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Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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37.

asked the Minister of Food why he refused a request from the Sutton Coldfield Housewives' League that he should provide specimen complete menus for a month, possible for a family of four, as promised recently to the League by one of his representatives.

As I explained to the hon. Member in my letter of 8th March, it has never been part of our policy to provide complete menus because the meals which a housewife plans over a period depend upon so many variable factors, such as her family's taste in food, the season, the unrationed and points foods she can buy and the family circumstances generally.

Does the right hon. Lady appreciate that this request was a challenge to her to show how a housewife could provide a balanced diet for her family at a reasonable cost, and is she not going to accept that challenge?

I think that the hon. Gentleman is making a mountain out of a molehill. A certain lady at question time at a meeting asked one of my food organisers to arrange a menu. The food organiser returned to my Department and the Department, after giving the request careful consideration, realised that it was quite impracticable to arrange something which would be acceptable to every housewife in this country. That is all there is to the matter.

Is it not a very reasonable proposal that the Ministry should satisfy the housewives that they can produce a balanced diet for their families at a reasonable cost?

If the Minister decides ultimately to send a reply to the Housewives' League giving the menu of the workers, will she also send the menu of the workers and unemployed between 1920 and 1939?