Well here we are, our last day of rationing.
This morning it was toast for breakfast, served with a titchy tiny bit of spread ... getting every last bit out of the tub ... but with lashings of homemade orange marmalade. Lunch is a tub of soup from the freezer with toast and our evening meal will be a hotch potch of leftovers to empty out the freezer and fridge shelf. A jacket potato with vegan cheese, some Shepherdess Pie and the last pork chop.
We did it :-)
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To finish off the Challenge I promised to answer any questions that you wanted to ask about the Challenge so here goes -
From Winters End Rambler: It should certainly have proved frugal for your years main challenge if nothing else! x
It has really helped us. In total over the 28 days of the challenge we spent just £24.49 on food.
From Faith: Any individual recipes you spotted that you'd like to cook afterwards, even if you're not doing full on rations?
We are definitely going to be having Tomato Macaroni Au Gratin again and again. Other favourites were Smothered Sausages and Woolton Pie (with a wholemeal pastry topping).
From Sue: My question is did you get fed up with mashed potatoes?!
No, we surprisingly we didn't get fed up of potatoes at all. We had them baked, boiled, made into wedges and yes, mashed. I think we might have a few days off from spuds but on the whole we haven't been put off them :-)
From Catz: My question is did you have any serious cravings for food/drinks unavailable to you in wartime?
We did crave fresh salady vegetables. I had some Iceberg lettuce in the fridge at the start of the challenge and we really made it last as long as we could but once that was gone we missed it. I did kind of cheat as they are out of season and bought us some tomatoes and again we made these last for quite a few meals. Of course our onions had to be used very sparingly as well so we missed having onion slices on sandwiches.
Oh, and I missed my copious quantities of sparkling water .... but it was my intention of using rationing to break this habit. I only used about two large bottles over the course of the month and this was to top up my small bottle for travelling and for drinking at the cinema.
From: Margie from Toronto: I would like to ask if you got bored with anything in particular and how do you think singletons living in the city would have coped?
The thing I got bored with the most was the lack of spontaneity.
Usually even if you have menu plan for the week ahead you can chop and change, throw the plan out of the window for a day and raid the cupboard for something completely different if the mood takes you. With a smaller amount of food in stock this was not really possible, other than switching between the days we had certain things, or changing the way I cooked the vegetables, ... mash instead of boiled potatoes etc.
Singletons living in the city would have had a much harder time of it, and I think they really did in wartime. Unless they had access to some outdoor space to grow at least a few vegetables to add to their ration it would have been extremely difficult. Also the points system was not geared very well for single people. Just 16 points per month was allowed for each person and some tins of fish and meat were a full 16 points. This is where vegetarians would have been better catered for as they could have bought a lot of dried pulses and things like rice with their points but not meat products like Spam etc.
From Alice via email: Have you lost any weight during this Challenge?
I seriously doubted that I would lose any weight over the course of the last four weeks as I have literally felt podged, BUT ... I have lost one pound and luckily according to our WW scales it is one pound of fat ... result. Alan has lost 4lbs so he is very pleased as at no time has he been hungry.
From Caroline via email: Have there been any health repercussions during the Challenge due to all the unhealthy carbs?
Actually no not at all, I think because you might be eating more carbs but at the same time eating a lot less protein your body does learn to adapt very quickly.
Our health stats are really quite good. I have high blood pressure but my blood pressure readings went down by around 20 figures and my blood sugar dropped by point two ... although I am well into the normal range anyway. Alan who is diabetic found his readings went down by 3.2, still higher than it should be but surprisingly not affected in any detrimental way by the amount of carbs consumed.
We both lost a little bit of weight and I lost an inch off my waist, which can only be a good thing.
From John via email: Did you miss shopping and filling your supermarket trolley with anything you fancied?
Yes, I did miss shopping, but luckily the year long Challenge that we were already doing had already tempered my shopping habits drastically before this Challenge had even begun. I also found that I looked at the vast array of available food, especially imported out of season food in a whole new way.
From Elaine via email: Are there any changes that you made during rationing that will be remaining with you after your rationing ends?
Yes ... I think we will be even more inclined to eat seasonally and produce as much as our own food as possible. I will also try and keep up with the menu planning. It does take a weight off your mind if the meals you are eating each night are at least listed and you don't have to stand at an open fridge every day and ponder.
From Candace: Did you find anything that you want to eat less of going forward?
From the foods we have been eating during rationing my first thought would be to eat less bread going forward ... it really seems to bloat me ... maybe I'll go back to eating just a couple of slices a day instead of a third of a loaf ;-)
From what we have learnt during the rationing period I would also say that except for maybe a splurge on salady things for a couple of days now that rationing has ended, I think we will be eating much less out of season foods, and also things that the supermarket may call food but are in fact manufactured, processed items.
From Liz Bloyce: Hi, have you come across what the rations were for toddlers?
Children under five (along with pregnant women and nursing mothers) had a green ration book and would be entitled to the first choice of any fruit available, a daily pint of milk and a double supply of eggs. Children between the ages of five and sixteen years of age had a blue ration book which gave them choice of available fruit, a full meat ration and half a pint of milk a day.
From e: I am wondering how this experiment will influence your portioning, shopping and savings habits going forward and also if you feel healthier or are any lighter since this began?
Now that rationing is over I will be going back to our regular portioning sizes and mostly using our smaller sized plates. Some rationing portions were huge and some tiny it was very strange. I will continue with our Challenge year shopping using money from The Purse until it runs out. We only buy what we can't produce ourselves usually so that will continue, but I will perhaps push myself to produce even more for ourselves. I need to get better at successional sowing of seeds and not having gaps, between one crop and the next, and I should try to reduce the 'hungry gap' even further for next year.
I don't feel any healthier, in fact I feel quite lethargic at the moment, but that is perhaps due to the fact that the weather has been dire and I have not done much outside work to off set the amount of stodge I have been eating. But now even if I don't get outside much over the next week or so I can at least go back to eating more salady based meals and smoothie type breakfasts.
Somehow I have lost one pound of fat and an inch off my waist though ... so that is good :-)
Musings from me:
On the whole we loved doing this challenge within a Challenge. It reinforced in our minds that the way we live is by and large a good one for us and would be our salvation if anything awful were to happen in the world in the future.
It showed us that what we are doing here on our own five acres of Welsh hillside, producing our own fruits and vegetables, raising the hens for eggs, using wood from our woodland for the log burners, having solar power and a rainwater harvesting system and living simply is a good way to live and one that a lot of people aspire to.
Even now at the end of a very changeable Winter I could go out and from our own land scrape together the makings of a meal with no help from supermarkets. The veggie patch and the tunnels would supply the means for vegetable stews, soups and warming casseroles. Of course the hens supply us with eggs each day so that would be breakfast taken care of. There are enough pheasants roaming the woodland to give Alan the taste of meat in his portion every now and then, and soon rabbits will be making an appearance ... although if he shoots the Easter bunny I will be very unhappy.
When we started this way of living it wasn't meant to be any kind of survivalist way of life but I think living on rations even for such a short time has proved to us both that we could scrimp and scrape a life on very little money here on our small homestead if we had to, and that of course is just what we are doing this year while we save like mad to pay off the final bit of our mortgage.
So now it's time to rip up the ration books and get back to the main Challenge ...
Digging for Victory on a Welsh Hillside
Rationing is over :-)