When Victory in Europe was declared on 8th May 1945 the British nation rejoiced. After nearly six years at war, the country could finally return to some sort of normality. But before the return of normal life there was cause for a celebration or two… or three… or four!
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And what better way to celebrate victory than with a traditional British street party. On VE Day and the days following, streets across Britain were filled with tables and chairs as people packed the roads, pathways, lanes and walkways to celebrate a momentous victory.
Bands played, flags flew and the air was filled with fireworks as neighbours pooled food and the drinks were flowing as communities came together to celebrate as one.
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But just what sort of food were people eating at these street parties? Well Royal Circular has some ideas just in case you wanted to recreate that 1945 feeling!
- Dripping Sandwiches – That fat that is left when you cook a joint of meat, well that is dripping. Back in 1945 it was considered a delicacy to put this in between two slices of bread. Dripping sandwiches were a popular choice at VE Day street parties.
- Lord Woolton Pie – First created at the Savoy Hotel in London, this was a popular dish throughout the entire war. It consisted of diced potatoes and vegetables with a potato or pastry topping. Most likely to be a street party centrepiece.
- Pork faggots with onion gravy and mash – Faggots were meatballs made of offal and off-cuts wrapped in fat and fried. The perfect accompaniment to this dish would have been onion gravy and mashed potato.
- Homity Pie- Another pie but a popular choice for a street style celebration. This pie consisted of potato, onion and leek filling with a cheese topping. A favourite with any Land Girls who may have taken a break to join a street party.
- Corned Beef Hash- Because of the meat rationing, corned beef was a firm favourite. Mix it with onions and bake with mash potato and you have yourself a 1945 hash.
- Liver Casserole- More offal and for some it truly is awful. The less said about liver the better.
- Eggless Fruit Cake- Eggs were rationed throughout the Second World War so people had to learn to bake without them. Eggs may have been off the menu, but that didn’t mean sweet treats were.
- Potato Scones- Another mashed potato dish but a favourite for all who attended a street party.
- Prune Sponge- It was once again an eggless sweet treat but it was sweet nonetheless.
- British Victory Cake- Again eggless but nonetheless a symbol of victory. Containing raisins, all spice, cinnamon, ground cloves and cocoa powder.
So there we have it, they were just a small number of the dishes you could’ve expected to have seen at a typical VE Day street party.
As lockdown has determined that we celebrate VE Day 75 in different ways, it seems the right time to try your hand at recreating a few of these dishes. A simple Google search will throw up a handful of recipes, we at Royal Circular might give them a go too.
Now where are those prunes?….
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