The Dish The British Government Invented To Get People To Eat More Veggies In WW2

British food gets a bad wrap these days. Apart from "The Great British Bake Off," people seem keen to poke fun at British cuisine, with one writer at the Outline even calling it "terrible." But there are actually a lot of British foods worth trying, and also a lot of interesting stories to be told about the cuisine of the UK.

For example, Queen Elizabeth herself had a long list of foods that were banned from Buckingham Palace. That's not the only culinary escapade the British government is responsible for — you may have even heard the rumor that the British Royal Air Force tried to keep their radar technology a secret by spreading the story that their pilots' accuracy was due to them eating carrots to improve their eyesight. According to Scientific American, the RAF simply went along with the story, even if it wasn't specifically part of their plan.

Though that rumor may not be entirely true, there are some interesting stories about the British government's wartime food strategies, including inventing a dish to help the population's nutrition (via Find My Past).

The Lord Woolton pie

According to Find My Past, the British government invented a dish called Woolton pie in the 1940s. Named after Lord Woolton, who was head of the Ministry of Food during World War II, the goal of the dish was to help combat food shortages during the war by promoting vegetable-centric meals. The dish contained a variety of root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, as well as cauliflower and onions. These would be cooked and set into a pie dish and topped with a potato crust, not unlike shepherd's pie.

Woolton pie was made for the menus at Lord Woolton's "British Restaurants," which were state-funded canteens designed to make hot meals more available to those impacted by wartime rationing (per Historic UK).

While some people might think that vintage foods like Woolton pie shouldn't come back, you can still find updated recipes for it floating around. After all, as Everything Zoomer notes in its recipe, since it's a meal borne of scarcity, it's cheap and easy to make. According to the International Churchill Society, the veggie pie lost popularity as soon as wartime rations ended, so you likely won't find it on the menu at your local pub, but maybe it's worth trying this simple but hearty dish in your own kitchen — if you need to clear your pantry but don't have any meat handy, that is.