There were a few growing pains, but this is how I made out on my first week of living on 1942 rations.
These are my rations for Week One:
I will admit that this week, I included a few “prewar” items because I didn’t want them going to waste in the fridge. In 2018, Waste is the enemy!
I had some toast made from stale Chop Suey bread with a scrapping of butter and some prewar home canned peaches from my fridge. I was inspired by a tip I found in the Sugar Savers leaflet from the Canadian Department of Agriculture had this advice for saving your sugar ration:
I saved the syrup left over from my home canned peaches.
Left over from my prewar dinner the night before – Moose Stroganoff (no picture). Game was not rationed – but that means something entirely different in Canada than it does in the UK. We are blessed to have access to Crown Land where a hunter can hunt so long as they follow the law. As far as I understand it, in the UK, the bulk of the land was privately held as part of an estate and hunting or taking of wild game was reserved for the estate owner or his guests. For most ordinary people, the meat available on the ration was their only option.
Dried Egg Omelet. I was excited to try out my dried egg powder. I bought my dried egg powder online at Amazon because I could not find a local source. I used mushrooms and part of my cheese and ham ration. No ketchup because it wasn’t available in the UK during the war: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9870341/The-144-year-history-of-Heinz.html
I spent 4 ration points on a box of Corn Flakes and took a bowl and some milk in a thermos with me to work.
I bought myself some grapes and an apple to have with my lunch. Since I haven’t had time to make my own National Loaf, I also bought a loaf of unsliced 100% whole wheat bread. I begged the deli for a couple of lettuce leaves and I used some more of my ham ration to make a sandwich. I spied a jar of Keen’s Mustard in the cooler and I thought I would spread it allllll over my bread to make up for the lack of mayo. I love me some mayo. Anyways, this was a serious mistake. My sandwich was horrible and basically inedible. I picked out the ham and threw away the bread. Lesson learnt = Keen’s Mustard is not a suitable replacement for mayo.
A lovely dinner of sausage (off the ration) fried potatoes and beans. With a glass of milk.
Ration points spent – 4 for cereal and 2 towards the tin of beans shared with The Man.
I spent 2 more ration points on a pound of oatmeal. This is a decent amount of oatmeal. I took some oatmeal and milk with me to work for my breakfast. I cooked the oatmeal in the microwave and then sweetened it with the syrup left over from my canned peaches. This was a mistake. The first few bites were delicious but then I realized that the syrup curdled the milk. What a waste.
My midday meal was another sandwich but with carrot sticks this time. I broke down and decided not to be afraid of the margarine I acquired for this challenge and had some on my bread instead of Keen’s Mustard. So much better!
Dinner was chicken and rice. Chicken was off the ration, perhaps because it was not commonly eaten in the UK during the war. Chickens were more valued for their eggs than they were for their meat. I’m discovering as part of this challenge that many of my default budget foods, such as eggs, chicken, rice, peanut butter, and pasta were either rationed or rarely eaten.
Dinner was followed by a couple of chocolates.
I was so busy at work that I didn’t stop for breakfast.
I had a left over chicken sandwich with some cut up celery for my lunch with the last of my prewar mayonnaise and canned pineapple. I brought the juice from the can in a jar to drink with my sandwich. I will have to try and find a substitute recipe for mayo as I am not sure how I will make it without my mayo.
Roast pork with green beans and mashed potatoes. The roast was on sale for ridiculously cheap. $3.10 for the whole thing! That is unheard of in these parts. My ration portion of this roast comes to $1.05 (meat was rationed by price instead of weight) meaning that I have an additional $2.90 to spend on meat before Friday when I will get my new rations. Dinner was followed by a couple of chocolates.
Finally, a day off. I sat around drinking coffee instead of having breakfast.
Toast with homemade apricot jam, a gift from my neighbour.
Savory Meat Pie with Potato Pastry from the 1940s Experiment. We used the left overs from yesterday’s roast dinner to make tonight’s meal. I am so pleased with how well the pastry worked out. I have never made decent pastry before, it has always turned out tough and it always fell apart. This recipe worked for me!
I used up the last of my fresh milk ration with last night’s dinner. I used powdered milk in my morning coffee. I didn’t bother reconstituting it; I just added it right into my coffee mug. I think it tastes better than the fresh milk (but not better than coffee cream.)
I walked to the library to save fuel for the war effort. While there, I stopped for a coffee and a cookie at a local cafe. British Restaurants were established during the war to provide inexpensive cafe style food for people off the ration. The could not charge more than the equivalent of $6.92 in 2018 Canadian dollars for a meal that could not include more than 3 courses and could only have a protein food (eggs, cheese, meat, or fish) in one of those course. I had a cookie and a coffee (with lots of lovely, lovely cream) for $3.05, well under the limit.
I came home and baked my first two loaves of the National Loaf from the recipe found at Lavender and Lovage. My loaves were far from perfect – its been a long time since I’ve made bread by hand – but it was no where near as bad as some claimed. My loaves were dense but they were far from “Hitler’s secret weapon.” They tasted pretty much like basic brown bread.
I had my first slices hot from the oven with left-over Savory Meat pie for dinner.
I weighted myself and I have lost 2.8 pounds! Yes, I know that this is mostly water weight and you shouldn’t aim to lose more than a pound a week, but I will take it!
I took full advantage of my mornings off by sitting on the couch drinking my cup of coffee before I headed out to weed the garden. As a result, I never got around to eating breakfast; instead we had brunch of fried left over mashed potatoes with an ounce of my cheese rations. Yum
My brunch was pretty good, but I spent my morning “Digging for Victory” so I was a little bit hungry by mid afternoon. I needed a snack. I made an exceptionally small batch of Carrot Biscuits from Wartime Recipes. This recipe uses very few ingredients and they were tasty but they were very small. I got 10 loonie sized cookies from the recipe. They did the trick though.
By evening, were both feeling a little under the weather (too much work outside in the sun?) so our plan for Shepard’s Pie was put off till tomorrow. Instead we broke out a can of Spam to fry up for sandwiches. I had mine on my National Loaf with a bag of chips, which were available during the war (Yes!). While at the store buying our chips, The Man picked up hamburger for $5.00 to use up the remaining portion of my meat ration, which is set to expire tomorrow.
I have to say that my first week of living off rations went pretty well, thanks largely to finishing off the prewar rations in my fridge and a couple of meals of off ration meat.
This is what I have left over this week.
I am surprised by how little sugar I used this week. I was really worried about doing without sugar because I know I have a sweet tooth. I am going to put some of that sugar towards at least one dessert this week as well as a baked treat to go in my lunches. I will have to find a way to make my milk ration last through the week. Dinner just isn’t dinner without a glass of milk.
On the down side, I have only 8 points left and I have eaten half my candy ration for the month!
If you want to join in, please do! We would love to hear about your experiences. If you have a wartime story to tell, please leave a comment. Stories are an important way to keep the memories of our mothers and grandmothers alive. And one more request, if you enjoy or find value in any of our posts, please consider making a donation to Sheepdog Lodge to support those for whom the horrors of war are not in the past.