A simple life

I won’t go in to too much detail on what a simple life I lead (I’ll save that for the book I’m trying to write- LOL!) but needless to say there maybe people who could end up being quite horrified when they eventually do…lets just say my 1940s Experiment has been pretty authentic in many respects not just culinary (no I haven’t used gravy browning on my legs)

Life throws us challenges, mine tend to be mostly financial BUT there are always ways to “mend and make-do” and live a very simple life where you can get by on much less money than you’d imagine. I’ve done this out of necessity but actually really enjoy my less wasteful life (at least my portion of it anyway). When the children have all left home there is no doubt in my mind I will be living in a small, very basic, off-grid home, maybe even with limited power and I don’t even mind heating up all my own hot water. Things like this simply do not bother me….. its bred into me somewhere I’m sure!

I tidied my 1940s cupboard tonight and it struck me how bare it must look to some people. I’ve got organic porridge oats, organic flour, some good old Lyle’s Golden Syrup (that was so popular during the war), Marmite, Bisto, a little jam, split peas, lentils, raisins, dates, tea, some cocoa and spices. But this is perfectly adequate when I add all the fresh vegetables and fruit and of course me meat(less) ration.

Cooking from scratch using fresh wholesome food instead of processed convenience food (or eating junk food) is surprisingly cheap… I did a price comparison with my pre-1940s diet – CLICK HERE for “Will eating a diet based on wartime rations save you money?”Β and I ended up saving nearly $10 a day..

I never got to dig my own victory garden this year, which was shame, as it’s so easy to grow ones own food and it allows you to consume super fresh organic produce for a fraction of the cost of store bought food. Time seems to be against me as always…..in 2013 I’ll make time.

Well it’s time to head to bed, it won’t be long until midnight but I wanted to write a blog post as this message from Samara inspired me earlier

“Carolyn,Just wanted to stop by and say hello. I found your blog almost by accident (or divine intervention!) six weeks ago as cooking frugally was put upon me to feed my family suddenly and without any warning. I just kept remembering stories of my grandmothers during the war and soldiering on in the face of adversity and with little money or food to be found. The thought of semi-rationing (or at least serious portion control!) was the idea. I was trying to do lots of recipes from memory, as that is how most were handed down to me, so finding your blog was a godsend. The added bonus of cutting almost all of the processed food out of my diet has resulted in a 10lb weight loss in a month. That might not seem like a lot but I and am hypothyroid and the weight packed on in the last few years and nothing takes the weight off! It is the first weight decrease in years! I need to lose about 60-70 more pounds just to get into the top end of the normal weight category. I want to tell you that your blog has inspired me that I can lose weight and cook for my family and live on an ever decreasing budget. Sam x….”

I do feel we can learn so much about budgeting, mending and making do and nourishing ourselves on limited means through everything that is remembered and written about the home front in Great Britain during World War II. A less wasteful and more sustainable way to live…

C xxxxx


8 thoughts on “A simple life

  1. Hi Carolyn.That’s a very inspiring post so thanks for staying up to write it. I need to plan a week’s cooking before I embark on my own 1940s experiment, Because lack of planning is what scuppers many diet attempts. However, I am making Woolton pie tonight. What attracted me to this whole idea is that controlling your diet through rations is so much more visual than doing it through calories. You can’t see those, but you can see your week’s rations weighed out in a box in the cupboard. It’s so clear then that you can have jam today, but not tomorrow too. It’s also very clear to see when someone has been coming down in the night and eating more than his fair share of cheese! I had plans for that! I bet there were lots of arguments about sharing in wartime. It was portion control, but not as we know it!

  2. Carolyn, I am glad that through the wonderful power of the blogosphere that we can make connections, share information, inspire and be able to support each other through ups, downs, tragedy and triumphs. And when all else fails to laugh for your sanity πŸ™‚ As I did this morning as Joss above so rightly observed, you can tell who has been raiding the pantry in the middle of the night. As guilty as the dog always looks, I think my 14 and 11 year old are the culprits! Time for a laugh (keeps sanity in check) and warm cup of tea and toast and start the day. Health and happiness to you. Sam x

  3. What an interesting idea! I just watched PBS’s 1940s House (my favorite kind of “reality show”) for the first time and definitely noticed a slight weight loss in the whole family because of their war time rationing. I never thought about using it as a diet and portion control means. Thanks for the inspiration! I look forward to following your progress. πŸ™‚

    • Oh I LOVED that- I haven’t seen it in many years but would love to see it again! Yes the Hymers definitely had challenges but they rallied around and got through… the children were wonderful xx

      • I’ve just started watching it again. It really made an impression on me when I first saw it, and now it is even more interesting, thanks to your fascinating posts. Margueritte Patten, in the first episode, looked amazing. She must have been ancient, but she looked so trim and smart. Had she continued on the rationing diet all through the intervening half century, I wondered.

      • πŸ™‚ I totally agree. From what I know of the lady she is an advocate of fresh wholesome food, she is a cook and a home economist forefront so although I doubt whether she would have stuck to rationing, she would have persisted eating “proper” food rather than relying on convenience and processed/junk food. And it looks like she enjoys long walks πŸ™‚ Marvellous lady….

  4. The thing that struck me about watching The 1940s House (at least the first two hours of it) was that the programme focussed on all the negatives. This, of course is nothing new for TV even though it goes against Margueritte Patten’s own attempts to be positive, “look for the rainbow”, and tempt people into creating delicious food from rations. The main thing that struck me, however, was that the show focussed so very much on the rationed food and the shortages; the problems with pastry, the lack of tinned goods and the sharing out of cake. Not to mention the lack of cigarettes. Vegetables were not rationed and formed the mainstay of people’s diets even if they didn’t have gardens to grow their own. I haven’t yet heard anyone mention the word ‘potato’! From what I’ve read, they must have had potatoes coming out of their ears in those days!

  5. Yes it does focus on some of the negatives but I think that was important to make us realize the contrast (in reality TV!)…… and YES Marguerite Patten was employed by the Ministry of Food to also “inspire” people and I’d imagine she did just that with her positive attitude.. who could help but hold their head up and carry on when she was broadcast to the nation in Women’s Hour πŸ™‚

    I’ve just posted the full TV series of the 1940s House on my blog- can’t wait to watch it again!

    Long live the potato!!!!! πŸ™‚ Tee hee!

    C xxxxxxx

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