I hate this photo….

Hi- my name is Carolyn Ekins (Hyland) and I am a mother of 3 children at home (ages 16 thru to 25).

My interests are historical recipes/cooking, writing, people, community and our environment (besides a whole host of other stuff…read on)

I also love waffling about trying to be greener in my blog on my ex employers website http://www.southshorenow.ca/blogs/carolyn

My passion is believing that people themselves will voluntarily commit to working together to improve their communities, environment and ultimately the planet without peer pressure in a negative way…. finding the right way to inspire people to do so, I feel, is an important corner to turn..

WWII Homefront

One of my big interests is cooking simple food as frugally as possible..I do like the notion of mending and making do. I guess this has lead to my interest in domestic life during WWII especially how families and the housewife adapted to food rationing. I’ve been cooking wartime recipes for 10 years now – its a huge passion of mine. It gives me satisfaction that one can eat healthily and spend so little (and it has helped my family and I survive some very lean times in these past 5 years)

I am CONVINCED we have so much to learn from this period of time and I truly believe that by following a rationed diet from the 1940’s will improve my health, allow me to lose weight and above all be a LOT kinder to our planet (sourcing local foods, using less imported goods, less packaging etc)

In 2006 I lived on a ration diet for 4 months (100%) and lost 57lb.  I then attempted a year living on 100% wartime rations in 2012 and lost 80lbs in a year (and yes I ate loads!) I felt great… now I need to repeat that success and stick with it for 1 year to lose 100 lb. My highest weight has been about 25 stone, I’m currently 20 st 10 lbs (March 2014) and my goal is to reach 13 stone and wear a dress and look fab! (oh and keep up with my lovely boyfriend/partner)

Thank you for reading my therapy blog (I guess I need lots of therapy!) PLEASE share your thoughts, experiences and recipes. xxxxxxx

Carolyn Ekins (Hyland)


Here are a few of the interesting jobs I’ve had and some of the highlights of them……. ermmmmm


Nurse early days: On my 18th birthday I left home forever to persue a nursing career. It made me grow up very quickly. However, nothing quite prepares you how to deal with transporting a dead body down to the mortuary with a porter (with a steel plate in his head) who locks himself in the mortuary with you and proceeds to sing ‘ Mammy’ to all the dead people in the fridges……. luckily he unlocked the door afterwards and I made a mental note never to accompany him again.

Baby Carrot Packer: vans squeezed with knife weilding land workers (reminded me of Gangs of New York) from all over the countryside to a vegetable packing plant in rural Norfolk. It was a tough job, standing in freezing sheds, noisy machinery, veggies coming in from the fields, through the washers and onto the line where they were sorted and graded, where frogs, dead birds and condoms were removed, before being placed in bags and punnets for the oblivious consumer.

Gunner- Reserve Forces: An enjoyable short career which opened my eyes to the military and the training of personnel. Highlights of this career were observing and listening (bugged) to the interogation techniques used on the Auxiliary SAS as part of their final assessment. Strictly ‘Geneva Convention’ you understand (yeah right)…..

Goat Inseminator: Although I never made this a career, I did infact train to be a goat inseminator and possibly made a number of goats pregnant during my training. Goat sperm is collected, washed and stored in minute quantities in what are called straws and stored frozen in liquid nitrogen. The straws are very fragile and snapped easily in their frozen state. Highlight of my training had to be the lecture given by a Polish insemination proffessor who became rather animated when removing various straws from the nitrogen tank in the classroom…

“Do not bend ze straws az they may snap like zis” and with a crack a lump of champion Anglo Nubian goat sperm whizzed through the air to land cleanly on my shoulder…

Quick thinking and a quick flick on my part insured that my clothes were not left with an embarrassing stain that could not be explained away…

More to come …

79 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Carolyn,
    I just read your entire blog. I love it and I look forward to reading your future posts.

    I was also quite overweight. I lost 40 pounds during the past year on Weight Watchers. The key is exercise (so you may want to emulate women of the forties and find ways to get exercise using yourself as transportation and using chores as your gym) and portion control. I truly believe you will be successful just because you will be going back to a portion controlled, “from scratch” way of eating. My only concern for you is that you drop the margarine and use butter where necessary. The kind of margarine that is authentic for the time period you are cooking from is laden with deadly trans fats.

    I am also kind of geeky about researching food from a health perspective. I have found out that fermented foods are very good for us. In modern times, we dropped a lot of fermented foods from our diet due to refrigeration. It would be interesting to see how much fermentation is represented in your cookbooks. Especially vegetable ferments. I currently bake with sourdough which has the health benefit of making the bread more blood sugar friendly.

