Our “Living on WW2 Rations Experiment” group is just amazing. Not only the sharing of what we are eating but some really valuable resources! Thank you to Claire Dolman who shared this resource in the group yesterday. I had to immediately share this on here as I know we all struggle with points!
This 40 page booklet “Rationing in the United Kingdom” by the Ministry of Food takes you through EVERYTHING about the rationing and points system during WW2 in the UK and shortly afterwards. It also is a great resource historically as it lists how rationing amounts and points changed for certain foods throughout the years of the war.
It’s worth noting that although the points list is extensive that a lot of items were very scarce and not always available.
Stay with me, don’t leave yet. This soup is surprisingly delicious (if you like cabbage of course!). Also it only costs about 40p to make 2 large bowlfuls (or 4 smaller ones). Infact, I worked it out that for 1 large bowlful plus 2 slices of bread it cost me about 28p for my lunch today.
I digress. Despite this soup perhaps looking rather “earthy” and unappetizing to a demographic of people who love more saturated tones, it actually tasted rather wonderful (don’t skimp on the seasoning though!). I will make this again quite regularly!
1 oz dripping or cooking fat
4 oz shredded cabbage (I used savoy)
1 medium sized onion (or spring onion or some leek)
3 oz carrot grated (1 medium carrot- I pinched another one from my Guinea Pigs stash)
1 oz oatmeal/porridge oats
1 pint of stock or water
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of pepper
1 pint of milk (I added half a pint of homemade oat milk)
Melt the fat in a saucepan and fry the vegetables except for the cabbage, gently for about 5 minutes without browning. Add the cabbage and oatmeal and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the stock or water and seasoning and boil gently for 20 minutes. lastly, add the amount of milk you want and heat through.
Serves 2 large bowls or 4 smaller ones.
This cabbage soup wartime recipe broken down by cost
Rolled oats 5p
Milk (homemade oat milk) 5p
Spring onion or onion 10p
Calories for this recipe using homemade oat milk is around 400 Kcal
1 portion of soup plus 2 slices of bread with a scraping of margarine = 450 Kcal
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.
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.
Annnnnddd tomorrow it begins! The “Living on WW2 Rations Experiment” where some of us will be experiencing life living on the MINIMUM UK WW2 rations for a month (or a day, or a week, whatever you fancy!) Rationing amounts often changed but choosing the minimum amount available to people during some months, really will offer an insight into the difficulties families faced making limited food supplies stretch. We can never of course, get anywhere close to what families had to endure but feel it’s important to try and never forget…
My video above is a simple introduction into my own personal WW2 Rations Experiment month but I do hope to recreate several popular recipes throughout the month for my blog and YouTube.
If you are late to this please feel free to join in or be an observer, whether you want to follow the UK minimum standard ration or one from your own geographical location, it’s all good, it’s all LIVING HISTORY.
And during these times of uncertainty and rising food and fuel costs, learning how to make do with less will not only help our beautiful planet by preserving resources but will help our money stretch further.
Please check my other recent posts where you will find free downloadable PDF’s to help you join in with this experiment. Remember to keep a diary and share your menu’s and your experiences. Would love to hear them!
I thought it would be amazing to have a live chit-chat about our first week of the “Living on WW2 Rations Experiment” if anyone is up for it? I only can have up to 8 guests at a time appearing on the live stream but I just think it would be wonderful to talk about what we experienced!
If you have a decent internet connection and a webcam and audio you’d be able to do this, and lots of us are not so shy anymore after 2 years of the Pandemic and communicating so much online!
Please let me know if you are interested below, I’ll post this on FACEBOOK too and on the community tab on YOUTUBE.
A quick update! I’m cleaning my kitchen, it’s messy as it’s the end of the week and I do all my chores after work on a Friday. First thing I did was clear some space in my food cupboard for my non-perishable items and later I will clear a shelf in my fridge, portion out my margarine, butter and cheese and place my weekly purchased vegetables and homemade oat milk all together. This will make it much easier to find things and see how much I have left at a glance!
I’m a little distraught that I cannot locate my Woods Beryl Ware, I had a few pieces and they may well still be in a packing box somewhere. I also need to dig out a teapot for my tea!
I also lost my trusty flask. It was a simple stainless steel one but it was getting filled everyday with tea and sat on my desk when I was working from home or went with me to work when I wasn’t. I visited the two shops I popped into yesterday but both hadn’t seen it. I blame the menopause for my extreme forgetfulness right now!
Monday we start the challenge, am really looking forward to doing this as accurately as possible and hearing what everyone else is up to!
I’ll be recording a video over the weekend about the challenge and it will on my YouTube channel below as will hopefully a few recipes!
PS: Hold the press! I found my Beryl hidden in the back of my dresser. I only have two cups, one saucer and two side plates but am thrilled! I also have lots of older crockery too so not all is lost and will put that to good use! Even found my cow creamer!
When I had my smallholding in Wales before moving to Canada (I’m British and now living back in the UK), I had a huge stash of kitchenalia and it broke my heart to sell it at a car boot before moving overseas. I don’t have much vintage stuff, just a few pieces. C xxxx
Good morning, I woke up at 6am this morning, grabbed a cuppa tea and created my own week 1 WW2 rations shopping list, thought you might like to see it. I’ve broken down prices to what it would cost per week and I’ve taken the prices from ASDA which is where I normally shop online for my groceries.
I have more cheese on my weekly ration and no meat as I am taking the rations given to a vegetarian during WW2 and because I am vegan I’ll be using a plant-based cheese and not taking my ration of eggs or dairy milk (but will be making my own oat milk). For butter I am using Flora Plant B+tter, and for margarine and cooking fat I am using Flora Vegan Margarine. I could get the margarine cheaper but I like the taste of this one.
Just a quick update as I’ve literally finished work, had to walk to the pharmacy in town before it closed, made dinner and did some chores and then sat down and wrote my meal plan for the 1st week of the “Living on WW2 Rations Experiment”.
Before anyone asks about protein, many of my stews will contain some lentils or high protein beans, I haven’t 100% decided exactly what is what but tomorrow night I will work this out and write my shopping list for rationed foods, points food and non-rationed foods. PS: You might find this snippet interesting below, it shows the average calories per person in the UK before, during and after during wartime/rationing plus the amount of protein people were consuming. People were pretty active then. I think they were doing OK without the protein shakes!
So here is my menu for the 1st week, I will be making smaller portions and also using leftovers up the next day. I’ve included 3 puddings a week and the rest of the time it will be a piece of fruit in bed at night!
Wow! It seems there are about 30 of us who would like to participate in the “Living on WW2 Rations Experiment” starting on Monday the 13th June! Whether you just want to try a day or a week or want to do the full month, I’ve created a booklet to help you get started. You can download it here!
The download is 11 pages long and includes a “Minimum Standard Allowance Ration” for one adult for one week including some details on the points system. I’ve also included a menu sheet and diary sheet if you wanted to print these off as well as some links that hopefully you will find useful. I will also be doing updates on YouTube as well as some recipes so please subscribe here to receive notifications.
I’ve also included some useful links to other countries information on rationing, unfortunately I just don’t have the time for the several hours needed to research these to include these in full too but hopefully the links I have enclosed will give you a good start.
I’ve already bought my loose tea and some other supplies and this week I will clear out my cupboards and set aside a shelf just for “rationing” so I stick to what I’ve got!
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