Food Economy Committee Menu

The Hertford Food Economy Committee opened its “Central Kitchen” at Hertford Corn Exchange in January 1918. This is the menu from its first day.

The committee, chaired by Mayor William Lacey, opened the kitchen at the Corn Exchange in January 1918, with the support of the local council and the Prince of Wales’ Fund, to “enable householders to economize food, fuel and labour in their homes.”

Blockades by German U-boats prevented Britain from importing many foods and it was becoming increasingly difficult for many people to heat to feed their households. Central kitchens such as the one at Hertford sprang up across the country, with many large employers also creating subsidised canteens to ensure workers were sufficiently nourished.

The opening day menu at Hertford demonstrates that a three course meal of soup, shepherd’s pie, vegetables and rice pudding could be purchased for as little as seven pence, around £4 in today’s money.