recently I am trying to convince my father to tell me about his childhood years. I am making lots of notes for teh future generations about a life in Poland 60 years ago
I also asked my dad what they were eating during the war. He spent the majority of the war time as a boy in the rich farm next to Warsaw and Minsk Mazowiecki, next to a small town called Siennica. They had fish ponds, cows, fields etc, so they were not hungry there. But for the first 2.5 years of the war - until 1942 they lived in Zaglebie - it was a Polish enclave between the General Gourernor and Silesia. Since this region was very industrial, but it did not have villages where one could buy a food, it was really difficult to find a food and the ratios for Poles were small. My father remembers that they were eating mainly: bread with margarine and a jelly from red beets. Instead of a regular coffee or tee they were picking up acorns from the oak trees to prepare a coffee! My father as a boy was also picking mushrooms in the parks around, which they ate later.
My grandmother (father's mother) died when he was 12 years old, in 1942 on Tuberculosis. She probably could live longer, but the malnutrition speed up it.
If any of you have any memories of what your family members were eating during the war, please share with us
Joyce wrote """Oh my!!! I was told that acorns were poisonous to eat-but yet squirrels eat them. I hope no got sick drinking acorn coffee."""
As far as I know in UK we did not get as far as acorn coffee (but it is well-known that Angliks are tea, not coffee drinkers! ) during WWII, but from my contacts with people who lived during that time in Occupied Europe, acorn coffee was the norm as real coffee was retained by the occupying Nazis. I would think that boiling acorns in water would negate any toxic substances - if there had been poisonous effects, I should imagine they would have been widespread and I have read no reports whatsoever of this type of event. What I have been told by the people who drank it, is that it tasted awful!!!!
'You don't have to be tall to be a big man!' Leslie Rae 2006
I remember visiting my cousins in Czechoslovakia in 1970 and eating acorns for the first time. We had no ill effects.
Then again on a walk with another cousin just a few years ago we stopped and we ate some berries along the roadside that I could not tell were safe or poisonous - but, of course, they were perfectly safe. Happily there were some wild rose bushes right next to them with ripe rose hips, so I was able to introduce her to these vitamin c rich treats.
I suspect some of the knowledge is regional and often forgotten...
I just read a short story from a life of the POW - a Polish soldier in the German camp during WW II. They mentioned there also that they ate beet marmelade for 365 days in a year! Interesting. I wonder how such marmelade really tastes.