Day 4 of the “WHILE THE BOMBS FELL” Blog Tour w/author @bakeandwrite #RRBC @4WillsPub

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my fellow member-authors of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, also known as Robbie.  Robbie has dropped in today to talk to us about the myths about eating carrots so let’s listen in.

Take it away, Robbie…

Carrots help you see in the dark

While the bombs fell is a collaboration between my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton, and me and tells a fictionalized account of her life as a small girl growing up in the small English town of Bungay, Suffolk during World War II.

I can remember when I was a young girl, growing up with my three younger sisters in Cape Town, South Africa, being frequently told by our mother that eating carrots make you see in the dark. I always believed that this was true and that if I ate my carrots, it would help improve my eyesight especially at nighttime.

When I was doing research for While the Bombs Fell I came across an article about a World War II propaganda campaign which popularized the myth that carrots help you see in the dark.

During the 1940 Blitz, a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, the German bomber planes often attacked under cover of darkness. Country wide “blackouts” were enforced by the British government to make it more difficult for the attacking planes to hit their targets. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was also able to repel the German fighter planes by using their new and secret radar technology. The on-board Airborne Interception Radar (AI), which was first used by the RAF in 1939, had the ability to pinpoint German bombers before they reached the English Channel.

One RAF night fighter ace, John Cunningham, nicknamed “Cat’s Eyes” was the first English pilot to shoot down an enemy plane using AI. He racked up an impressive 20 kills of which 19 were at night. In order to keep the AI technology under wraps, the Ministry of Information apparently told newspapers that the reason for pilots like John Cunningham’s success was that they ate an excess of carrots which gave them better night vision.

Whether or not the Germans believed this tall tale is unknown, but the British public, including my mother, believed that eating carrots would give them better nighttime vision.

Bread and vegetables were never rationed in Britain during the war and the Dig for Victory Campaign was introduced by the British Ministry of Food to encourage people to eat more vegetables which didn’t need to be imported. Advertisements encouraged families to start Victory Gardens and to try new recipes using surplus foods like carrots and potatoes as substitutes for those less available like flour.

While the Bombs Fell includes a few recipes that were shared by the British Ministry of Food during WWII. I have included one below:

1942 Wartime Christmas pudding

(1942 recipe book)

Carrots were used in many recipes during WWII to add bulk, moisture and sweetness. The Ministry of Food in Britain spread the word, via newspapers that carrots were responsible for the success of the British fighter pilots. Of course, it was the secret radar system that was responsible for the excellent shooting by the pilots, but the British public did not know that. They bought into the myth that carrots would help them see better during blackouts.

Ingredients:

450 grams (1 lb) whole-wheat flour, 120 grams (4 oz) sultanas, 450 grams (1 lb) brown bread crumbs, 120 grams (4 oz) butter, 45 ml (3 tablespoon) dried egg powder and 90 ml (6 tablespoons) water or 3 eggs, 225 grams (½ lb) sugar, 120 grams (4 oz) grated raw carrot, 180 grams (6 oz) currants or chopped dates, 90 grams (3 oz) peel or stoned and chopped dates, 5 ml (1 teaspoon) nutmeg and spice (if available), milk to mix, 5 ml (1 teaspoon) lemon substitute (white vinegar or citric acid mixed with water).

Method:

Wash the dried fruit and dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth. Grate the butter and rub it into the flour and breadcrumbs mixture to form crumbs. Add the sugar, carrots, spices, dried fruit, lemon substitute and the chopped peel or dates. Add the beaten eggs and enough milk to mix moisten the whole mixture. Spoon into a well-greased basin, cover with a cloth and steam for eight to nine hours.

***

WHILE THE BOMBS FELL

WHILE THE BOMBS FELL EBOOK COVER

Blurb…

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

AUTHOR BIO:

Robbie Cheadle

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

You may connect with Robbie via…

Website

Blog

Goodreads

Twitter

***

 

Friends, thank you so much for supporting Robbie on her tour stop today.  To follow along with the rest of this interesting tour, please drop by her author page on the 4WillsPub site.

If you’d like to take your own books on a similar promotional tour, you may do so by clicking HERE!

Until next time…

 

 

44 Comments

  1. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    I don’t see how carrots can hurt seeing that it has lots of vitamins and minerals in it.

    Congratulations Robbie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They definitely don’t hurt you, Shirley, they are good for your general health including eye health. They don’t make you see in the dark though and it is quite amusing that this myth that was started in an attempt to hide the new radar from the German’s, has been kept alive and well for so many years. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For heaven’s sake! I seem to remember something about the Vitamin A in carrots being good for your eyesight, but I like your story better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vitamin A is good for your eyes and your general health, Liz, but it doesn’t make you see in the dark. It is a great story though and it is amazing how many people still believe it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another awesome blog tour post for “While the Bombs Fell,” Robbie! Sharing and enjoying a great read on my kindle too… I love historical fiction and I’m learning a lot, not only from the book–but from your awesome posts as well. Shine on!

    Like

  4. peggyhattendorfcom

    Fascinating blog post, Robbie. I need to add this book to my TBR list.
    Thanks for hosting, Nonnie.