    Good luck! You are a pretty lady and I look forward to seeing you transform into a more svelte version of yourself!


    • Hi,

      However, nothing quite prepares you how to deal with transporting a dead body down to the mortuary with a porter (with a steel plate in his head) who locks himself in the mortuary with you and proceeds to sing ‘ Mammy’ to all the dead people in the fridges……

      llol. I love it, one nurse to another I salute you!

      • Ahhh a sister who can appreciate the quirkines of the nursing proffesion. Every nurse has stories that would make toes curl….!

        Sometimes things are so pitiful, sad, scary and unusual that you have to giggle at them- its almost a coping mechanism..

        However there is one thing I have NEVER forgiven myself for. As an underpaid, overworked, broke and very hungry student nurse, grateful parents of a kid on the Paediatric ward brought in a bag of 14 jam donuts to show their appreciation… “share these with the staff’..

        I hadn’t eaten since the day before (20 hours). Took the bag of donuts into the washroom, sat in a cubicle and ate all 14 of them….

        The guilt is STILL with me! 🙂

        You must have some stories??

  2. Hey Mimi- thanks for leaving a message!!

    Exercise- yes you are sooo right! This is something I hope to start increasing as my weight decreases- I do very little exercise at the moment because quite frankly it is quite impossible but I know things will only get easier over the coming weeks.

    Margarine- this is the one concession I have made and am using Becel instead of Margarine/Butter/Lard however I am setting by dripping (I don’t get much from just a few rashers of bacon every week) incase I run out of margarine. There is so little fat in the ration that this is necessary just incase..

    I am very interested in your thoughts on fermented foods….I have NEVER made sourdough but genuinely would love to have a go- I guess this would be authentic to the time period yes/no??

    Well done on your weight loss… 40 lb is a LOT of weight!!!

    C xx

    • My GP, as I, do not advocate the use of marg as it’s so full of unnatural things. Butter is far healthier for you provided it is in small amounts. My mum never had marg during the war it was always butter if they could get it and I grow up on butter, only switching to marg when it became ‘fashionable’. I am now back on butter and have been for the last 6 years.

      You do not need butter or marg in a sandwich 99% of the time. if you have a cheese sandwich and butter or marg the bread you are doubling the fat it contains. If the sandwich is ‘dry’ add a bit of pickle (homemade if you can). You soon get used to the less fat and start to dislike the taste of buttered sandwiches, and you enjoy the taste of the bread.

  3. Carolyn,
    I was looking at Wikipedia and it seems that active yeast was perfected during WWII so I imagine most people would have been baking with commercial yeast. Active yeast is more realiable and takes a shorter time to make bread than sourdough. I’m thinking that if flour was hard to acquire, maybe sourdough would have been a difficult thing to culture. Without refrigeration, the starter would need to be fed and baked with on a daily basis.

    I was thinking that things similar to saurkrauts and fermented pickles would have been desirable to make since they could be stored on a kitchen counter and would preserve precious fresh vegetables. A great resource for learning more would be the book Wild Fermetation by Sandor Elix Katz. I made vinegar but I have not made any vegetable ferments.

    Other fermented foods that people could have tried to make at home during rationing time would be cheese and yogurt (to preserve leftover milk – oh and butter though not fermented could be made from scratch if someone had access to cream instead of milk). Beer and fruit wines could be made at home as well as fruit vinegar. Pickles of all sorts both fruits and veggies. Meat ferments such as sausages and ham.

    The advantage of fermented foods besides the obvious advantage of food preservation are the probiotics they provide. They contain beneficial bacteria and other micro organisms that aid our digestion.

  4. Wow what an informative response!!! I do know something- if I buy sourdough from a framers market it costs a fortune! Taste’s VERY nice though…

    Yes I have been reading that PRESERVING was a huge deal in the UK (and I guess else where) during the war years. The government even increased its sugar ration during harvest time so people could make preserves & pickles..

    For authenticity I’ll make sure to do as much of the same as I can although I am lucky to have the use of a freezer and a fridge!

    The BEER sounds interesting. I have made my own from kits before but will look to see how it can be done from scratch…same with wine

    Thanks so much for your reply- really helpful Mimi!

