Monday, 5 February 2018

Working Out the Rations


I've become a tad obsessed!!

 I woke up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and as I drifted off back to sleep I was thinking about food rationing.  The main reason it's on my mind so much is that there is so much conflicting information around and I do want to get it as right as we possibly can and make as few compromises as I can.

These pictures ... found on Google Images ... have it pretty much as it was.


But even this one shows 'tinned beef' as part of the ration.  Whereas most of the reading I've done tells me that tinned meat ... corned beef and Spam for instance ... was actually available on the points system not the basic ration.

Anyway I don't want to drive myself totally mad so I'm going to  get things as close as possible to how it was and just go for it.

One big hurdle of course is that I eat a virtually vegan diet, I occasionally eat a cake or a slice of quiche made with some of our eggs but that's about it for animal products.  There weren't many vegans around during the second world war, although there were quite a large proportion of vegetarians who could surrender their meat ration and instead get an extra 6oz of cheese every week, as well as a pound or so of extra lentils outside of the points system.

So after thinking about it I have decided that because I do like some vegan 'meat replacements' for example Linda McCartney Rosemary and Onion sausages, Violife 'cheeses', Quorn vegan chicken style fillets and use almond and oat milks for baking and cooking I will take my rations in the form of these even though they weren't around during the war.  My main reason for doing this is that the rationing system was designed to give a fair and balanced diet for everyone, with all the necessary nutrients in a smaller than usual base core of foods and I feel using my usual replacements will continue with this for me.

Another thing, I am also going to totally 'cheat' and instead of a 2oz tea ration I will have a 2oz coffee ration as I don't drink any form of tea.

We are taking as our main point of reference our 12th February start date being February 1940, although even this throws another small spanner in the works as not all rationing was in effect on this date, some things joined the first few items to be rationed further into 1940, and I read in one book that the points system was not in operation then ... although we have decided in the interests of making things fairer to use a points allowance.

Anyway now perhaps you can see why I'm a bit obsessed and a lot confused!!

Sue xx

33 comments:

  1. I think I may have missed this but is there a reason for your choice of 12th February as your starting point? I'm finding this challenge within the challenge fascinating!

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    1. We were just here there and everywhere with business meetings last week and this so 12th February was the first week in our diaries when we were both going to be at home all week to get the ball rolling smoothly and get into the swing of it ... although this might have altered again now, but we will push through as best we can.

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  2. Our son’s tea rations (he was over 6 so got adult rations), was added to ours as he didn’t drink tea, giving us 6oz in total, which we took as tea bags, more cuppa’s than loose tea. We changed onto Camp coffee.

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    1. I thought making a few compromises was better than just saying we can't do this. I might have to buy a bottle of Camp coffee ... I've never tasted it!

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    2. I would like to taste camp coffee

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    3. I remember Camp Coffee. It is disgusting!

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    4. I remember my father drank camp coffee, which I don't think was rationed. At the time it tasted delicious, but now I would definitely prefer real coffee. We still use it for coffee flavouring in cake etc.

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    5. Hi Sue

      I like Camp Coffee and it was always a regular in our house as a child as my father and my mum were rather partial to it. Mum used to use a little bit to flavour the cream in a Victoria sponge to make "coffee cake". However I also like it especially if made up with boiled milk.

      Pattypan

      x

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    6. Using it as a flavouring for cake or cream is a brilliant idea if I don't like it as coffee. Thanks 😊

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  3. Sue I do not know if Camp coffee is like it used to be when I was very young but I could not tolerate it good luck if you try it love MUM XX

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    1. I've just bought a bottle to try, sadly it's not in the classic glass bottle anymore ... plastic like everything else :-(

      I should have read the label in the shop before I splashed out my £1.70 ... it says 2-3 teaspoons stirred into hot milk. I'll have to see how it tastes with a half and half water and almond milk.

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  4. So, is the picture you posted a weeks ration? Very little meat to be had if it is.

    God bless.

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    1. It is. It's a one week ration for one person. I'll have to do similar photos when we start each week of our rationing month :-)

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  5. Rationing went up and down, depending on what was available, changing frequently. Hope you don't want to follow that or you will be stressed!
    My Gran always had Camp coffee and I seemed to remember it wasn't too bad, different definitely and I think there was a time when part of the meat ration had to be taken in tinned meat? sure I read that somewhere either in the Megan Westley book or the Ruth Mott Wartime one.
    I'm getting so interested in your challenge!

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    1. That's why we picked a fixed timeline of February 1940 ... then we found out that the points system hadn't begun then, but we wanted to use points to make things more realistic ... ah well we'll just do our best. I've taken a step back from stressing after doing this post and reading everyone's comments we can only try to do it justice.

