26 March 2020
By Tim Koch
Tim Koch produces a HTBS ‘nothing (much) to do with rowing’ post, in The Dry Season Bottom-of-the-Barrel Series.
Revisiting my 2011 three-part biography of Geoff Morris, who, as Morris K. Morris, won the 1923 Diamond Sculls at Henley less than 18 months after taking up the sport, I was reminded that in 1951 he returned to the UK after living in the United States for 14 years. I noted some surprise at this, writing:
He left America, a land of plenty, to return to live in a dreary and run-down Britain, a country still suffering from the effects of war and which only fully abolished food rationing in July 1954.
To illustrate this, I posted a picture of a British adult’s food ration for an entire week in 1951.
Those who are currently causing shortages by unnecessarily bulk buying food and other items, leaving many shops looking like something out of the old Soviet Union in a bad year, should note that those on the restricted diet produced by wartime and post-wartime rationing were healthy and well nourished; we need far less food than we think we do.
In 1939, Cambridge University scientists fed some volunteers on one egg, one pound (450g) of meat and four ounces (110g) of fish a week, one-quarter of a pint (140ml) of milk a day, four ounces (110g) of margarine, and unlimited amounts of potatoes, vegetables and wholemeal bread. They also did intensive exercise to mimic physical war work. It was found that the subjects’ health and performance improved and that the only negative result was a distinct increase in wind. If we adopted similar dietary restraint now, there would be no food shortages, we would be healthier – and the flatulence would assist with social distancing.