The History Lesson
On July 4, 1954, while Americans celebrated their independence by gorging on hot dogs, the British celebrated being allowed to gorge on hot dogs.
That day the U.K. officially ended 14 years of food rationing imposed at the dawn of World War II. Back then, German subs attacked ships bringing food into Great Britain. Pretty awful considering it’s an island nation that imported 2/3 of its food supply.
To equally distribute what food there was, every Brit got a book of ration coupons redeemable at their local grocers for staple foods. An adult’s average dairy ration included 2 ounces of butter and cheese, a few pints of milk, and one egg per week. Pregnant women faired a little better, they got first dibs on fruit and twice as many eggs.
Meanwhile, the government urged folks to grow their own vegetables and educated the public about proper nutrition. In fact, some Brits — especially the poor — ate more healthily than they had before the war.
Even so, when the Germans finally surrendered, Brits were ready to feast like the good old days, but rationing dragged on for years. The war had almost bankrupted the country and imports were expensive. So it wasn’t until the mid-50s, nearly a decade later, that the last ration was lifted… on meat.
It was understandably a day of joy. An association of housewives partied in Trafalgar Square, people buried their ration books in mock funerals, and in a public ceremony, the Minister of Fuel set his on fire.
The Butcher’s Bloody Mary
Mixed by Jason Nicoli at Bird of Smithfield, a bar located in London’s Smithfield Market, one of the first places to open its doors at the end of food rationing in the U.K.
- 1 ½ ounces pork-infused vodka
- Tomato juice
- A few leaves cilantro and parsley
- A splash lemon juice
- ½ a bar spoon of Worcester sauce
- ½ a bar spoon of Sriracha
- ½ a bar spoon of salt
- 6 ice cubes
In a dimpled pint mug, muddle cilantro and parsley with lemon juice, Sriracha, Worcester sauce, and salt. Add the vodka and then fill the glass with tomato juice. Finally, garnish the drink with parsley.