    C xx

    • No Knead Sourdough Bread

      1 1/2 cup active and bubbly sourdough starter
      2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour
      1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ( For all white sourdough, simply use all purpose flour here)
      1 1/2 cups warm water
      1 tsp. salt
      Extra flour for dusting

      The night before you plan on baking, measure out all the ingredients, and check your re-activated sourdough starter. It should be nice and bubbly, and wanting to be fed. Instead of feeding the starter though, mix 1 1/2 cups of the bubbly starter in with the no knead sourdough bread ingredients in a large bowl. Choose a bowl that will allow the sourdough to double in size. Use a wooden spoon and mix the ingredients until all the flour is mixed in and nothing is sticking to the sides of the bowl. It will create a sticky shaggy ball, and you may think this will never work….but trust me on this….its normal! Cover and rise over night.
      Pre heat your oven to 450F (232C) and place the dutch oven with lid in the oven as it is pre-heating. Cut out a 12 x 12 inch section of parchment paper and lightly oil it.
      Sprinkle a clean counter top with a little flour, and gently scoop the shaggy sourdough onto the floured counter.
      Gently pull a section of the dough over onto itself. Turn the dough a quarter turn, and do this 4 times.
      As you fold the dough in on itself you create tension on the ‘outside floured surface’ which will help the loaf keep it’s shape while proofing a second time.
      Flip the dough over and gently shape the dough into a round ball by dragging it across the counter top.Gently place the shaped sourdough on the oiled parchment paper, and liberally dust the top of the loaf with flour. Place it on top of the warm stove covered with the linen cloth for half an hour to rise.
      After the half hour the no knead sourdough bread will have slightly risen and be ready for baking. Take the pre-heated dutch oven out of the stove. Watch out and use oven gloves, it will be smoking hot! Gently lift the sourdough into the dutch oven, lifting all four corners of the parchment.Place the lid on the dutch oven and place it back in the 450F stove to bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown up the crust. Remove the baked loaf of sourdough bread and let it cool on a wire rack. The no knead sourdough bread is best served within the next day or two, but it can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days to extend its shelf life. Note that refrigerating the bread will make it denser and less fluffy.

  5. Hey there! I’m also a fellow web designer and it’s so easy to put on weight when you are sitting in front of a computer. It’s funny that quite a few of the weight loss blogs I’ve visited lately are web designers / computer people. We’re not alone. I really like you’re idea and take on things and will be visiting in the future. Thanks for the great site!

  6. You carry your weight exactly as I carry mine! I am also starting out at 315 and have quite a few photos that look like that. I absolutely HATE the camera! LOL

    Your blog is awesome! I am definitely adding it to my sidebar of favorites! 🙂

    I can’t wait to read more updates!



  7. Thanks Kellie! I appreciate you adding mine to your sidebar- I’ll reciprocate too. Juts had a look around and your blog is fab! Wish you luck in your journey too!!

    Yes I hate the camera if its

    a) Someone else taking the photo where you can’t select what photo is shown
    b) Anything other than head and shoulders..

    I have the biggest horriblest tummy, droopy boobs and short stumpy legs!!!! Am hoping to lose these eventually!!!

    Thanks for reading

    C xxx

  8. Found you through an IWM food blog – I love this idea of yours, living a life of 1940s food. Keep it up, and good luck with that weight loss – I could learn a lesson or two…

  9. Hi Carolyn,
    Have been reading through your website and am very impressed.
    I am a journalist and have my own blog called Vintage Foodie.

    Could you please email me on samantha_elley@hotmail.com as I would love to send you a bunch of questions to do an article on your blog..that is, if you are interested.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Samantha Elley

  10. Hi;

    Just wondering if you have ever seen the BBC show called “1940’s House”. If you haven’t I’m sure that you would enjoy it.

    Also, I have a recipe for something that my mom used to make called Corned Beef Hash. It’s delicious, and it really stretches the food.

    Big Red

    • Hi Big Red!!! I sooooo have seen that series- infact SOMEWHERE I have the DVD and as I haven’t watvched it for SUCH a long time it would be inspiring to do so once again- absolutely LOVED THAT SERIES!!!!! C xx

  11. Hi Carolyn,
    Yet another (now ex) Scottish nurse from Yorkshire in England here! You’re right, we all have a fund of weird & wonderful stories, but I doubt if people would believe any of mine! How is the weight loss going? I want to lose about 70lb, and so War is being declared at midnight tonight! We go on Wartime rations tomorrow, and I am half looking forward to it, and half petrified, but there you go…anyway, Good Luck with your weight loss, adn I’m looking forward to returning to your great blog.

  12. Hi Carolyn! If you’re still having problems with your weight, I thought I might suggest you going on this diet:


    These guys are not health nuts who reckon they know this and that, and embark on crazy diets. They’re real doctors, and ever since I’ve started following their diet it’s done wonders for me. I hope you’ll at least consider visiting the sites, as at the very least it makes for interesting and informative read. Best of luck, I wish you health.

