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  • Writer's pictureJamie

How Pie And Mash Kept Londoners Fed During The War

One of the best bits about running a food cab is that it is helping to keep a London institution alive within another institution, and as long as there are great chefs to bake delicious pies, make oodles of mash and prepare a vat of liquor, as well as eager mouths to feed, this Cockney tradition will never die.

After all, even The Blitz couldn’t stop people from eating pie and mash.

Starting in January 1940, the government led by Neville Chamberlain brought in the rationing system to ensure that essential foods could be accessed by everyone during a time when a lot of trade routes in and out of Great Britain were marauded by submarines.

For the most part, the stiff-upper-lip mindset prevailed and people gave up a lot of essentials to win the war, but there were two major exceptions to this.

The first was fish and chips, which were still served regularly, even if the price went up significantly due to the difficulties of sourcing fish in those same submarine-filled waters.

The other one was pie and mash, which was set to be subject to rationing as well, which would have effectively forced every pie and mash shop on the East End to close.

However, public demand from the workers that were keeping Britain moving as it fought the war forced the hand of the Ministry of Food, and so along with the chippy tea, the pie and mash supper was free to sell as well.

This meant that the dish soared in popularity, as you could eat it without dipping into your precious ration points, and it became a hit not only with the people who had always tucked in but also with middle-class families as well as a warm, filling dinner in its own amazing right.

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