    Like

  5. Your explanation about the myth behind the carrots are interesting, Robbie. I love carrots because of the sweet taste. When my daughter was a toddler, she loved carrots baby food and I ended up feeding her with lots of them. Yes, carrots do have rich nutrient and benefits to the body. Fascinating post, Robbie.

    Thank you for hosting the blog tour, Nonnie. You have a beautiful blog.

    Like

  6. Marie Drake

    My mother told us (myself and my 4 siblings) that carrots improved eyesight as well. I didn’t question it because I liked carrots anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Marie, I think that Vitamin A is good for your eyes but it doesn’t give you night vision. My mother always said that carrots make you see in the dark and that is why this particular piece of information interested me so much.

      Like

    • I like carrots too, Marie, so I was also always happy to eat them. I can remember being disappointed that they didn’t give me the power to see in the dark though, especially as I had plans to read at night in my bedroom.

      Like

  7. Gwen M. Plano

    Great story, Robbie. So happy to meet you here. Enjoy your tour! Thank you, Nonnie, for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So THAT’s how the carrot-eye thing got started. Interesting guest post from an interesting and talented author!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also thought it was amazing, Priscilla. Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad you enjoyed this post.

      Like

  9. Hi Nonnie and Robbie. I had always heard that carrots were good for eyesight, and believed it to be true. Thanks for sharing the real story behind that. This period in history is such an interesting time, and the smaller stories like this, with wartime in the backdrop, are great to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Barbara, carrots do contain vitamen A which is good for your eyes but it doesn’t give you night vision. Thanks for visiting me here.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Isn’t it interesting the little white lies we are told in order to keep the masses calm and content? 😉 Thanks for sharing this story with me. I, too, grew up believing that story. It makes me wonder what other half-truths came from that time period. lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is amazing how people are bamboozled with these sorts of tales, isn’t it. I am delighted you are enjoying these posts, Yvette.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sure my Mum told me all sorts of things to make me eat my veggies!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there was that too, Wendy. It never really worked for me as a mother though. My boys eat salad but not much else in the way of veggies.

      Like

  12. Great post Nonnie and Robbie. While the Bombs fell is a very interesting book full of alsorts of information on WW2. We still believe carrots are good for you. 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Willow, thanks for visiting me here. I also think they are good for you, but they don’t give you “radar-styled” eyesight. I wish they did. Hugs.

      Like

      • It was a fun visit , and yes I wish the carrots would really improve my eyes 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Where I live, eating a lot of carrots was supposed to only be good for your eyesight. No one mentioned that part about seeing in the dark. I guess that part got lost in the Atlantic as the myth made its way over. It didn’t work for me. I still eat a lot of carrots, and it hasn’t improved my eyesight. It does, however, give my skin an orange tint if I eat too many for a long period at a time. 😉
    Rebecca Carter

    Liked by 2 people

    • YOur comment made me smile, Ronesa. My hands went a bit yellow from eating to many carrots when I was a teenager. I thought the Vitamin A was good for my skin. I believe that this vitamin is supposed to be good for vision, but it doesn’t have miraculous powers, sadly.

      Like

  14. Children believe what their moms say! Good for you Robbie. Carrots are still considered to be good for the eyes and ears. Recently my grand daughter had an ear infection and was told by the pediatrician to eat carrots!
    Nice post. Thank you Nonnie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • How interesting, Balroop. I didn’t know that carrots were good for your ears. That is good to know. Thanks for visiting me here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that interesting! I’d never heard that.

      Like

  15. Thank you, Nonnie, for hosting day 4 of my blog tour. It is much appreciated.

    Like

  16. It is amazing to see how Great Britain was able to manage its food supply so that the population did not suffer food shortage. There was hunger in most parts of the world, especially in Africa. Thank you, Nonnie, for hosting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right, there is still hunger in Africa. I see it every day and it is heartbreaking. No matter how much you give it is not enough for all the needy. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Like

  17. D.L. Finn, Author

    I grew up believeing that about carrots. Nice to know where it came from. I’m enjoying your tour, Robbie.
    Thanks for hosting, Nonnie:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, I am glad I could tell you something new, Denise. Thanks for your wonderful support and have a super weekend, Denise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D.L. Finn, Author

        Thank you, you as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. How absolutely fascinating to learn where and how the carrot myth started! I also did not know that bread and vegetables were not rationed during the war. Thank you, Robbie, for sharing! This is a wonderful tour! Thank you, Nonnie for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jan, I am so glad you are enjoying these posts, I was surprised to learn that eating carrots did not help you see in the dark as I had been told this myth as a truth my whole life. The British had a campaign called the Dig for Victory campaign where everyone was encouraged to grow as many vegetables as possible. This campaign was very important as part of the war effort.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. I love this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is a great story about carrots, Robbie! Have a great day here on tour! Thanks for hosting Robbie, Nonnie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, John. This particular myth fascinated me when I read about it. My mother still believes that carrots help people see in the dark.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I hope you are enjoying your tour, Robbie. The RAF story was fascinating. You have to wonder how many believed the carrot story. (I did notice there was only one grated carrot in the pudding recipe) Thanks to 4Wills for the feature today. Thanks to Nonnie for hosting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi John, the grated carrot in the recipe was basically a filler or replacement, but people were definitely encouraged to eat a lot of carrots and potatoes. My mother brought us up believing this myth.

      Liked by 2 people

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