
People needed to be thrifty in hard times. You'll find the ideas that they came up with are indeed witty and creative. I mean no disrespect, but somehow they will make you smile as some of them are remarkably hilarious and amusing.
For example, clothes rationing was required in the World War II, forcing people to wear the clothes they already had in their wardrobe. They could buy new ones if they had the right coupons. The available stockings were thick and heavy, and so women didn't really want to wear them at all due to discomfort. An interesting idea came out from young women – they would tan their legs with brown gravy powder and use an eyebrow pencil to draw a line up the back of their legs.
Knitting is another important survival technique - people would knit some old bits of string together to turn it into a useful dishcloth. War bride's cooking recipes were also found to be extremely useful to help war brides learn to make tea and cook eggs with ham so as to make their husbands happy. It sounds unbelievable but those war brides, who had been spending years in factories making munitions, got no chance in cooking experience.
This little great book is written in a light-hearted way offering tips and advice. Some advice can be very useful in today's economic condition. The book is truly a delight – a book that can uplift your spirit, and inspire you to spin things out of old and unwanted stuff.