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Christmas feasts, episode 4: WW2 rationing & postwar absurdity

Annie Gray looks back on festive food in the 20th century – from suspect dishes made under rationing to joyful postwar creations

Published: December 24, 2021 at 12:06 pm
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Annie Gray looks back on festive food in the 20th century – from suspect dishes made under WW2 rationing to joyful postwar creations pickled in aspic and coated in piped green mayonnaise. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, for the final episode in our mini-series on Christmas food through history, she also touches on the best wartime cake recipes, Fanny Craddock, and putting bananas in Christmas pudding.


Previous episode: Victorian merrymaking

Inspired to cook up some treats from the past? Browse our historical recipes:

  • Nesselrode pudding – a delicious Victorian alternative to traditional Christmas pudding
  • Buttered beere – a sweet, slightly alcoholic drink that warmed the cockles in Tudor times

Annie Gray is the author of At Christmas We Feast: Festive Food through the Ages (Profile Books, 2021)

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Ellie CawthornePodcast editor, HistoryExtra

Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.


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