  13. Hello Carolyn

    Just found your great blog. I would like to contact you via e-mail but cannot find it anywhere on your site. Would you be kind enough to send it to me please as I have a business idea I would like to put to you. Rosemary

  14. Hello, I just found your blog while looking for recipes from World War II, and I am completely fascinated! I am also trying to lose weight after bed rest. I was in a terrible car accident two years ago, and I gained a lot of weight. I was 253, but have dropped to 180. Now I have to get down to at least 160 in order to continue on in the Army. It’s been hard work, and I do not want to do anything like Weight Watchers, or any other fad diets. I am GREATLY fascinated by World War II (Especially the Airborne {Easy Company to be exact} ), and I am going to give this a try!

    Please feel free to e-mail me at megandmia@hotmail.com if you’d like! I would also like to know if you’ve done well on this diet? Have you kept off the weight?

  15. Hi Carolyn,

    Just have to say that I love what you’re doing here. Very inspirational.

    Really want to try the herby bread. It looks amazing!

    Keep up the good work.

    Scott x

  16. 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

    • Oh Sam- I can totally relate to you…

      I struggle a lot financially too as its hard to support everyone and a house on just one wage so I find eating simply as much as I can (like in the 1940s) and NEVER wasting anything really helps stretch things. My kids don’t really want to eat 1940s too frequently but I’ve quite often made simple ration meals that they have enjoyed. If everyone ate exactly what I did then it would help even more 🙂

      And the weight coming off is a by product of eating simple fresh food and getting rid of the processed crap..

      I’m inspired to write a blog post right now based on your message…. I feel so strongly about these two aspects (health and frugality)

      Thanks for leaving a message and sending you hugs xxxxx C

  17. Very neat blog! I came across it while searching for WWII British recipes. I just came back from a trip to London, and had visited the Imperial War Museum while I was there. Very fascinating place! I really like that you have little notes in your recipes for those of us in the US who would like to make them. I now have a great way to extend the British cooking binge I’ve been on lately. Hmmm…think I’ll start with a bread pudding!

  18. Carolyn, I am fascinated by rationing from an environmental/ethical/sustainability perspective and keep coming back to your blog to read about your experiences, not just on the food front!

    One of the key difficulties with ‘diets’ is adopting and sticking with smaller portions (ie consuming less). Have you found that the rationing approach makes it easier to eat smaller portions of healthy food? Thinking about the resources that go into growing food/producing stuff has certainly helped me to cut my protein intake, buy less clothes, turn lights off…

    Enjoy Christmas & I look forward to following you in 2013 Meg x

  19. BBC tv show “Supersizers” covers eating habits from different eras. It’s a fascinating series. After watching the episode that covered WW2 era I did a search on Google and your website came up. I was so impressed with your site that I showed it to my husband. We’re both really proud of you for finding a reasonable way to better your health. We are society driven by instant gratification – not just in the sense of consumption, but in everything we do. So many people turn to extreme workouts and diets to lose weight and then get discouraged when they don’t see immediate results. What made the 1940’a era so unique was that the people LIVED this way for many years. It’s all about finding a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. We’ve very proud of you and we hope that you meet your goals.

  20. fyi, here is a link to the BBC show that I mentioned. I have a feeling you’ve already seen this but perhaps others have not. It’s from Hulu.com, I find all kinds of weird and interesting documentaries there: http://www.hulu.com/the-supersizers-go. Click on Season 1, Episode 1 which is titled “Wartime”

  21. Hi,

    I’m just starting a similar project myself. Hoping to lose around 50lbs (something like that) – and I see you’ve done really really well. Well done =]

    I just wondered how you worked out the ‘points’ rationed food, as I can’t find anything telling me how many points a lb of flour is, or say, how many points a tin of beans etc… That kind of thing…

    Haha, I know it’s a very small point allocation, but i’m a stickler for authenticity, and it’s doing my head in how hard the information is to find lol.

  22. G’day Damian, I have been through exactly the same set of issues as you. Unfortunately there is no clear definitive answer on this one. There are many wartime social history books that state points allocations, however. . . my research on this showed that when the points system started each person got an allocation of 16 points, and at the height of supply in Apr 42 this went up to 24points, and then shortly after dropped to 20 points, and fairly well stayed there until it was discontinued in 1950.
    The points system did not put a fixed value on products. The system constantly changed according to product availability. And when foods were fairly plentiful the points lower. Some products such as tinned peas even occasionally went onto a distribution scheme where no points were needed but you only got 1 of for a set price.
    Some examples that may help you are:
    Tinned fruit 8 points
    Dried peas 4 points for 350gm
    Dried fruit (raisins, currents etc…) 16ponits 350gm
    Powdered milk 12points making aprox 3.6litres (though this was only for what was left after the bulk of it had been issued through the milk distribution scheme.)
    I have not to date found a reference for flour, though do remember from March 1942 all flour produced had to be national wheatmeal flour. Only those with a doctors certificate could obtain white flour for specific health needs.

