Sunday, 7 June 2015

Rationing Challenge - Intro

Tomorrow morning we are beginning our fortnight living on World War Two rations. The people of Britain were the healthiest they've been during the Second World War. It was also a time of much less waste and therefore diets had less of an impact on the environment. More food was local; less meat was consumed; people ate a lot more vegetables and beans. 

I am always trying to get better at meal planning and budgeting, so when I saw Cambridge Carbon Footprint's World War Two Rationing Challenge, I thought it would be a great way to get back into it. Having a limited amount of foods means planning around those ingredients, which I find easier than choosing meals before shopping for them. Also, the way that our veg box delivery works is that we don't always know which vegetables we're going to get, which ties in nicely with the lack of choice shoppers often had at the grocer's. 

Our Rations:

Second World War Rations
Most of our rations for the week 

Sugar - 2lb (8oz per person per week)
Margarine - 1lb (4oz per person per week)
Bacon/Ham - 12oz (4oz per person per week, but we've "registered" the Hubby as a vegetarian, so reducing our meat ration in order to increase cheese and eggs)
Cheese - 11oz (2oz per person per week; 3oz extra for a vegetarian)
Lard - 6oz (2oz per person per week; none for vegetarian)
Vegetable suet - 2oz (2oz per person per week for a vegetarian.)
Tea - 4oz (2oz per adult per week)
Meat - 24oz (12oz per adult per week, 6oz per under 6 year old per week)
Butter - 8oz (2oz per person per week)
Milk - 20pints (3 pints per adult per week; 1 pint daily for under 5s)
Sweets/Chocolate - 12oz (12oz per person per month)
Marmalade - 1lb (2lb per person [adults in our house] per month)
Jam - 8oz (1lb per person [kids in our house] per month 
Eggs - 8 (2 per under 5s per week; 2 per nursing mother per week; 2 per vegetarian per week)

I have been quite surprised by some of the quantities in our ration book. Some of them are a lot more than we would normally eat in a week - meat, for instance, as it's quite expensive, especially to buy free range and organic; and I'm pretty sure we don't use anywhere near 2lbs sugar! And on the other hand, our normal cheese and egg consumption is far higher. 

Vegetables weren't rationed, but some were very difficult to come by - onions, for instance. We'll be sticking to British vegetables, mainly from our Abel & Cole box, topped up with more potatoes, fresh herbs, a cauliflower and a swede. People were encouraged to grow their own produce too, so we'll see what we can get from our garden. And I've spotted some nettles out the front - apparently theyaje a tasty soup!

British vegetables
Our vegetable selection 

As well as these rations, there was a points system too, for buying hard to come by goods. This helped to prevent stockpiling. The government set the number of points required for each item, meaning that they could reduce the points for ingredients that weren't as popular, and thereby get more people buying them. Cambridge Carbon Footprint have said we can use whatever other ingredients we want, but I want to try to be as authentic as possible, so we're going with foodstuffs that would have been available during the war. I haven't decided what to get with our points yet. I'll wait until later in the week to decide whether to blow them on tinned meat or fish, or condensed milk, or whether we need to be a bit more frugal and buy split peas or dried fruit, which cost fewer points.  

Which of the rations would you struggle most with?


  1. What a great thing to do Laura. I'm looking forward to seeing how you and your family get on over the next two weeks. It sounds like day one was a bit harder than expected. I think I'd miss cheese the most!

  2. Oh, cheese! I really do miss it. Thanks for reading and for the encouragement.