You just cod-n’t make it up!

Sunderland’s chip shops felt the effect of war in a surprising twist to rationing.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 3:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 5:54 pm
Officials from the Sunderland Divisional Food Office are pictured discussing ration book issues on Wearside in 1944.

Echo archives have revealed how, in 1944, there was a shortage of frying fat in the town.

And it got so bad, the Sunderland Food Control Committee had to apply to the Ministry of Food for an extra allocation.

An Echo story from June 7, 1944, explained more.

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It said: “Although extra supplies of fish were sometimes available, the fish fryers were unable to supply it to the public because of a lack of fats.”

The shortage meant fish shops were having to close one out of every two days of the week.

And sometimes, shops were even having to close for whole weeks at a time.

However, it wasn’t the only way that rationing was affecting Sunderland’s food supplies.

Another Echo archieve shows that the area’s miners were in the middle of a wrangle – over cheese.

Colliery canteens had previously been given an allocation of cheese for miners to take underground.

But the conditions on the coalface meant the men drank a lot of water – and when they ate cheese as well, it was ‘having an adverse effect’, said the Echo in 1944.

The lack of cheese take-up led to the allowance being taken off the miners by officials in the area.

But there was a demand for it to be restored – and this time, the miners asked if they could have the cheese in their home rations.

That way, ‘their wives could cook it with an ordinary meal’, said the Echo at the time.