    Hope this info helps just a little.

    PS. I have found that making myself walk to the bakery to get bread has reduced my reliance on it somewhat!

    • Hey, thanks for the response. Hmm, it is tricky. I contacted the imperial war museum about points allocation, and they introduced me to their archives, but still nothing very clear.

      I think I’ll just have to weigh up (buh-dum-dum-chhhhh!) a semi-reasoned allowance myself lol. Luckily, I don’t tend to eat much pre-made stuff anyway, but if things are going to get scarce it may be worth broadening my horizons lol.

      Hmmm, time to get the calculator out haha!

  23. Hello! I wanted to let you know that I love your Blog, and I’ve linked to it in one of my own posts.

    I’m a bit bored with my own diet plan so I’ve planned out a week’s worth of wartime meals and today is day one.

    I’m kind of excited about it! Anyways, I really hope you don’t mind. If you do, I’ll remove the mention and link.


      • Thoroughly enjoyed your post and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.. I must get around to updating my links in my side bar to include your blog xxxxxx YES my thoughts were very similar, that’s a LOT of fat and a LOT of sugar BUT when you take into consideration that this is all your ration and this is what you survive on (no buying processed foods, cakes etc) and that some of the sugar and fat may well have been set aside for various things like celebrations, birthdays, christmas, preserving, making gifts, etc it doesn’t seem so plentiful (although I have to say that my sugar and fat only ALL get used up if I bake something special for everyone)

        Good luck Suzi- shall enjoy reading xxxx

      • Thanks!

        I was thinking about the scene in 1940’s house, where they’re at the store trying to buy food but the shopkeeper has nearly nothing available. So I wonder if the ration amounts were a bit big to help people save up a bit as they anticipated leaner times ahead? Most of the recipes call for such little fat and sugar, and given the amount of tea (which seems small for a nation of tea drinkers) I can’t imagine they were using all of it even when it was available.

  24. Pingback: Tightwad tips and frugal things done lately- May 2013 - Homesteading Today

  25. This is the most interesting weight loss blog I every come across. I have become fascinated with the Uk home front and this diet that’s 75 years old.

    I now go to small farmers markets and road side vegetable stands for close to half of the food we eat. Before I would only go twice a year, once for fresh tomatoes and again for pumpkins in the fall. I have been freezing extra vegetables and fruit for winter. I’m also planning on storing squash, sweet potatoes, apples etc. on my unheated porch. This is something that would have never entered my mind before. My old way of thinking for weight loss was buy a diet book,start a fad diet, repeat for 15 years.

    I have watched Supersizers Go 1940 and the War Time Farm after learning about them on this site. The were wonderful and watched everything since related to these shows.

    Would you or one of your readers have a link for a list of what person could get with 16 points per month? I had found a list of 10 items +/- but forgot to save it and it seems lost forever 🙂

    Also would anyone know if people were encourage to make yogurt or fresh cheese from their rationed milk? Or would in have been considered a waste of fresh milk.

    thank you Robin

  26. Pingback: 1940s Ration Diet | Kim Simmonds

  27. Glad i came across your blog! It’s so awesome 🙂 I have an idea of being extremely frugal growing my own veg etc to lose weight :). you’re way ahead of me and keep it up! Very inspiring 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words. I shall envy you growing your own veg- got into that many years ago and totally loved doing it. No real garden right now but there will always be room for a few pots. Good luck in your journey! x C

  28. Hi Carolyn, I have always been interested in the wartime diet/rationing, and came across your blog quite by accident. I too am a vegetarian but with four meat eating children, and so it is really helpful that you have included ideas that can be used in this situation. There is so much that interests me and I am avidly reading every article (not much housework’s gonna get done today !) . If you have time, please can you let me know where you shop for your vegetables and how often – organic fruit/vege deliveries being so expensive I dont get them. Thank you also for inspiring me to start cooking with the basics from scratch – I too need to lose weight, as I unfortunatley have too close a relationship with my biscuit tin!
    Anyway, many thanks once again

  29. hi Carolyn
    I am a ww2 british home front re enactor who is part of a group who has made a 1940 house museum ,garden and shelter called the old forge sittingbourne Kent.
    I fell across your wonderful site as I am taking part in the military odyssey show
    kent county show ground this weekend and needed some recipes to talk to the public about will tell every one about your site as it is so helpful, informative and fun.
    don’t suppose you ever come to Kent but if you do would love to show you the museum .
    take care
    jo mannouch

