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Food and World War One in the Borders

by Howdenburn Primary School

Pupils from P4, 5, 6 & 7 at Howdenburn PS in Jedburgh, Scottish Borders, have been studying World War One - and they decided to link this with their work as a Food for Life Pathfinder school. They got in touch with the Food for Life Team, who set their time machine to 1917, and sent down Tommy and Mary; two of their WW1 Ministry of Food representatives...

Pupils were split into two groups, and took it in turns to work with both Tommy and Mary. Tommy's group took the role of Army Food Planning Managers, and investigated some of the issues around how to feed the troops on the front line; such as what to feed them to keep them healthy and strong, how to get the food to them, and how to cook it in the trenches. Pupils weighed out the rations for the soldiers, and worked out some tricky conversions from imperial to metric measurements!

Mary's group took the role of Home Front Food Advisors, and they looked at some of the food issues facing families back in Britain. These included the impact of the German U-boat campaigns, the Women's Land Army, the harvest failure in 1916, and the rationing of staple items such as bread, butter, sugar and meat. Pupils then got to taste a traditional Scottish bannock; something that has sustained many a Scot since time immemorial. The bannocks were a huge success - and several pupils were overheard asking Mary for the recipe...!

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