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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Tinned Peaches

by iwasawarchild

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At home in West Hartlepool
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Contributed on: 
08 November 2003

Food rationing during the war meant that we could not get many of the things children now take for granted. Tinned fruit was particularly difficult because the ration coupons needed for just one tin amounted to perhaps all of one person's tinned food for a month. At the start of the war while Daddy was alive he would bring us tins of this and that from the ship but after he was killed we had just the rations.

We would share one tin of fruit on special occasions such as a birthday or Christmas Day. It would be served with a small helping of evaporated milk as cream and we had to eat it with lots of bread and margarine. Presumably this last would fill us up so that we did not want the non-existent second helpings.

The choice of fruit at the grocery was limited to whatever was in stock at the time. Tinned pears or fruit salad were most common but very occasionally we got what my mother called peaches. These came as long pieces of yellow fruit in sweet syrup. They had a very smooth texture and I found them delicious, better even than the one piece of cherry in fruit salad, over which my brother and I often quarrelled.

After the war fresh peaches eventually arrived in the shops but they did not taste at all like the wartime tinned peaches. Then rationing ended and tinned peaches were available whenever you fancied them. But they did not taste like the wartime tinned peaches either. This was disappointing because I preferred the wartime peaches.

Years later, on holiday in the Caribean, I had slices of fresh mango for breakfast and realised that our wartime peaches had been mangoes.

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