  30. I love to see someone bringing back some of the ww2 recipes. I grew up during that period. You only have to look at the weekly food ration for an adult, to see what we/ my Mum had to work with. But going on a WW 2 diet, is more than the food you consume. It was a lifestyle. There were no options. Also, everyone walked; to and from work, school, the shops. A bus might be taken, for longer journeys. Children played outside, and they also had, gym, games( netball Cricket, football, tennis). We were also taught Scottish country dancing, English country, and Morris dancing. We had school dinners- all made from fresh food the day it was eaten. No one starved. After the war, we were taller, stronger, and healthier, than ever before.
    I learned to cook at school. And those lessons have served me well over the years. I had problems finding 6inch cake pans. I solved that by using, top tier wedding cake pans. Now I can use all my Be- Ro recipes.
    What you are doing is great. And I applaud your efforts. The only foods not rationed, were Vegetables and fish. And there were fresh fruits available in season. Rhubarb was great up North!

  31. Good day! I found this site quite by accident while looking for something else, and now can’t seem to tear myself away from it! A few years ago life dealt me a series of hard blows that included losing my home, job, savings, and retirement. Being homeless and trying to eat properly was a definite issue. Needless to say, I gained a good amount of weight. Now that I am getting on my feet again, I made myself a promise to cook from scratch and buy as much whole food as I can. Many of the recipes are similar to what my grandmother cooked when I was growing up. I have only tried a few of the recipes and love them! I also find that I can make 2-3 things during the week and have enough left over for other meals. As far as exercise goes, I love to walk. I am slowly losing the weight I put on and found that my blood pressure and sugar levels are starting to even out. I have found another WW2 cookbook that I also using. Best of all, I am rarely hungry in between meals. Thank you for this blog. I look forward to hearing all about your weight loss adventures as well.

  32. Hi Carolyn,
    I also tried the WW2 diet, using many of your recipes and I lost almost no weight at all in spite of adhering very faithfully to the diet and I wondered “What gives?!?” There were three things that I figured out.

    1) People walked everywhere and worked MUCH harder, therefore burning more calories. I guess I need to step up my game there.

    2) The diet was meant to keep Brits “In Fighting Form”. While much of Europe was starving, Brits had enough to eat and nutritional guidance to eat well.

    3) This was the one that isn’t often taken into account: Shortages. We lack for nothing. Our supermarkets have everything in triplicate supersized boxes.

    Focusing on #3, I devised a means of creating shortage. I live in the boonies, so I go into town to shop once a month. I’ll stuck to a list of what I would reasonably be able to buy in 1942. Bringing it home, I’ll divided such things as cereals and flour into bags based on 1942 sizes (ie: a cup of sugar, a pound of flour, 2 oz tea) I set aside one cupboard, freezer and fridge shelf to act as my “store”
    Then, because shortages were an issue in the war, I’ll make out my grocery list, including veg, fruit, and rationed goods and numbered the list, Flour is always #1, so I’ll never ran out of that. Then I roll 2 dice three times. What ever number the dice came up with, the shop is out of and I have to rethink my menu planning.

    This may sound like more work, but it kind of puts an interesting and informative twist on the plight of the 1940’s housewife. I only hope the dice never deprive me of oatmeal !

    • I agree very much! The being busy and walking a lot makes a LOT of difference plus it also depends what your BMR is…. the heavier you are the more calories you will burn off so for me, sticking to rationing with freely abundant leafy greens etc worked well as I was/am very overweight. ALSO I’d say I don’t use my sugar ration up as I tend to probably only make one dessert a week…

      AND oatmeal is a staple in my house so I know where you are coming from! I use it for breakfast 5 times a week¬¬!!! (plus in recipes!)

