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      英語世界
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      Birthday Onions
      發布時間:2021年07月01日     張爽 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      Birthday Onions

      生日洋蔥


      What can we learn from wartime rationing?

      我們能從戰時定量配給制度中學到什么?


      By Lizzie Collingham

      文/莉齊·科林厄姆

       

      In 1939 Britain was dependent on 22 million tons of food imports a year. It was not U-boats that were the greatest threat to the food supply, however, but rather a new lack of shipping space. For the government, which had expected neutral shipping to be widely available as it had been during the First World War, the scarcity came as a surprise. Within a year, as ships were diverted to troopcarrying duties and industrial raw materials increasingly claimed cargo space, food imports fell to 11 million tons.


      1939年,英國一年要進口2200萬噸食品。然而,對食物供應構成最大威脅的并不是德國U 型潛艇,而是缺少艙位的新問題。英國政府本來寄希望于一戰期間那樣充足的中立國航運,對艙位的欠缺感到意外。這一年內,由于船只被用于運載軍隊,而且工業原料不斷占據貨艙,英國的食品進口量下降到1100萬噸。


      As soon as war was declared in September 1939 Neville Chamberlain’s government took over the food supply. Thus, the government immediately took responsibility for ensuring that every member of society was able to access sufficient food. Although the War Cabinet, and in particular the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, were reluctant to restrict civil liberties, the government brought in rationing. The Ministry of Food was determined not to repeat the mistake of the First World War, when rationing had been introduced only after shortages had already become a problem. By the summer of 1940 meat, fats, dairy products, eggs, sugar and tea were all rationed. For the first eighteen months, however, the government lacked a clear food supply strategy, and found itself solving one food shortage at a time. The recommendation to eke out the meat ration with oatmeal, for example, created a secondary shortage as it failed to take into account the limited facilities for milling oats. Wheat stocks fell first and eggs became scarce as the government prioritized milk production. Two-thirds of Britain’s farmland was pasture and the country’s livestock was also dependent on imports of feed. Cabinet Office economists warned that livestock was “eating shipping space”. Beef and mutton shortages became a serious problem. By the end of 1940 the government was forced to make up the meat ration with offal, which until then had been unrationed.


      1939年9月英國宣戰后,尼維爾·張伯倫政府就接管了食品供應。于是,政府立即承擔起確保每個社會成員都能獲得充足食物的責任。盡管戰時內閣,尤其是海軍大臣溫斯頓·丘吉爾,不愿意限制公民自由,政府還是推行了定量配給制度。食品部決心不重蹈一戰的覆轍,那時定量配給制度是在短缺已經成為難題之后才實行的。到1940年夏天,肉類、脂油、乳制品、雞蛋、糖和茶都實行了定量配給。然而,在頭18個月里,政府沒有明確的食品供應戰略,一次只能解決一種食品短缺的問題。例如,由于政府沒有考慮到燕麥研磨設施的有限,用燕麥來補肉類配給不足的建議,造成了另一重短缺。由于政府優先生產牛奶,小麥庫存首先下降,雞蛋變得稀缺。英國三分之二的農田是牧場,牲畜依賴進口飼料。內閣辦公廳的經濟學家警告說,牲畜正在“吃掉艙位”。牛肉和羊肉短缺成為嚴重的問題。到1940年年底,政府被迫用動物內臟補充肉類配給,而在此之前,動物內臟一直是不配給的。


      In January 1941, the journalist Maggie Joy Blunt wrote:


      1941年1月,記者瑪吉·喬伊·布倫特寫道:


      We are not starving, we are not even underfed but our usually well-stocked food shops have an empty and anxious air. Cheese, eggs, onions, oranges, luxury fruits and vegetables are practically unobtainable… Housewives are having to queue for essential foods. We live on potatoes, carrots, sprouts, swedes, turnips, artichokes and watercress… The meat ration was cut at the beginning of the month… Prices are rising.


