Ration Book Experiment for one month starting soon.

It’s been 11 years since I lived a full year on 1940s WW2 rations as a social experiment to experience how families had to make do with basic foods and get by. I feel like I’m losing some of those experiences and memories and could do with a reminder. Of course nothing could compare to the real-life of those who had to endure not only these restrictions but the devastation of war, personal security, trauma, bereavement, grief and an unknown future.

I’m preoccupied with the state of the world right now, hopefully more than I need to be but nevertheless it’s on my mind every single day. I feel a need to start preparing for the worst and hope for the best and what better way than to have a practise run with returning to a WW2 ration book diet for 1 month.

However, in a world of abundance, most of us in the developed world never have to worry if there will be food in the shops to buy, and when we run out we simply pop out and stock up, no queuing, no anxieties.

Lets look at wheat as an example.

While we in the UK grow around 85% of our own wheat many other countries rely more heavily on imports and with Ukraine and Russia typically exporting over 1/4 of the worlds wheat the supply could be affected by the ongoing conflict either by Russia withholding supplies or raising prices.

News like this scares me a little…

The world has just 10 weeks’ worth of wheat stockpiled after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted supplies from the “breadbasket of Europe”.

The Daily Telegraph

What about wheat in the UK?

Imports account for only 15% of our requirements, and these come mainly from Germany and Canada. Therefore we are not anticipating any supply problem or availability issues. However, prices of wheat have risen steeply on all markets. Between 16th February and 3rd March, the quotation for wheat on the London futures market rose by 28%.

UK Flour Millers

While wheat may not be an issue for us in the UK it’s almost certain that we may experience rising prices and even some scarcity as the year rolls out for some of our supplies. The pandemic continues to still affect businesses, livelihoods and health in many countries throughout the world too. We can never be certain what this year and 2023 holds for us all.

What if I lost my job? What if I became ill and couldn’t work? What if my income halved? WHAT IF WW3 REALLY HAPPENS? Never say never, stranger things have happened.

And that is why I feel it may be prudent to really deep dive into experiencing living with less, not only because of my historical interest in the 1940s domestic/kitchen front but also that getting used to spending less and trying to set aside a little money every month to prepare for an uncertain future only makes common sense.

So from Monday the 13th June, I’ll be returning to living 100% by a WW2 ration book for a full month. I’d like to record the cost of living this way in depth, how suddenly having to do without my favourite foods impacts on my mood, I just need reminding. It’s been easy living for too long…

I’ll be using rations supplied to a vegetarian during WW2 and using homemade oat milk and plant-based cheese as the extra cheese ration given to those who didn’t eat meat. I will share my menu and supplies in depth this week as I put together everything I need.

Is there anyone else up for doing this? It would be great to share your experiences here too. I’d love to also do a live stream Q & A during the month of rationing.

Look forward to hearing from you, C xxxx


Due to such interest in participating in this, I’m putting together some resources and a download so we can all have a bash at this together and share our experiences. This is so great and lovely to see so many people signing up. I will have something available online to download in a couple of days. C xxx

54 thoughts on “Ration Book Experiment for one month starting soon.

  1. Yes, I definitely up for this. I will need to read up a bit and I think the meat ration could be difficult due to rising costs but I do like a challenge.
    The world is terrifying right now, what a mess we’ve got ourselves into.

  2. I will be following you but i will be in Sweden for a few weeks. Gives me some time to read up on it and do it in July when i am home again.

  3. I’d like to give it a go. Being vegan myself, I’d follow the the vegetarian ration too but what would you use to replace the egg?

    • Hi Alyson, I was just thinking that same thing and Googling to see if I could find out what people might swop an egg for, they were quite sought after so I bet you could have got a lb of oats or something!! If I come across something I will let you know. I’m going to use a plant based cheese as my vegetarian style ration and oat milk instead of dairy milk. xxxx

      • I was thinking, as I am vegan too, that if I try and do this for a week I might use 2 LMc Veggie Sausages instead of the egg, that way it doesn’t complicate the cheese ration or add something that should be on points and not on basic rations.

