chapter  7
Total war, global market and local impact: British women’s shifting food practices during the Second World War
ByNatacha Chevalier
Pages 16

By the dawn of the Second World War, British food practices and eating habits had been shaped by decades of imperial and global trade. All people, rich and poor, were accustomed to consuming commodities which originated from all around the world. The war radically changed this, as imports of food and other goods were drastically reduced. Many commodities were rationed, became scarce or simply disappeared, affecting the diet of the population and the day-to-day existence of British housewives. This exceptional wartime situation made visible the relationship between everyday life in Britain and the country’s relationship with the world of global commodities. Drawing on testimonies found in the Mass Observation Archive, this chapter explores the gendered interconnections between global trade and local practices through the lens of the impact of the wartime reduction of food importation on the everyday lives of those traditionally in charge of food matters, namely women.1