Michael Caine Talks Lessons Learned During World War II

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Sir Michael Caine has lived a long and healthy 88 years, and he credits his wellbeing to nutritional habits he picked up during World War II.

The actor grew up in Bermondsey, a district of South London, for the first seven years of his life, according to The Daily Mail. Then, when World War II hit, Michael Caine and his family evacuated the city and lived in the countryside for another six years.

During that time, the family ate almost entirely organic food. They also didn’t have to worry about the London smog affecting their breathing and health.

“I was evacuated to the country away from the smog, which in Bermondsey then was terrible because everyone had coal fires,” Caine told the River Cafe Table 4 podcast. “I lived on a farm for six years. The food was wonderful. Some of the food I caught myself because I could outrun a rabbit. I used to catch a rabbit with a stick and give it to my mother to cook for dinner.”

Aside from rabbit, Michael Caine recalled “Pheasant, partridge, I remember all those things. We also had fresh vegetables because we lived on a farm. So we would go and nick a cabbage. Thinking back on it, health-wise I was very lucky.”

Caine’s parents also instilled healthy eating habits in him.

“My mother insisted I ate porridge for breakfast for 15 years,” he said. “My father was a Billingsgate fish market porter, and he was a big gambler, so he never bought steak because it was too dear. But he used to nick a lot of fish.”

Caine added, “So for 15 years I ate fish, every kind of fish you can imagine. And I later realized it was a very healthy thing.”

Michael Caine Notes How WWII Ended Up Being an “Accidental Healthy Thing’ For Him

While living on the farm surrounded by fresh meat and vegetables contributed to Michael Caine’s health, so did the conditions of World War II.

“Another accidental healthy thing for me was the Second World War. You couldn’t get any sugar, you couldn’t get any of those drinks you have now with all this sugar in it,” Caine shared.

According to Metro, Caine also told BBC radio in 2019 how “You couldn’t get sugar, sweet chocolate, and cakes. Sugar had to be brought from Jamaica or somewhere and with U-boats, very few merchant ships got through.”

Today, Caine’s tastes have changed slightly. His favorite food used to be much simpler fare. But worldwide fame has adjusted his palette.

“Years ago it was sausage and mash, and now it’s caviar!” Caine shared with the River Cafe Table 4 podcast.

But he’s still the best in his family at cooking one comfort meal.

“I’m the one in the house responsible for Sunday lunch,” Michael Caine said. “I do roast beef, roast lamb, at Christmas I do the turkey. I do, allegedly, the best roast potatoes anybody has ever eaten, I’m very good at that.”

Apparently, “The trick is that when they’re cooked, mash them just a little bit, crack them open, put oil on them and bake them again so the oil is baked inside.” Anyone else hungry?