So I have been asked exactly what I can and can’t eat on 1940’s wartime rationing..
When rationing was introduced in England on January 8, 1940 (incidentally that is my birthday…the January 8 bit NOT the 1940!!) it was to ensure that food was distributed fairly and that the dwindling food supplies lasted. However, rationing did vary slightly month to month depending on the availability of foods increasing when it was plentiful and decreasing when it was in short supply..
NOTE: Although the 1940sExperiment is based on wartime rationing in the UK I will be incorporating occasional recipes from Canada/US during WWII as for the last 5 years I have been living in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Here is the weekly ration allowance for one adult in the 1940’s… (remember that in addition to this people were encouraged to incorporate lots of fruit and veggies into their diets and grow even more in their back gardens!)
Weekly ration for 1 adult
- Bacon & Ham 4 oz
- Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb minced beef)
- Butter 2 oz
- Cheese 2 oz
- Margarine 4 oz
- Cooking fat 4 oz
- Milk 3 pints
- Sugar 8 oz
- Preserves 1 lb every 2 months
- Tea 2 oz
- Eggs 1 fresh egg per week
- Sweets/Candy 12 oz every 4 weeks
In addition to this a points system was put in place which limited your purchase of tinned or imported goods. 16 points were available in your ration book for every 4 weeks and that 16 points would enable you to purchase for instance, 1 can of tinned fish or 2lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of split peas.
Does this sound a lot or little to you? When you try and produce all your own food from scratch using the above ingredients and realize just how precious or even how difficult it was at times to obtain other necessary food stuffs like flour, oats etc it really makes you appreciate how difficult and how IMPORTANT the role was of the 1940’s housewife to feed her family and keep them healthy. It was for sure a long and hard job..
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT I HAVE EATEN THE LAST FEW DAYS…
2 slices of wholemeal (wholewheat) toast with margarine and marmalade or marmite
or large bowl of porridge oats (oatmeal) made with water, splash of milk and a little sugar or honey mixed in.
Oslo Meal- [Click here] + a piece of fruit
or I bring in to work with me a huge plate of steamed veggies such as broccoli, parsnips, potatoes, cabbage with a blob of butter on and seasoned. (sometimes with some meaty gravy [click here] over the top ) In addition to that I have a piece of fruit like an apple or a pear.
By the time I get home and start cooking it’s between 6 and 7pm and by this time I am starving! I always eat a BIG meal.
Yesterday- Two large baked potatoes topped with a little bit of strong cheddar, generous serving of meaty gravy, a chunk of freshly baked wholemeal bread, a few spoonfuls of steamed carrots, big mound of steamed cabbage. For dessert I didn’t have anything cooked so had a pear.
Today- A big mound of mashed potato (a blob of marg and some thyme, salt & pepper for seasoning), served with large portions of cabbage and cauliflower and the remainder of the meaty gravy I made yesterday. For dessert I had two freshly baked Rock Buns [click here] and two steaming hot cups of tea!
I like to round off the day with a glass or two of milk- usually one small glass of cold milk and a cup of milky coffee. The amount I have depends on how much I have left to use!
Obviously my diet depends on what I have available or what recipes I have been re-creating. I quite often make veggies stews with beans and pulses in for extra protein..
Hope this helps!
PS: I am convinced that the diet industry has got it ALL wrong (actually that is an unfair generalization as things have really changed over the past 10 years)…BUT what I mean to say is
WE SHOULD ALL BE EATING MORE TO LOSE WEIGHT….seriously!