Three is magic

Ministry of Food Food for Fitness leaflet

The Ministry of Food (please don’t mention or think about Jamie’s version) is one of those British wartime campaigns that you couldn’t really – in retrospect – make up. The premise was innocuous enough, educate and advise people on how to make the most of food rationing conditions. But the way it rolled out, with mad anthropomorphised fruit and vegetable characters (Doctor Carrot and Potato Pete) plenty of text puns and patronising hints, and lashings of make do and mend vigour, all seem to me to be peculiarly British in tone.

The Ministry’s leaflets and advice seem to have been well disseminated. As well as a popular daily The Kitchen Front broadcast on the Radio and Food Facts in all the press, films showed in cinemas. This suitably plummy film from 1945 is a particular tease because you can see all the lovely leaflets in the background. And yes, I did imagine being able to pop in and take one of each. For posterity, you understand.

Most of the Ministry’s leaflets had a good illustration or two on them, which of course catches my eye. My quivering illustration antennae think this one might be by Ashley Havinden. But I stand to be corrected – because sometimes it starts to sound like I think he drew everything around this period. Anyone might think he sponsors this blog.

So let’s just say this is Havinden-esque and leave it at that. It is a jolly nice blackboard and rubber, whichever way the penmanship debate swings.

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