  4. Iʻm very intrigued but not sure I can manage it due to my disability. But I will research US rationing. Thank you for all your work and strong leadership Carolyn!! The world is scary now and rationing or not, we all can simplify and cut back! Iʻve been doing that anyway with rising prices and my hubby is riding his bicycle more. Gas $$$.
    Thank you!

    • It will be so interesting to hear some comparisons compared to UK rationing amounts. I’ve heard about your rising gas prices and have been hearing they expect gas prices could even double by late 2022? Our biggest increases here in the UK at the moment are the cost of our electricity and natural gas supplies to heat and power our homes, these prices have really jumped and are expected to be at least double by later this year. xxxxx C

      • Truly scary!! Iʻm always taken aback in WW2 movies about England, families have their coats and mittens on in their houses.

  5. What a great idea and how timely. I finished reading the Ration Book Diet book just yesterday. It is meant to be 🙂
    I will organise myself to do this too. I have weight to lose and money to save and I also worry we are heading for more troubled times and feel the need to do something, anything, to improve my chances of getting through it all. Count me in! X

    • Oh this is FANTASTIC! Its so much better to do things together!! I’m going through the modern day costs of rationing and points so will post my lists this week for everything including my menu for the first week. I am already horrified at how little cheese (I’ll be using vegan cheese). I feel the same way you do Jules!! xxx

      • Sounds brilliant. Honestly, I think I eat a weeks cheese ration in a day sometimes. It’s good to think about that we do and take for granted. Good luck Carolyn and I’ll get organised. Xx

  6. I’m in. I’m from the USA, so some of it might be more complex.
    Would you consider posting a pdf or link to the rations book you’ll be using? Also a carnivore version if you have one?

    • Yes no problem, I am already working on this and hope to have something completed and up and posted later this week. This should be really interesting!! xxx Look forward to hearing of your experiences! C xx

  7. I want to join you! Can you advise us on how to plan and prepare? I know most of what you have written should be a guide but faced with a week to get ready I’m feeling lost. Thank you!

    • This is great Carol! Leave this with me, I’m working on creating a downloadable pack to hopefully help people out, hope to have this ready in the next day or two xxxx I’ve already bought my loose tea! 🙂

      • You are awesome! Thank you for your hard work and dedication.
        I always drink loose tea so I guess I’m in step. It’s not easy to fine in Texas!

  8. some of my Mormon friends have been teaching this for a while. 2 years supplies, but with limited space in my homes and flats we should at least have 6-9 months, Buy now, rotate supplies. The prices will only go up, so investing in food will pay more than bank interest rates.

    • This is really interesting and totally agree. I was watching a YouTube channel today and this woman gave me Pantry envy! A very well stocked and laid out pantry with 6 months supply of food which is rotated. But like you say in reality a lot of people don’t have that room. I have my extra supplies in plastic boxes hidden under the bed, behind a hung curtain and also hidden in an unused turned off fridge. C xxx

    • We keep a well stocked hurricane pantry because we live near Houston, TX. I would really rather live somewhere else but I guess I would always have a disaster pantry.

      • I moved from Florida to Kansas 3 years ago. Hurricane prep has yet to go away.
        My Midwest neighbors continue to look at me like I’m an insane person every spring. 🤣

  9. I am in from the US. I have many of the same concerns. You have been an inspiration and I appreciate your generosity and leadership.

    • Dear Deanna, that is wonderful, I think during these times when we just don’t know how things will play out, it feels like we are at least preparing in some way, better to do something than nothing and I think we can all learn off each other. Thank you xx C

  10. Count me in. I am plant based and in the US. The world is indeed a very scary place at the moment.

    • I will do Cheryl and it sure is! I just can’t comprehend the devastation and the displacement of the Ukranian people, so many people have lost absolutely everything. xxxx 🙁

  11. Me too Carolyn, only can I start a week later as I will be at Coiston Lake celebrating a special birthday!? This is a brilliant idea, thank you for all the effort you put in.xx

    • Oh yes of course xx It’s open to anyone to pop in and out, even if it’s just for a few days or a weekend! I just think it’s great to all experience something together and record those thoughts and feelings. xxxx

  12. I would love to do this with you. I grew up on a ranch that was self sufficient and there were times certain foods were scarce and we had to supplement with other things that were available for that time of year. I see how my kids have no idea what scraping and using what we have in order to survive looks like. I and my family are on board for this.