      我們沒有挨餓,我們甚至沒有吃不飽,但平常存貨充足的食品店卻空空蕩蕩,有種焦慮的氣氛。奶酪、雞蛋、洋蔥、橙子、高檔水果和蔬菜幾乎都買不到……家庭主婦不得不排隊購買必需食品。我們主要吃土豆、胡蘿卜、甘藍、大頭菜、蘿卜、菊芋和豆瓣菜……月初,肉的配給減少了……價格在上漲。


      At first the working classes were suspicious of the government’s talk of sacrifice, fearing that the poorest would bear the brunt. (Then as now, Britain was riven by social inequality.) During the painful period of initial adjustment it was indeed the poorest and those in low-priority occupations who were worst affected.


      起初,工人階級對政府關于犧牲的言論持懷疑態度,擔心最窮的人會首當其沖。(當時同現在一樣,英國因社會不平等而四分五裂。)在初始調整的艱難時日,最貧困的人和職業地位低的人的確受影響最為嚴重。


      After the anxious winter of 1940–41, the Ministries of Agriculture, Food and Health finally developed a comprehensive food strategy. Price controls were introduced to prevent inflation, pasture was ploughed up to grow wheat and potatoes, and the importation of condensed, high-calorie foods was prioritized. The ability to draw on the food resources of Britain’s trading empire was the real strength of the wartime food policy. Canadian bacon, New Zealand butter and cheese, West African palm oil, Argentinian de-boned and corned beef, American Spam, sausage meat, condensed milk and dried egg all provided 56 per cent of the population’s calories. And in order to secure 2 million tons of these crucial imports, Churchill cut shipping to the Indian Ocean by 60 per cent. This exported hunger to the colonies, where a reduction in supplies left millions of Mauritians, East Africans and Indians to face malnutrition and famine.


      1940年至1941年令人焦慮的冬季之后,農業部、食品部和衛生部最終制定了一項全面的食品戰略。為了防止通貨膨脹,實行了價格管控,開墾牧場以種植小麥和土豆,并優先進口高熱量濃縮食品。戰時食品政策的真正優勢在于能夠利用英國貿易帝國的食品資源。加拿大的培根,新西蘭的黃油和奶酪,西非的棕櫚油,阿根廷的去骨咸牛肉,美國的斯帕姆午餐肉、香腸肉餡、煉乳和干燥蛋制品,這些食物為英國人提供了56%的熱量。為確保這些重要商品有200萬噸的進口量,丘吉爾將前往印度洋的航運削減了60%。此舉將饑饉輸出給了殖民地,由于供應減少,數百萬毛里求斯人、東非人和印度人面臨營養不良和饑荒問題。

       洋蔥

      Goods for which there was an erratic supply, such as tinned meat, fish and fruit, rice and biscuits, were given a price in points. The government was able to steer consumer choices by adjusting the number of points an item was worth. At the same time the system gave shoppers a psychologically beneficial illusion of control. Each ration-book holder was allocated sixteen points for four weeks. They could be sensible and spend everything on a pound of tinned sausage meat, enough to create several main meals, with the bonus of a thick layer of nearly half a pound of fat; or they could splurge eight points on a packet of biscuits. Indeed, the knowledge that the government felt responsible for ensuring a reliable and fairly distributed food supply made a significant contribution to wartime morale.


      對于那些供應不穩定的商品,如罐頭肉、魚、水果、大米和餅干,都以點數定價。政府能夠通過調整商品的價值點數來引導消費者的選擇。與此同時,該制度讓購物者產生在心理上有益的控制錯覺。每位配給證持有者分到16個點數,為期4周。他們可以明智地把所有點數都花在一磅罐裝香腸肉餡上,這些足夠制作幾頓主食,運氣好的還能得著一層厚厚的肥肉,將近半磅;或者,他們可以揮霍8個點數買一包餅干。確實,政府為確??煽抗降氖澄锱浣o負起責任,這極大鼓舞了戰時士氣。


      Lord Woolton was a gifted speaker. He recognized that if rationing was to work the government needed to be seen to distribute food equitably across the population. For this reason every adult no matter what his or her occupation received the same allocation. The wartime diet replicated the prewar working-class diet in that it relied heavily on bread and potatoes, which were not rationed. The idea was to stave off hunger by filling up on starchy staples. Rationing and rising wages gave even the poorest access to adequate quantities of meat, egg (albeit dried), butter and milk. Indeed, pregnant and nursing women as well as children were given priority access to milk. Children were allocated cod liver oil, orange juice and tins of blackcurrant purée. The health of the poorest third of British society markedly improved, and by 1945 the stubborn pockets of deprivation in the industrial areas worst hit by the Depression had been virtually eradicated.


      伍爾頓勛爵是位天才演說家。他認識到,定量配給要想起作用,人們需要看到政府為全民公平地分配食物。因此,無論從事什么職業,每個成年人都得到了同樣的配給。戰時飲食仿照了戰前工人階級飲食,很大程度上依賴不限量供應的面包和土豆。其想法是通過食用富含淀粉的主食來抵御饑餓。定量配給制度和不斷上漲的工資讓即使最貧窮的人也能獲得足夠數量的肉、蛋(盡管是脫水的)、黃油和牛奶。實際上,孕婦、哺乳期婦女及兒童能夠優先獲得牛奶。孩子們分到魚肝油、橙汁和罐裝黑加侖醬。英國社會中最貧窮的三分之一人口的健康狀況顯著改善,到1945年,在受大蕭條打擊最嚴重的工業地區,頑固的群體貧困問題幾乎已被消除。


      Rationing had the effect of levelling out the diet of everyone in the country to the standard of the prewar skilled worker. The dinner of lamb, potatoes and cabbage followed by date roll and custard that a lab technician enjoyed in September 1942 was remarkably similar to meals he had enjoyed in the 1930s. But while this kind of meal represented an improvement for the poor, used to scraping by on bread and margarine, a bit of bacon or cheese and copious amounts of sweet tea, to the upper and middle classes meals of this kind were a form of deprivation. The rich were able to circumvent rationing by buying expensive unrationed foods, including lobster and salmon. The middle classes experienced the most restrictions and complained the most. The government’s call to “Dig for Victory” was patchily received: while the working classes tended to grow root vegetables and a few runner beans in their allotments, the rural middle classes cultivated the spinach and peas they missed, and bemoaned the lack of anchovies and lemons.


      定量配給制度的效果是消除差異,使全國每個人的飲食都處于戰前熟練工人的標準。1942年9月,實驗室技術人員享用的晚餐是羊肉、土豆和卷心菜,餐后甜點是紅棗卷和蛋奶沙司,和他在20世紀30年代吃的飯菜非常相似。不過,雖然這樣的一頓飯代表著窮人生活的改善——他們習慣靠面包、人造黃油、一點兒培根或奶酪,以及大量的甜茶勉強度日,但對于中上層階級來說,這種飯菜很寒酸。富人能夠通過購買昂貴的非定量食品(包括龍蝦和鮭魚)來規避定量配給制度。中產階級受到的限制最多,他們抱怨也最多。政府“為勝利而種地”的號召得到的是零零星星的響應:工人階級一般會在他們租用的小塊菜地里種植根莖類蔬菜和一些豆角,而農村的中產階級則種植他們想念的菠菜和豌豆,抱怨沒有鳀魚和檸檬。


      The wartime British were as removed from the danger of starvation as the panic buyers of today, who have the means to empty supermarket shelves. Which is not to say that wartime food was not stodgy and monotonous. In March 1943 one diarist complained, “How I grow sick of never-ending starch – bread, bread, bread”. The small luxuries – such as ice cream, imported oranges and bananas and, most importantly, onions – disappeared. Onions, the majority imported from France, had been British cookery’s ubiquitous flavouring, but when the crops planted by British farmers were afflicted by blight, onions became sufficiently rare that people considered them a delightful birthday present.


      與如今有能力清空超市貨架的搶購者一樣,戰時的英國人擺脫了饑餓的危險。這并不是說戰時的食物不乏味、不單調。1943年3月, 有個人在日記里抱怨道:“我真是厭倦了沒完沒了的淀粉——面包、面包、面包”。小奢侈品不見了,如冰激凌、進口橙子和香蕉,以及最重要的洋蔥。洋蔥主要從法國進口,是英國烹飪中無處不在的調味菜,但是,當英國農民種植的這種作物得了枯萎病時,洋蔥變得非常稀有,人們將其視為一件令人愉快的生日禮物。


      (譯者為“《英語世界》杯”翻譯大賽獲獎者;單位:南京大學外國語學院)

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