Friday, 9 March 2018

Living on Rations - Week Four - Day 25

I've just finished reading yet another book. 

This one by Megan Westley has been a really good read, and has been my bedtime reading for the past few nights.  It's a good book to buy if you like reading a mix of information about what happened and when during the second World War as it has lists of dates and events at the beginning of each chapter but it is also about a person challenging themselves to live on wartime rations for a whole year ... a person after my own heart just with a lot more stamina.

Could I do this challenge for a whole year, I very much doubt it.  There's too much to think about and I feel as though my every waking thought is food at the moment and I really wouldn't want to carry on like this after this week is over.

What doing this challenge for almost four weeks has highlighted for me is that we can and do already eat very cheaply, that we have far too much food in our store cupboards and freezer ... after all I've barely shopped for the past four weeks, we have been able to 'buy' almost all of the things we needed for each weeks ration from our own stores.  But the main thing that has been highlighted for me is that although I like spending time in my kitchen cooking from scratch I also like the ability at the drop of a hat to be able to say sod it, and just have a couple of Linda McCartney sausage rolls and a splodge of mayo to dunk them in for my tea.   

The wartime housewives have my full respect. 

To have to produce tasty, filling and as nutritiously balanced as possible meals day in day out for well over six years must have been such hard work, and to do it under terrifying conditions, at times on very little sleep due to night time air raids.  Lots of them without the help of husbands or partners who were away fighting for king and country.  Imagine never knowing when you went out shopping if the food you wanted or needed would even be available to buy in the shops, or how long you would have to queue to get that food.

We are so lucky these days.  We can pop to the shops buy foods from all over our country and from all over the world.  We can eat foods that are not in season here but that we just want to continue eating all year round just because we like it whenever we want to.  This was brought home to me in a very funny way last week, we were watching the television news during the heavy snowfalls of last week and a man was being interviewed who had been snowed into his village for almost a week, when he was questioned about how they were coping the first thing he said was 'it's been terrible ... we're down to our last avocado' !!

For breakfast this morning we had toast, spread and marmalade, I had lunch out with Mum at a British Restaurant (Wyevale) and Alan had some of his freshly cooked lamb on sandwiches.

Tea was the Shepherdess Pie in the round dish, that I had put into the freezer last week with a freshly made mashed potato topping ... and very nice it was too.

Sue xx


  1. If I'd heard that about the advocado I would have burst out laughing. To me it's akin to Marie Antoinette saying "Let them eat cake".

    Joan (Devon)

  2. That book looks really interesting, think I'll have to get a copy. Wartime housewives had such a hard time sourcing food and then having to try and feed a whole family, how they managed I don't know. But I guess it was the way things were, and they just had to get on with it. Makes me wonder how people would cope today, in the event of another world war and similar shortages.

  3. Well done Sue, I echo everything you say, we are so lucky to have the choice and the freedom with our food, but some of us take it for granted and abuse it by either gluttony and food waste and it is so easily done if we don't have to think about it too hard. I do get a bit miffed when someone has to step in and make manufacturers reduce content and calories of some of our food because so many of us are too fat ( my hand is up here ),we all should take more responsibility for our own food choices and what we feed our children, and I am sure making more food from scratch would help and envolving children in meal preparation. Hey ho, it's not a perfect world and these are just the musings of a 62 year old who loves nothing more than creating bottom of the fridge meals and glowing in that sense of achievement!

  4. Love the avocado comment and love the sound of the book, so much so that I have whizzed over to Amazon to buy a copy. Thanks very much for the recommendation.
    Maybe, if one had to keep going, it would become more of a habit. It's only recently that most of us have been in the position of being able to go for a meal out, take away or ready meal. Before then, they would be used to it anyway.
    I remember Mum saying that at times they would have the same meal day after day and no-one thought anything of it really.
    J x

  5. We do take our food for granted now sadly. We have started to get an organic box of veg each week but it's just from the uk in season veg. As a result I am trying to use every bit - it's a third of our grocery budget so precious 🙂 I too chuckled at the avocado comment 😂 May have to go have a look for that book. X

  6. You have done very well with your challenge. I am with you though I could do it for a few weeks, but wouldn't want to rule our lives with it, we do try and eat cheaply nearly all the time, but if and when we want a day out or a treat we do not go without.

  7. Congratulations on keeping it going for a month. I'm not sure I could have done it.

  8. avocados! for goodness sake. Most people wouldnt survive now if we had to go back to war rations. they would go to pieces. we had no water for a few days. we have bottled we were ok.

  9. You've done really well. Six years! Can you imagine having to do that if you had no family to share it? You would have done well for quite a while with your stores of food in pantry and freezer but not for years at a time as they did. Hardy folk weren't they?

  10. I think folk were more resilient and a lot less"entitled" than they can be these days because they take so much for granted. I'm learning to scale down as a result of following this experiment and have found less waste and more gratitude as a result.

  11. Your posts remind me of the stories my Mum tells of the war years in rural Australia. I’m not sure if their rationing was quite as hash or not, but living on a mixed farm they were rather lucky. A staple over here was “Underground Mutton” , ie. rabbit, as they were in plague proportions. So many of the older generation refused to eat it when regular meat became more available. Your tales of shopping also remind me of Mr Jones the butcher in Dad’s Army. It is amazing how innovative you can become in the face of necessity. I’m waiting for bread and butter pudding to appear on the menu to use up stale bread.

  12. The closest I can think is the experience of people coping here in New Zealand after the earthquake, and that was pretty short-lived. One big problem for many cooks in those circumstances today would be that they don't know how to cook, and certainly are reliant on cookbooks - my lovely DIL can't cope at all with substituting ingredients in a recipe - it sends her into an absolute spin. to give her her due, she cooks using healthy, no-sugar-recipes. And worse, theres a whole generation younger than her who think everything comes out of prepared jars (full of sugar and trans-fats) - they'd be totally lost.

  13. Yep I've gone and bought the book! Thank you for the recommendation lol 😂


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