Countdown to Rationing For a Full Year.

Happy New Year! A fresh start, a year full of hope, plans and promises!

My promise to myself in 2023 is to get my health (obesity) sorted out once and for all and in addition to therapy to address my need to overeat, return to a year on WW2 rationing. I have found it in my past, a fascinating social experiment and gives me a platform to share authentic meals and provide information for schools and people interested in history. Rationing during WW2 started on January the 8th 1940 so it seems right that I start my year the very next day especially as my birthday is on the 8th and my daughter is treating me to a takeaway!

While there will be plenty of time during this year to talk about rationing during WW2 in depth, today I just thought I would share with you how I’m going to initially start my first weeks off. I’ve made a decision to use plant based alternatives to meat as this will allow me to still recreate a lot of the recipes that call for bacon/meat/sausages and for me, recreating WW2 recipes is something I really enjoy. For minced meat I am using soya mince which although processed delivers high-quality nutrition on par with minimally processed animal-based counterparts, it also stores well, is high in protein and is very economical. Ultimately I want to move away fully from processed foods but for now these will assist me in the short term, in this endeavour.

PS: Using the points system (will talk about that properly another time) I’ll be filling up with dried beans and pulses. There will be a return to lots of porridge and my favourite potatoes and of course lots of vegetables!

I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in this challenge once again and getting back to it.

What regular weekly rations look like for an adult during WW2 (it varied)

  • Bacon & Ham 4 oz (114g)
  • Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1 lb minced beef or 2 large chops)
  • Butter 2 oz (57g)
  • Cheese 2 oz (57g)
  • Margarine 4 oz (114g)
  • Cooking fat 4 oz (114g)
  • Milk 3 pints (1.7 litres)
  • Sugar 8 oz (227g)
  • Preserves 1 lb (454g) every 2 months
  • Tea 2 oz (about 18 tea bags in modern day if you don’t have loose tea)
  • Eggs 1 fresh egg per week or 1 packet of egg powder per month (12 eggs) or vegetarians 2 fresh eggs
  • Sweets/Candy 12 oz every 4 weeks (3 oz or 85g per week)

*grams rounded up

What my rations will look like as a vegan in modern times

  • Bacon and Ham: Will use meat-free bacon
  • Meat: Soy mince (6 oz/170g) dry and 4 small meat-free sausages
  • Butter: Flora vegan butter
  • Cheese: Violife dairy free
  • Margarine: Flora dairy Free
  • Cooking fat: Flora Plant margarine or vegan lard
  • Milk: Oat milk made myself or bought
  • Sugar: regular sugar
  • Preserves: 1 large jar a month (I still have some I made 2 years ago)
  • Tea: 2 oz of loose leaf but will use up what I’ve got first (about 18 tea bags per week)
  • Eggs: Not taking the ration
  • Sweets: Probably mints!

11 thoughts on “Countdown to Rationing For a Full Year.

  1. I shall be joining you in this, Carolyn. It is both healthy and frugal for these challenging times.

    We are rationing fuel too, the oven is crammed full with a tray bake and tea loaf and jacket potatoes when it is on for the weekly pot roast (not much meat but plenty of vegetables, pulses and pearl barley). I use the pressure cooker and hay box. The heating is on 14°C just in the day, so no staying up late, and we are wrapped up in woolly layers.

    “IS YOUR JOURNEY REALLY NECESSARY?” Under a mile each way, and I can walk it. I get my free bus pass next month and shall use it regularly. My mother used just one shopping bag and a string bag for vegetables for her weekly shop for six of us. The difference was that she bought just basic ingredients. There is a challenge.

    I wish you the best of health and peace in this new year.

  2. I’ll be joining you not sure if I’ll last a year, but I’ll give it a go. As a vegetarian I’ll be swapping my meat products too but the Richmond streaky is the nicest facon I’ve tasted and can be separated into ration portions and frozen. Will be having the egg and order egg powder off eBay 😁 – good luck with it and to anyone else joining in.

  3. Likewise I’m in. I find the soy mince here in Oz isn’t at all nice, so I will use mushrooms finely chopped in place of the mince. Veg sausage and bacon is good though. I am not using my kitched aids, just a good knife and a box grater.

    My work dictates the need to drive, however, where shifts allow I will only do the short drive to station and use the train. (which i have been doing for several months already now.)

    I have packed meals for work as well, once I’m flying again it gets tougher if I’m away for up to 4 days, but It’ll be interesting to find a way, (that can mean up to 11 meals need to be prepared and packed.)

    A question: has anyone else noticed since discussions on here about rationing and perhaps, as I have, some online research, online adverts keep cropping up for meal delivery services, eg. Marley Spoon?
    I’ve never searched for these services, so i thought it weird. Those things have to be the most uneconomical way to buy food!

    • “I find the soy mince here in Oz isn’t at all nice, so I will use mushrooms finely chopped in place of the mince.”

      Indeed, finely chopped mushrooms can be a good substitute for minced meat. A good tip when doing so is not to over-cook them.

      And favour bog-standard (and ironically, cheaper) button mushrooms over the dearer fancy posh ones too. They tend to stay a little firmer during cooking, which is what you’re after when substituting for meat.

      I did it once for veggie friends, and it worked wonderfully well in a pasta sauce.

  4. Excellent Carolyn, the very best of luck, i too am vegan and extremely interested in recreated vegan versions of the many recipes available, although i may be wrong, I’m guessing not too many recipes were published at the start of rationing? Will be following with renewed interest and thank you for sharing your struggles and we can all share in your ultimate success. Kind regards Richard

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

  5. All the best in your endeavours during 2023 Carolyn. 👍

    I’m neither a chef or a veggie myself, but a couple of things you might like to try at some point, is cauliflower rice and/or courgette spaghetti. Both are fine nutritionally, and pretty-much calorie-free.

    Sure, they’re a modern idea, but given the scarcity of real rice and pasta during wartime, a worthy substitution maybe?

    I think the negative press both seem to suffer stems from them being over-cooked when used in place of the real thing. So depending what you’re making, you might want to cook them separately (sauté in a little butter with a finely chopped onion), then add towards the end of the recipe you’re making.

    Just a suggestion…

  6. Meat is a bit difficult to estimate. A pound of mince, 20% fat? around £2 for 500g, but lamb, which was once cheap is almost £5 for two medium chops.
    Chicken was expensive in the forties but is produced very cheaply now.
    It needs to be a sum which makes you have to think, however shall I manage all week? Can I get some offal as it is off ration.

    I was thinking of about £2.50 each a week, plus the 100g each of ham or bacon. It is not much, no wonder thrifty cooks saved every bit of dripping and added bacon rinds to soup for flavour.

    I shop frugally and look out for the yellow stickered bargains, which can be 50% or 75% off. To play fair, I divide the meat up to use some fresh and freeze the rest in portions for the two of us, to make up the weekly ration. I buy the smallest joint or cut a larger one in half to freeze some. The WW2 housewife would have queued and shopped almost daily without a refrigerator. I freeze the bacon in meal portions, and the cheese and butter in weekly ration portions too.

Leave a Reply