Sunday, 11 February 2018

WWII rations for a week.....sort of

Thanks for the comments, as usual, I know we're all sensible enough to use our senses (and common sense) to check food is ok for eating, regardless of the sell by/use by date.

Sue at A Challenging Year....and Marlene of Simple Living, amongst others, are doing WWII food rationing challenges.  I'm finding their blogs, and the googling and reading it's inspired me to do, absolutely fascinating and am finding out loads of things I didn't know.  For instance, I never understood why eggs were rationed so much, until Sue said that apparently there was a big slaughter of hens and other livestock in the early days of the war, as it was assumed there wouldn't be enough to feed them on.  I also didn't know there were canteens set up by the Government to offer people who'd run out of rations, or who simply wanted to supplement their food allowance, a meal.  These were called British Restaurants and offered a simple 3 course meal for 9d - usually soup, meat and 2 veg, plus a steamed pud with custard.  Who knew! (well, I didn't).

We are seriously considering doing a WWII food ration menu for a week - maybe longer, if it goes well.  Why?  For a few reasons - frugality for a start, now we're on a much reduced income we need to manage our money carefully and make things like food go as far as possible.  And possible weight loss too - we both need to lose weight and a good start will be portion control, we know we eat too much.  (One blog I read said that a meal that was meant to serve 4 people during the war, would be considered a 2 person meal now, which I don't doubt).  And another reason is that I love a good challenge!

Husband wasn't too keen on the idea initially (he's a big meat eater), but has agreed to give it a go as he acknowledges he needs to eat less.  Another thing that's slightly worried me is that the wartime diet was quite carb-heavy - I'm diabetic and I know that eating too many carbs raises my blood glucose quite significantly.  Also, the basic rations only allow 2oz cheese a week.....but I LOVE cheese!  2oz?!  I could eat that as a snack every day!  And only 1 egg per week - we get through a lot of eggs, for breakfast, as a frittata for dinner, in the cakes I make every week.  

But I reckon there are ways around this.  For a start, we don't have to follow it slavishly....there's no-one going to be standing behind us with a whip!  However, I would like to have a go at following it as closely as possible, with a few minor adjustments.  I note that you were entitled to a packet of powdered eggs per month, equal to 12 eggs, so I could take that as an extra 3 shell eggs per week each, making 8 eggs per week for the 2 of us.  Also, apparently diabetics could give up their sugar rations (I use hardly any sugar anyway, even in cakes I reduce the sugar amount by half, and certainly don't use it in hot drinks or on cereal, etc.) and instead have an extra 12oz butter and marg, or 2s 4d worth of meat, or an extra 8oz(!!) cheese - I'm assuming you could choose just one of these, not all three (or perhaps half of one thing and half another, e.g).  So those things make it instantly more doable.

I've got lots more reading to do...oh, incidentally, I found another blog, Karen from Lavender and Lovage, who lived on rationing for a week, she gives detailed recipes with pictures and it's all very interesting.  I've tried to add links for Sue's, Marlene's and Karen's blogs but Blogger won't let me (or I'm just having a blonde moment, which is quite likely!).  Anyway, if you get up the Lavender and Lovage blog and type The Wartime Kitchen Day 1 into her search box, it'll bring up the relevant bits (I think her Day 1 is on Page 2 of the list!).  Hopefully I'll be able to work out a detailed menu plan within the next few days.

Another benefit of doing's keeping me occupied - and husband too, as I keep reading out to him the things I find out - and stopping us from dwelling on the fact that he has his first appointment with the cardiac consultant tomorrow.


  1. I can't post links either Sooze.....grr...but thanks for the info. I'll take a peek. Re the egg situation, my mum couldn't stand the powdered egg on offer although she had to use it. And cheese...2oz???? I LOVE cheese. I would have felt really deprived. You seem to have sugar well under control but I know we use far too much these days. OH uses loads and eats far too many sweets and chocolate bars. I'd love to have a go at eating rations but OH would have a tantrum. Good luck Sooze! X

  2. Good luck with it Sooze.
    Andy would have a fit if I tried to ration him on anything so it's no good me even attempting anything like this.

  3. Funny I made the Wartime Carrot Cake over the weekend. The recipe is on my blog.

    Julie xxxxxxxx

  4. Good luck Sooze, I am going to be a lazy peep and see what everyone else is planning, then ride on their shirt tales. ( I think that is what I mean). My Granny never used the dried egg, there were always fowl on the holding and in season there were pheasant, wild duck and moorhen eggs as well. In the country things were not as dire, I can just about remember my great granny and her sugar cupboard. She was the keeper of the sugar and doled it out with a small spoon, that way there was always homemade jam to be had.

  5. You had to surrender your sugar rations, by weight, in exchange for fats, with a maximum 4oz butter in the fat exchange. So if on 8oz sugar per week, this could be exchanged for 8oz fat, or meat to the value of 2s 4d etc. In order to get 8oz of cheese a week you had to be a vegetarian diabetic.

  6. Hope all goes well with the consultant.
    Thanks for the mention, I am only making recipes, and like you say its frugality which is all good money saving. Sue is doing a proper challenge and is so inspirational, good luck with your challenge.

  7. Good luck Sooze, it is a very interesting subject and you can see why they needed a diet rich in carbs. They were far more active, houses weren't heated like today. Their portion sizes would have been far smaller too. I was saying to Marlene about the size of our plates, bowls and cups now. Huge compared to the old dinner services.

  8. Good luck Sooze, it is a very interesting subject and you can see why they needed a diet rich in carbs. They were far more active, houses weren't heated like today. Their portion sizes would have been far smaller too. I was saying to Marlene about the size of our plates, bowls and cups now. Huge compared to the old dinner services.

  9. Using Blogger, there's a 'link' button at the top as you're typing your message - it actually says 'link'. Click on that and follow the instructions. For me it is right next to the image button.
    (or am I missing the point?)
    J x

  10. Thanks for the mention, it's going well .... up to now :-)

    I'll keep an eye on you to see if you join in. There's no hard and fast rules just do what you can, if nothing else it does highlight just how much we eat and drink now compared to years ago. And I guess it's this that has led to so much obesity and diet related Type 2 diabetes.

  11. That sounds like a great fun thing to do. Not sure I could convince my children to go for it though. maybe when they're a bit older! Day old bread wouldn't do me either. I eat so much it's unreal!


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