  13. UK & US sanctions are responsible for non shipments of wheat from Russia. It is hard to ship in blocked ports. As usual MSM plays the blame Russia game.

  14. I’ll join in too……did it a few years ago & my father in law, who lived through rationing & fought in Burma thought I was bonkers, needless to say he did like my Woolton pie (he lived with us)

  15. I would love to join you for this experiment. Desperately in need of reducing my waistline and increasing my finances! Need to get back to proper food not just lazy, crappy convenience food. Desperate to feel healthier and fitter!

  16. I would love to join you and all these lovely people for this Carolyn. I have been studying UK WW2 rations for a fiction book I am writing, actually living on the rations for a month will give me a real insight into how my Grandmother coped feeding a family living in a city during WW2, so count me in!

  17. I would love to also !!! I’m vegan and have gone to do thsi so many times and been put off by working our bean ration amounts etc…

  18. Also….. I have two children and one husband all vegan. So any tips on their ration amounts would be ace. I’m very very excited about this xxxx

  19. Hi Carolyn…… amazingly enough I got my WWII ‘Food Facts For The Kitchen Front’ book out this morning with the intention of planning a ‘ration book week’ ! Having just read your post it has encouraged me even more to live by ‘rations’ again. Unfortunately I have a wedding to attend this month and a couple of other ‘meals out’ so won’t be able to do it 100% but I am certainly going to put the effort in on the days/meals that I can.

    It doesn’t hurt any of us to go without now and again and the ‘ration’ way of eating is extremely healthy as you proved all those years ago. Excellent idea to live on less financially also! Good luck Carolyn ! Xx

  20. Darla in USA. Count me in! I have the small country farm situation (not vegetarian), but just like the 1940s British farmers, I will have to greatly reduce my animals due to feed grain prices doubling again; twice in 3 months. Any information on weekly allowed amounts for flour and oatmeal during rationing would be great. I finally found a suet source from a small butcher shop. It is from Bison (Buffalo), but it’s nice, and I can’t wait to make some WW2 suet pastry. Thank you for organizing this and letting us all join in.

    • Flour wasn’t rationed in the UK until after the war, but only wholemeal/whole wheat, was available (national flour) and people were encouraged to eat locally grown potatoes rather than wheat, which was often imported from Australia, Canada or the US. I have seen oats on other websites as unrationed or 1-2 points per pound.

      • I believe in Scotland oats were unrationed for most of the war… I used my points for lots of oats as they are so versatile xxxxx

  21. I’m in. I have a full freezer and well stocked store cupboards but am guessing that canny WWII housewives would have kept a ‘stash’ of goods laid down before rationing began; goods that would have had to have been eaked out over time. I know that freezers weren’t common so will be using mine to only access my meat ration over the month.

  22. I’m planning a sort of modified WW2 experiment myself. I tried to find out what was rationed in Canada with little success. It seems we weren’t really rationed much, but I’m guessing not a lot was available of certain items: cheese, milk, etc.
    So, I’m modifying Britain’s rations to make it work for me, but still be a challenge. 🙂
    Okay, it’s mostly because the 1 oz of cheese and 1 egg is just not going to be something I can handle. lol

    • It seems so little doesn’t it! The rations I listed were the minimum amount they occasionally dropped to, I thought it was important to relive the worst of it! 🙂 C xx

  23. I’m so excited to join you in this experiment. Although I live in the USA, I’ll be following the UK rationing system.

  24. Pingback: The WWII Ration Challenge Month Introduction | Annamarie Neill

  25. I’m a little late to the party here, but intrigued. Really enjoying browsing your posts and hoping to get involved. Time to see what my cooking and planning skills are really made of!

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