      Thanks for your interesting message! C xx

  33. Just wanted to say that I’ve read your blog off and on for years and love it ! I am fascinated by all things 1940s and have had attempts in the past to stick to the rations with good results before slipping off the wagon – my sweet tooth is my downfall! How do you go about it – at the beginning of the week to you weigh out your sugar & fat rations? I’ve been overweight (size 22-24) and also a size 10 (strict vegan for some years after being vegetarian) during my life and hate yo-yo’ing – a vegan diet kept my weight down for 10yrs without even trying whether I was having a “healthy” or not so healthy week with yummy vegan baked treats – now whatever I do my weight seems to creep back up and up so I’m trying to go back to wartime ration amounts using almond milk and perhaps some soya cheese instead of real cheese – dairy doesn’t always sit great with me and I have lots of sinus and asthma issues if I have too much! I’m also going to add a little fish in – I’ve never wanted to go back to meat eating but feel some fish and eggs (when my hens lay!) may help my energy levels as originally when I went vegan I stayed slim, healthy and felt fit but now I feel tired and seem to catch more colds and don’t bounce back from them anymore – I feel more like 70 than 48yrs at times!! Love Ali

  34. Wow…what an interesting site! I was doing research for my current book and wanted to know if peanut butter cookies would have been an option in 1948. I google everything that I am not sure of! So, I was led to your site. So many great recipes and it was fun to read through and learn more about you. What really pulled me in though, was your weight loss journey. Your body shape and struggle with your weight really mimics my own life and I thank you for being so open and honest about it. It is an encouragement. What has worked for me in the past is the Dukan Diet. I do best when I stay away from all carbs and sugar. Just difficult to do! So, thank you for a pleasant half hour or so. I love your beautiful picture and hope you reach your goal for 2016!

  35. Pingback: Food during Wartime, Part 2: Recipes – LAURA's Data BLOG

  36. Hi Carolyn, thank you for your absolutely fascinating site. I keep coming back to it and am enjoying trying the recipes (some of which I remember my mother do in! ). Carolyn

  37. Wow! What a great story. . . I am a freelance feature writer working on a piece about what we can learn from wartime recipes – the gist being that they’re good for our health, happiness and waistlines – and I would LOVE to chat to you. Please can you email me at the address given, so I can tell you a wee bit more about the piece and who it’s for? Thanks!

  38. Carolyn, Thanks so much for all your work in putting this website together. I have started my own “1940’s experiment” which no doubt will benefit from the experience you have shared.

      • Carolyn, I am not recording it just living it for myself. I got tired of all the hype of the latest fad diets and decided to just focus on the basics. When you read what previous generations did to live and overcome their challenges our current ones seem small. I think my biggest challenge is not want, or need but abundance and prosperity their sacrifice enabled. I can never repay that but I can at least refuse to abuse it. Prosperity is not a license for overnutrition. So begins my journey to moderation which is long overdue. And by so doing hopefully better health and a better life will follow. Thank you again for your inspiration and hard work.You are very special.

  39. Thanks for your response Eric. I was saying to my daughter earlier how food as in what nature provides is truly amazing. How sweet is the fruit etc. But over the years have found myself making bad choices in craving refined sugar rather than what nature provides and refined this and refined that where as if I ate mostly natural foods with no additives, chances are I’d not have got this way. That’s why I do believe a simple diet with lots of veggies and fruit and little processed food, much as people ate during rationing, is a good basis for a better life I feel. xxx

    • Very true. One more item of interest. I have been logging the foods in the MyFitnessPal app. When going strict the diet is brilliant in that it provides just enough macronutrients but is packed with vitamins. I credit this with a dramatic decrease in hunger level. I feel much more satisfied with far fewer calories. It is a lot more work but thanks to modern conveniences like the fridge, and the slow cooker, much more easy than people had to contend with during wartime. The other main difference is that physical work is less a part of life now. For this reason I really don’t make use of all the unrationed starch and sugar available in this diet. But if I do I make sure to use only 100% whole grain. I tend to use only bran products for cereal and crackers mainly to avoid excessive starch. This helps immensely in managing the old highs and lows of the “sugar high” though I do splurge with some marmalade occasionally. The Lord Woolton pie and pastie recipes are helpful. I also use my own family recipes that have unrationed ingredients. And why not if it makes things a little more tasty.

  40. Oh Carolyn! I have just gone back and re-read your ‘work experience’. Tears of laughter running down my face made it impossible to share this with husband. Every time I got to the goats, I choked. Your blogs are wonderful. The whole site is wonderful. Very best of luck this time around.

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  42. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsCarolyn, I just love ur blog and have been following u for about 2 years! You have made the 1940s come to life for me, my Nana use to tell stories of the war and how everyone would pitch in together and lend sugar and eggs for a birthday on the street. I loved it and think society today could use the same” in it together” mentality! I have decided to put my family of 5 on the ration plan, I know I will save money and hopefully she’d a few pounds! Thanks

  43. Pingback: Food, Glorious Food… – Deanna Smith's Fantastically Ordinary

  44. Hey Carolyn,

    Been following you for a while now. Love your blog! But I wanted to let you know that recently there is a google “winner” ad popup showing up on every page of your site that prevents one from reading your blog. You cant close it. It just takes you to another page and shuts down the browser. It also prevents one from hitting the back button.

