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Potato Pete

As the Monty Python catchphrase goes, and now for something completely different! I ran across Potato Pete during some of my research and thought he deserved a moment in the spotlight.

I found in the excellent book, World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd., that in September 1941, the British Food Ministry created the character Potato Pete and launched the Dig for Victory campaign to promote the idea for British citizens, in a time of war and food rationing, to plant and eat plenty of un-rationed potatoes.

KIng’s College in London’s Internet Archives Exhibition features the Potato Pete Recipe book, which notes…

Doctors advise each of us to eat at least 12 ozs. and if possible 1lb. of potatoes each day.

…and reminds us to save the cooking water as a base for soup, in addition to instructions on the various ways to cook potatoes and a multitude of recipes. The book provides recipes for soups and salads, breakfast and dinner, and even tea – who knew one could make scones with potatoes?

I intend to try out a few of the recipes as soon as I purchase a new set of measuring spoons – ones that measure a saltspoonful and a dessertspoonful – and as soon as I discover the conversion factor for a “gill” of milk.

In 2017, Country Life Magazine featured an article about Potato Pete along with a couple of recipes and the news that a book called Victory in the Kitchen – Wartime Recipes, a collection of recipes from the Second World War, has been published and is available from the shop at the Imperial War Museum.

Now I just need to get out of my desk chair and into the kitchen…

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019


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