Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sheila Ripley and Jean Tully interviewed by Juna and Mana for Food Forever

We lived in Cheshire England, the war was on, the war started in ’39. Food was rationed, we were only allowed so much per week per person. We were only allowed one egg per week per person. The food that was rationed for families was generally termed as fats which was butter or margarine or lard plus sugar and meat. Meat was rationed in a different way instead of them saying you can have so many ounces per week it would go by price, so they may say that for this period of time your meat ration would be a shilling. Therefore when you went to the butchers you would look around for the cheapest cut. You may get a lot of cheap meat or you may decide to get two chops. We were rationed because we were at war and we were an island and we got as lot of our food from different countries. The Merchant Navy sure helped us out. The convoys coming across the Atlantic they helped us out with food. Sometimes the rations were decided on by whether there had been a lot of shipping that had been bombed or torpedoed and there would be not as many ships coming in with food so then we knew that our rations would not be as big. We were often hungry. Oranges were very, very scarce and the only people to get oranges were expectant mothers and toddlers for the vitamin c. I don’t remember oranges at all and I never ate a banana until I came to Canada. Even sweets were rationed, sweets and chocolate you couldn’t just go to the store and buy some you needed a ration card. We couldn’t believe the variety of food when we came to Canada; rows and rows of cookies I remember particular. Even now I prefer to shop in a small shop where I can only see so many cookies so I don’t have to choose from 50 packets of cookies. We had never seen so much food. Well the ration was on for ten years by the time we came over so we had never seen so much food. We came over in ’49 and the rationing went on until ‘53/’54. The war was over in ’45 but we were still on ration. After the war we sent food to Germany and Europe. We were in need but they were more in need.

Coming to Canada

Friends of our lived in Chilliwak and my brother had just got of the army just after the war and the friends said come on over to Canada, it’s a beautiful place and lots of work and of course England was in a real big turmoil in 1946/47so he came over. And my Mum decided, right we’ll follow, so we followed him in 1949. I was 21 (Jean) and I was 17. You have no idea what a big change that was….we are still getting over it! Everything was so different, the amount of food….you could eat and then eat again if you wanted to. I remember coming over on the train and the waiter came to see what we wanted to eat and we chose ham, I think. He brought two plates and put them down in front of us, there was five of us and then he went back to get more food but we thought that these plates were between all of us because it was such a huge amount of food and what we were waiting for was more plates and knives and forks. I think he was quite stunned when I asked is this just for me? I think that after you have been with limited food for a long time you don’t need as much and I do really think that we were all very, very healthy children. And we have said between ourselves and friends of mine, “if only we could get back to the rations during the war”, everything was given to us for a purpose. It was the best food available at the time and obviously it was enough because none of us starved to death, although we often went to bed with an empty stomach. There was no sense in saying well go and get a cookie or a piece of toast. Well if you were permitted so many slices of bread a week and you ate two on Tuesday you could forget bread on Wednesday. But some of us liked sugar but we got very little per week so my brother liked sugar and he would eat his very rapidly whereas I would eat mine slowly. I still do, I still ration myself.

You didn’t drop into anyone’s home for a cup of tea or a coffee or whatever, you just didn’t. And you never went anywhere during a meal ‘cause they couldn’t help you and if they did help you then the lady of the house was probably going without.


Spring Cabbage and Strawberries, rhubarb, which I am enjoying right now. I very seldom ever buy fruit or vegetables out of season. I don’t think they are worth having; there is no taste to them. I’d rather wait which of course we did in England. We didn’t have the opportunity of having all the food that you have in Canada. A lot of the food in Canada comes from the States or Mexico whereas in England it was a much bigger trip to come so we generally ate things in season.

Cooking Changes

Our Mother made all of our bread in England and the flour is so different over here and the recipes just didn’t work so we had to change to Canadian recipes. Very, very few English recipes worked over here unless you adapted them so you had to learn by trial and error.

2018-05-03T11:41:47-07:00May 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments

Ena Hooley interviewed by Mana Lief for Food Forever

M: When you were a child, how did you get your food?

E: The local butcher, and we had a garden, and we had chickens, so that’s about it.

M: How did you keep your food?

E: Well, there weren’t any fridges, when I was a child. We had a cold pantry, usually in the shade at the back of the house. It had long, sometimes marble slabs, and that’s where we kept milk, and fish, and everything.

M: How was getting food different when you were a kid?