    Hope that helps!


  45. Hello, I’m a 56 year old mother of two strapping young lads doing studies and both along with my husband have a calorie intake you wouldn’t believe. As I adore cooking, I always look for new ideas.
    I love British food, which, being Luxembourgish (here cooking is more French/Italian orientated, apart from our own typical dishes), is considered rather eccentric. I googled Woolton pie and found your blog. Thanks a lot! I will try that as a diversion from the meat based dishes my family normally have.
    By the way, although we all eat a lot, we are each of us « normal » weight. I think a lot of that has to do with the following facts:
    – our food is homemade, vegetables grown organically in our garden, kept in an industrial style large freezer for year round consumption (and ready to use)
    – we all shun industrial food, prepared dishes and the like
    – except for one of my sons, we do quite a lot of sports, and I can’t explain why he is as slim as the rest of us.
    I’m sure doing some kind of physical activity will be very beneficial for your body, but don’t let weight become an obsession. Personnally, I find that not thinking about food (except of course before planning a meal) or weight helps a lot. All of us regulary skip a meal, as the latest research has found that eating too often is stressful for the intestines and that giving your digestion a break helps reduce stress related inflammation in the digestive tracts which in turn leads to weight gain. None of us feel hungry after not having eaten for 14 to 16 hours. This method is called interval fasting and might perhaps help you.
    Wishing you good luck for all your endeavours and thank you so much,

  46. I have just found you. This entire site looks so lovely. I ordered Victory Cookbook from the library. Do you have a mailing list?

  47. No Knead Sourdough Bread
    This is a long winded exercise so read through the instructions to see if you have the time and patience to attempt it. It is worth the eating ! Note that the chilled dough sort of hybernates until it comes to room temperature so it can be stored in the fridge for a few days and does not need to be baked in one big batch, try using some for a pizza or a flat bread. It;s easy to make the starter, biga, etc there are lots of names for it. It’s just tepid water, strong white flour & a pince each of yeast & sugar – some recipes add oil too.

    • 1 cup (227g) ripe (fed) sourdough starter
    • 1 3/4 cups (397g) lukewarm water
    • 5 cups (602g) Strong white flour
    • 1 tablespoon (18g) salt
    • 2 teaspoons malt powder, fir colour and stronger rise
    1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.
    2. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large food-safe plastic bucket.
    3. Mix and stir everything together to make a sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the paddle attachment for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.
    4. Leave the dough in the bucket or bowl, cover it with the bucket’s lid or a plastic shower cap, and let it rise for 1 hour.
    5. Gently pick up the dough and fold it over on itself several times, cover it again, and let it rise for another hour.
    6. Repeat the rising-folding process one more time (for a total of 3 hours), folding it again after the last hour. Then, place the bucket or bowl in the refrigerator, and let the dough rest for at least 8 hours (or up to 48 hours).
    7. When you’re ready to make bread, turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, and shape it into a rough ball. Leave the dough seam-side up, cover it, and let it rest on a floured surface for 15 minutes.
    8. Next, shape the dough to fit the vessel in which you’ll bake it. Place the shaped dough into the lightly greased or semolina-dusted base of the tray or tin.
    9. Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 2 ½ to 3 hours. It won’t appear to rise upwards that much, but will relax and expand.
    10. With a rack positioned in the middle, start preheating the oven to 500°F one hour before you’re ready to bake.
    11. Just before baking, dust the loaf with a fine coat of flour and use a lame or a sharp knife to make one or several ½ ” deep slashes through its top surface. If you’re baking a long loaf, one arched slash down the loaf lengthwise is nice, or if baking a round, a crosshatch or crisscross pattern works well.
    12. Place it in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 450°F and bake the bread for 45 -60 minutes or longer, until the bread is deep golden brown and crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 210°F.
    13. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
    14. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

  48. I found this lovely site courtesy “Listverse”, they used one of your photos (your site info clearly viewable) I am a big fan of anything WWII-era related so I HAD to come here! I do want to share one thing- about weight: THYROID. Have your thyroid checked. I don’t know if you already have done so, but many people who have had issues with weight never gave it a thought. It happened to me. I could not figure out why, why WHY I had ballooned up to the size of a small apartment at one time, a relative urged me to have my thyroid levels checked. In just a matter of months I had lost over 60lbs!! The weight simply disappeared into thin air. OK back to your website- I love it!!! bookmarking now.. thank you for sharing all this neato stuff!

  49. Pingback: Frugal Wartime Recipes to See You Through Challenging Times! - Sidmouth Solarpunk

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