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.
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).
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.
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.
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…
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…