Day 1 of Living on WW2 Rations Experiment

First day of a month of the “Living on WW2 Rations Experiment”. Already it has actually felt a LOT harder than I remember it was (I spent a year on wartime rations many, many years ago).

For this experiment I rather stupidly decided that the minimum UK WW2 ration was in order to truly feel the pinch. Probably the biggest grumbles I am hearing from those participating, even on day one, is the lack of cheese. At its worst, the standard WW2 ration allowed a mere 1 oz of cheese per adult (vegetarians were allowed an extra 3 oz each week instead of meat + an extra egg). This is hardly enough for a modest cheese sandwich.

My day was literally exhausting and as I type this at 11:30 pm, I haven’t even done the washing up but I did manage a full day at work, recorded and edited a video recipe AND spent the evening at A & E with my daughter (all is fine don’t worry). 

I of course also did manage 3 ration book meals today and these were:

Breakfast: 2 slices of toast with a scraping of margarine and a scraping of jam.

Lunch: A mixed salad with homemade dressing plus two more slices of bread with (you’ve probably guessed it) a scraping of margarine.

Dinner: Bubble and Squeak (which I also filmed and put up on YouTube)

I didn’t have time for the planned “Beetroot Pudding” but once we returned from A & E I grabbed YET ANOTHER slice of bread and topped it with YES YOU’VE GUESSED IT, a scraping of margarine and a scraping of Marmite.

Working out my calories out of interest I really think it was pretty low, probably around 1200-1300 calories which is half of what I normally eat.

C xxx

8 thoughts on “Day 1 of Living on WW2 Rations Experiment

  1. Morning Carolyn,
    So glad to see you here again. Enjoy the experiment.
    Just wondering if you can supplement the rations with foraged food IE Nettle, wild strawberries, blackcurrants etc. I presume this was done during the time of rationing, also any garden grown foodstuff.

    BTW I am currently reading “The Crystal Skull” by Manda Scott. It uses the White Horse and Wayland Smithy as locations. A bit far fetched, and she seems to think that this location is 1/2 hr from Oxford, and that Oxford is very close to Cambridge, and Yorkshire.

    BTW BTW my Rhubarb is doing remarkably well, as is my strawberries, and Blackcurrants. Peas, & French Beans went into the garden last weekend. they are a bit small as yet, as is the beetroot. my broad beans completely failed to germinate (they are probably 5 years past their use by date). I got a good 10lb from them last year, I have bought some more and have only just sown them. Birds have eaten all my blueberries, The wild strawberries are fruiting, but I only eat a few of these, and leave the rest for the animals. I am not growing potatoes, or carrots this year.

    Good luck with the month

    Paul & Wendy.

    • Hi Paul…Good evening! I’m catching up for the day after work. I may definitely need to forage…I’m getting low!!! Ahhh Wayland Smithy, CANT BELIEVE that was 10 months ago. Had such a lovely couple of days away and it was so lovely to meet you and Wendy. Sounds like your garden is absolutely lovely…mine is rubbish, I’m doing OK with the herbs and have gooseberries but nothing else! C xxx

  2. My other half is refusing to play since I showed him how much cheese he’d get. And that’s despite him being a vegetarian and getting my ration too.
    I think the hardest bit for me will be eggs and also baking.
    Day one went well for me and I think I stayed within target.

    Living on rations during the war would have been difficult for me – I suffer from allergies and migraines, and can’t eat nuts, cheese or bacon/ham/pork. I would probably have got some chickens for extra eggs and hoped that a friend would keep rabbits for meat (was that allowed? Or did the meat have to be surrendered?)

  3. On Sue Hall’s blog she is soon to do the Refugee Ration Challenge and something she mentioned was ‘carb brain’ and difficulty thinking straight after about 4 days. It seems you are going to have to rely heavily on bread for much of your diet, so might the same problems apply?

    • If you look at a good diabetic diet (not the crazy ones) you will find that ‘sugars’ are in everything, not just ‘heavy’ carbs like bread or baked goods in particular. The main key is a s balanced a diet as you can make it.

  4. I did quite well I feel. As I anticipated the tea was by far the hardest thing, I made a pot then topped it up with hot water and managed 3 teacupsful, nowhere near my usual intake.
    I have to go out for lunch on Friday, so I am hoping to have either a ham salad (ham from ration) or a jacket potato, but I’ll have to see what their menu is like. I am also telling myself that not only could you eat out during WW2 but you were actually encouraged to do so, but I will be trying my best to emulate rationing.

    I haven’t even bought my cheese yet and don’t intend doing so for at least a couple of weeks. I’d rather have it all in one go, once a month! Something to look forward to, in my case cauliflower cheese! I suppose I am fortunate, I love cheese, but seldom buy it due to it’s calorific value, so I have a very restricted intake anyway.

    I am also hoping to save most of my sugar to make jam, hopefully my raspberries will ripen soon. I don’t really bake, I am not trustworthy with the results. If it’s there I’ll eat it, so it’s better for it not to be there in the first place.

    I am thinking that after the month is up that I will continue,but with 20 points and 2 oz of cheese, but I will NOT be rationing tea!

    As for the question about rabbit meat, yes you could keep rabbits for meat and many did, they were relatively easy to keep, prolific and a valuable source of protein. There were no alternatives for migraine sufferers I am afraid and I am one.

    • My Grandmother was 21 when WWII broke out. They had to billet american officers based at Burtonwood after America joined the war.
      She only ever had very weak tea – no sugar for the remainder of her life – the weaker the better. It was more or less hot water and a dab of milk. I am thinking that this came from getting accustomed to it during the war.

  5. All that I have either read or gleaned from my mother’s experiences of life in WW2 on the dreaded rationing tells me that if you could grow or raise it yourself to add to your food intake was fair game. Mum was a country girl (with 8 siblings) so when she went to a munitions factory for the whole of the war it was something of a culture shock for her. Most of other the girls were from cities, her best pal was from London and knew nothing of country life at all – not even the famous hop picking. Foraging for wild berries, mushrooms, etc were part of village life. Pig clubs were set up to use up scraps and the resulting product fed hungry mouths also chickens were common place as were rabbits – rural folk did all that anyway so there was no change for them.

Leave a Reply