No Steak for Breakfast
Time for another war letter! Here's the third from a too-small collection of short letters written by my father during his service in World War II. He's not fond of the British eating habits, and apparently misses mom's home cooking. I had to laugh at my dad's placing British pastries and meat pies into a separate category from food.
First is a scan of the letter. After is a transcription. I've added punctuation to the transcription, and have corrected one spelling mistake.
The letter is dated February 20, 1944. It's written to his parents, and reads as follows:
Dear Mother & Father,
I'm getting along fine and hope you all are too. I'm in a pretty nice camp right now. In fact it has all the facilities: hot running water and central heating.
The English don't believe in central heating, for all the homes I've been in are heated by fireplaces or small stoves, and the cooking is done on them also. It seems the English go in for pastries, meat pies, and food, in that order, so I miss my steak for breakfast.
Say, I've canceled my allotment because you said you never received it, and then a pound is just like a dollar bill over here. They go pretty fast.
Well, Cheerio and may God bless you.
The reference to "my allotment" is to an amount of money that a serviceman would designate from his pay to be paid directly to a spouse or a parent. The comment about heating arrangements brings to mind Charles Dickens' many comments in his book, American Notes for General Circulation, about the "eternal, accursed, suffocating, red-hot demon of a stove" that he seemed to find everywhere during his visit to the United States.