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    2. And don't we know it! Tried to do this but it was soooo complicated all the changes....perhaps we'll have a simplified go again soon. x

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  6. Goodness it does sound complicated. I bet there was a few hungry people out there when it first started, trying to get your head around what available and what wasn't, must have been a nightmare. Good luck.

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    1. I guess in some ways it was easier to just get to the shop and be told what you could and couldn't have and then go home and sit and work out a menu from the little pile of groceries and fresh items you had managed to get. We're faced with supermarkets and shops full of stuff, contradictory books, timelines and anecdotes. Like I said above I'm just going to do the best I can, and Alan says he's happy to eat what's on his plate at each meal ... I've just realised I'll be turning into a wartime housewife, I better get myself a pinny!!

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    2. Hi Sue
      We just made the best of what we had. Always opened sugar or tea bags fully to retrieve the last bits.My mother swapped our sweet ration for a neighbours sugar ration and then used it to bottle fruit, make jam and chutney, make cakes and occasional sweets. We collected from the hedge rows for nuts and berries. Swapped home made jam for a few eggs from the farmer.

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  7. No wonder you're confused. It must be frustrating to be given so much conflicting advice. I do remember my Mum saying it all changed from week to week so it was terribly hard to plan ahead in any sensible way.
    I'm really looking forward to reading how it goes from day to day.
    J x

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    1. I think I'll calm down a bit once I weigh out all the fresh foods, get together all the dried stuff and sit and menu plan. We're actually really looking forward to doing it ... and I've just bought a jar of Camp coffee so my food cupboard is taking on a 1940's look already ;-)

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  8. I picked up a book from the sale table a number of years ago that was recipes and household hints from WWII. (I'm in the U.S.) I don't have it anymore, but what I remember were the details on how to patch shoes, how to sew curtains from old skirts and skirts from old curtains, and, mostly, how to bake everything with rutabagas, or what were called Swedes. The inventive names were disheartening, like Tea Cake Surprise. Every "surprise" in the title probably meant rutabagas inside!

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    1. Haha ... I'm always worried by a food that ends with '... Surprise'. Alan is living in fear of the 'Mocks'. Up to now I've earmarked 'Mock Duck' and 'Mock Oysters' for him to try ;-)

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  9. This sounds fascinating and I'm looking forward to reading about it all. I have got an old recipe for Coffee Essence - you only need 2 tsp and dilute with water, milk to taste. I haven't tried it, but if you think it could be useful I could post it, or send you it.

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    1. If you have it handy that would be great. Leave it as a comment, I'm sure there are a few besides me on here who would love to give it a go. Thank you. Xx

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    2. Sorry for the delay, it took a bit of finding as it is just a tiny mention. "Coffee Essence Take half a pound of ground coffee, put it into a saucepan containing three pints of water, and boil it down to one pint. Cool the liquor, put it into another saucepan well scoured and boil it again. As it boils add white sugar enough to give the consistency of syrup. Take it from the fire and when cold put it into a bottle and seal. When travelling, if you wish for a cup of good coffee, you have only to put two teaspoonfuls of the syrup into an ordinary coffee-pot, and fill with boiling water. Add milk to taste. This preparation is of great use to those who have long journeys to make." I guess with the sugar added, you would end up with rather more than a pint of coffee essence. Not sure that I believe that 2 tsp can make a pot of coffee, but who knows?

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  10. Hi, could you give a little overview of how the system worked? I'd heard of rationing but not points. WWII isn't a period I know much about.

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    1. I'll do a post with the facts and figures on Wednesday 😊

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  11. Don't know anything about "Camp coffee" (that does sound funny now!) but my father had been at boarding school before the war (and then a medical officer in Italy with the NZ army) and every so often he used to get a hankering for Coffee and hickory essence ... one cup and he would recover his sanity!! We kids thought it was disgusting.

    Good luck with the challenge, it does sound complicated.

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    1. I hadn't thought of 'camp' in those terms ... but now I'll smile every time I look at the jar 😉

      It says it is 'Chicory and Coffee Essence', I wonder if chicory and hickory are the same thing?

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  12. Don't forget that fish and rabbit were not on ration (but the queues were very long} and provided they had not sold out before your turn, they really helped to supplement your rations. When meat was in short supply, we were required to take corned beef as a substitute for part of our entitlement.
    I am really looking forward to your challenge and to reliving those days
    EH.

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    1. I know ... but as countryfolk we wouldn't have had to queue up at all for rabbit. Alan has his gun and we have a hillside that teems with rabbits ftom March onwards. I might even let him have one or two of his frozen rabbit fillets ftom last Autumn if he gets hungry 😊

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