E: Well, when I was a child, we were lucky to get food. It was just after the first world war, 1918, when I was born, it was what they called the Depression. Not a lot worse then what they have now, they call a recession. And then when I was about thirteen it was really bad so we had to grow as much of our food as possible, and use our chickens, and my father used to catch rabbits, I used to go with him to help catch the rabbits. I grew up in Durham, County Durham, on the North East coast of England, a coal mining town.

M: What is your favourite local food?

E: Fish.

M: Tell me about a food memory you have from childhood.

E: We always had a big pot of soup, or broth as we used to call it, hanging on a hook over the coal fireplace. A big bowl of soup with a big ladle in it, it was always there when we came home from school. And homemade bread. We didn’t know any different then. It was during the second world war that sliced bread came out. I remember that. But mostly home-made bread was what we had. My mother used to make about ten loaves at a time. We used to have a fender in front of the fireplace and I remember all the loaf tins when I came home from school, full of bread rising. And we used to have the coal oven. It was a round one. We didn’t have an electric stove when I was a child, that was mostly later on, when I was a teenager.

M: What seasonal foods do you eat?

E: Seasonal food, well, it depends on the season, in the summer there’s fruit, and berries, and in winter mostly vegetables, I like asparagus in the spring.

M: How do you overwinter your food?

E: Mostly by freezing.

M: How and where do you shop for food?

E: Locally, as much as possible. The market for fresh vegetables and fish and chicken.

M: Why did you choose your recipe for the cookbook?

E: Oh, parsnip and carrot soup is very nutritious, good for you. Easy to make. and the pineapple cake has no fat in it, it’s very moist and makes a nice big cake. I have Yorkshire puddings there because they remind me of family gatherings, we always have Yorkshire puddings, especially in England. And my granddaughter, whose name was Yarrah, she used to come to this school, and she and her father used to have a competition who could eat the most Yorkshire puddings. And she always won. She could eat about twelve at a time.

M: How did obtaining food change when you moved to Galiano?

E: Well, we shopped in the city, in Ontario,mostly in supermarkets. Here, we shop locally.

M: What foods make you think of spring and why?

E: Spring….mint, parsley, asparagus, lamb, mint sauce and lamb, parsley..and fish.

M: What foods make you think of summer?

E: Strawberries, fruit, making jam, blueberries,and freezing; preparing for the winter.

M: What foods make you think of fall, and why?

E: Pumpkin pie, root vegetable and soups, I make a lot of soups, and freeze them, too.

M: What foods make you think of winter, and why?

E: Turkey, Christmas pudding, pork and bean soup, mincemeat pie.

2018-05-03T11:39:56-07:00May 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments

Mind boggling level of activity: report at the Galiano Club AGM

Martine and Nicole and Genny presented an overview of the Food Program’s sum of activities, and the main impression I was left with was that it’s one of the most vibrant, intensive community food programs I’ve ever heard of.

From 1995 to 2000 I was information services director at FarmFolk/CityFolk — — so I was privileged to spend most of my time building databases and directories listing community food and agriculture projects in BC and abroad, and meeting organisers at conferences and workshops.

I can safely say that this program is simply amazing, and a world-class example of an effective small community program. Serious kudos, especially to Jane Wolverton’s leadership and vision, and organisers Janice Oakley and Martine Paulin. (OK, back to the AGM)

2018-05-03T11:37:34-07:00May 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program|0 Comments

Kathy Benger’s Nettle Beer Recipe

This is a typed version of the hand written recipe:

Nettle Beer


Into a pan holding one and half gallons, pack as many young fresh nettle tops as you can, with three young dandelion plants, leaves and roots alike, but with no flower-buds. Now wash nettles and dandelions thoroughly in salted water and scrub the dandelion roots free of fibres. Then rinse them all free of salt and put them back into the pan with the rind and juice of two lemons, half a pound of rhubarb sliced and bruised and three or four pieces of root-ginger about the size of hazel nuts. Then put in as much cold water as the pan will hold, set it on the stove and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for half an hour.

Then put into a basin one pound of demerara sugar with an ounce of cream of tartar, and strain on to it the infusion in the pan, pressing the residue lightly to express all the moisture. When, in a few hours, the yeast has multiplied and there is a good ferment working, strain off the beer into strong screw-topped bottles and screw down firmly. The beer will be ready in five days.

35, Princes Avenue,



2018-05-03T11:33:24-07:00May 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments