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FOOD TOPICS. Items About Rationing and Production. [BY SMALLHOLDER."] Ration Books. It will be a comfort to have ration books instead of a collection of miscellaneous cards that no woman can possibly keep flat, clean, and respectable. These books are small enough to slip into an ordinarv envelope. They have coupon-leaves for sugar, fats, meat, and lard, coloured respectively buff, blue, red, and brown—with a spare leaf for any other foodstuff that may be rationed. You will probably think them rather pretty. But, after all. the great thing is to handle your ration book as seldom as possible, and what every wise woman will do with the buff, blue, and brown leaves is to let her tradesman tear them out and keep them-if those trades- men will kindly oblige. She might even do the same with the red meat-leaves, only in that case she would have no coupons for public meals, or poultry or bacon or meat pies, or any of those miscellaneous dainties in the way of meat that a butcher does not sell. However, the book should last for sixteen weeks all right, if kept in its envelope. One cannot exct to see covers provided in these days of laoour shortage. What Rationing Has Done. What every housewife knows, if she once had to struggle through days of queues and disappointment, is that rationing has made things far easier for her. It has its unavoid- able little worries, but a wise woman takes the lean with the fat, so to speak, and does not forget that, in cheerfully submitting to these national arrangements, she is doing her bit to win the war. Besides, the food posi- tion goes on improving. There is better meat now, and we are promised plenty of tea at last, together with what is equally welcome, a ration of lard. It is good to see the many signs of gratitude to Lord Rhondda. The occasional grumblers do not count. It is nothing less than wonderful, in fact, that after four years of war, and in face of a world shortage from which there will be no escape till the war is over, our tight little island should still have food enough for its dense population in spite of all the sub- marine sinkings. How has it been managed ? Ah, that is a very big story-almost as big as the story of England's creation of a great Army. Nor is it a story of the past the immense labour of organisation goes on hour by hour, never ceasing and ever changing. About the Fruit Harvest. Take the case of this year's fruit. Great preparations were made for the fruit harvest, and the fair control of prices and distri- bution in connection with it; but we see already that this harvest will be disappoint- ing, though the grain crops promise to be better than ever. The Food Ministry has had to announce that gooseberries will be taken over for the manufacture of jam, most of which will be needed by our fighting men and this may have to be done with other kinds of fruit as they ripen. Well, it cannot be helped, and nobody will grudge the sacrifice to those who are saving us from the Huns. As far as may be possible, however, the Ministry will release a share of the fruit crops from time to time, and the Food Production Department will see that there is labour available for handling them. If we have to consume our fruit mainly in the form of jam, instead of in quite so many pies and puddings, that will be because jam-making secures us better against loss and waste than the distribution and sale of fresh fruit could do. Milk Prices. The increased price of milk is more impor- tant but, in the opinion of those who should know, there would have been very little milk next winter if the price had not been advanced now. Farmers, it appears to be certain, were not finding it worth while to maintain their stocks of milking cows so that it comes to this-we have to decide whether it is better to pay more for our milk or to have less milk than we need. When the Food Controller has to deal with pro- ducers, he can only act upon the principle that production must be made worth while and in war-time, when everything is dearer to the farmer as it is to all the rest of us. that principle means increased remunera- tion. As the French say, if you want omelettes you must break eggs. Village Pig Clubs. In the Daily Mail the other day there was a delightful little sketch of a village meeting—~ of a type that is becoming common just now all over Englancl-the meeting to a form a village pig club. The writer, Mr. G. H. Hollingworth, pictured thirty or forty agri- cultural labourers seated at the long desks of the village school to hear all about it from the organiser of the county committee. The expert tells of the necessity for raising at home every ounce of food we can, and advises every man to keep a pig as a precaution against meat shortage in the winter. Every man who raises pigs can have the first pig for his own use in addition to his prescribed meat ration. Then the practical touch comes in- the labourers themselves introduce it— "What about the meal?" The organiser's answer is that cottagers as well as farmers have a claim on the supply of feeding stuffs available, and he points out that the main object of the club is co-operation for the purchase of feeding stuffs in bulk for distri- bution among the members. The idea of mutual insurance is next introduced, and when the men hear that by paying a premium of ls. 6d. per head on their store pigs, as members of the club, the pigs are insured up to four-fifths of their assessed value from the time they are eight weeks old until they are killed, they look at each other, nod their heads, and mentally agree that there is some-* thing in a pig club after all.