Eating on the Ration – Week One


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:

Some of my rations. I still need to get another jar of jam (or maybe honey).  The dried milk,  dried eggs and lard are my ration for the entire month.  Not shown is the meat for the week.

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!

Day One:

Breakfast and Dinner for Day One


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:

Day Two:



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.

Day Three



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.

Day Four



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.

What a bargain!

Day Five



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!

Day Six

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.

Two loaves of the National Loaf.


I had my first slices hot from the oven with left-over Savory Meat pie for dinner.

Day Seven


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 forgot to include my egg! I was hoarding it for a recipe that I didn’t get to this week.  Maybe next 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.






  1. Since you enjoy a glass of milk with your dinner, you are no doubt getting sufficient protein this early in “the war”. Have you tried bulking the fresh milk up with some portion of reconstituted dry milk? You could start with 20/25% and let it bloom over night in the coldest part of the fridge. It might take a little getting used to…a drop of scarce vanilla or a bit of sweetener helps amend the taste, especially in the higher % of dilution. It’s so dependent on the quality and freshness of the dry milk though.
    The milk at dinner would free up some measure of scarcer, denser proteins for other meals.
    While rations were the same for every family member more or less, I think that it might have left a little more leeway to squirrel away little bits of rationed things for future recipes with a family, cutting back just a tiny bit on each scarce ration. It’s harder to do that on one set of rations alone.

    It’s interesting to me to view the rationing through the lens of today’s version of proper nutrition as well as the culture of food and cooking that we now have in the UK, Canada and the US. It colors how we view cooking, tastes and recipes using food of 70 years ago.


    1. Thanks Jill! I’m pretty spoiled because I just can’t drink reconstituted milk as a beverage but I don’t have a problem when I add it to other things. I bulk up my homemade yogurt by adding powdered milk and it does help. I used to add powdered milk to my youngest’s milk because he was so thin as a child and needed all the calories he could get.

      I did just what you have suggested the other day, well kinda. I have made up some of my dried milk for cooking and for coffee and on my cereal. For my cereal/coffee milk I added a wee bit of vanilla and sugar. It’s quite nice! Great tips – thanks.


      1. So interesting to read! You mentioned chicken and it reminded me of something my grandmother told me about living in the UK during WWII, when she married my grandfather, it was a *huge* deal that they killed a chicken for their wedding meal, as you mentioned, chickens were much more valuable for their eggs. After she came to Canada, still during the War, food was a ‘little’ more excessible and available, and she said that she would send food in the mail back to her family in the UK. She never stopped being economical throughout her life in Canada and she always “made do” (I wish making do, was more the norm nowadays). That generation were as tough as nails I tell you. I still think about drinking tea at her kitchen table from their old cracked tea pot with the hand swen tea cozy, and her telling me about the war rations and how they survived during those years. I miss her, and her no nonsense views of the world. Thanks for the memories!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A british-descent friend told me this afternoon everyone picked rose hips in season, these were manufactured into a syrup which was sold for consumption. so there is some great Vit. C !
    ann lee s
    I once tried making tea with rose hips, no success!! anyone know how?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I had forgotten about the rosehips. It was sometimes made into a syrup as well as a tea – good thing because I’m not a fan of rose hips in my tea (to tart). They are very high in Vitamin C, more than oranges even. To make the tea, you pretty much just dry them and then add to water. If you cut them open, you must remove the seeds before drying. The tea is known as “itchy bum” tea if you don’t. The roses are just starting to bloom here but maybe I will make some syrup after the first frost when the rose hips are sweeter. Thanks for the reminder!


  3. It is amazing what you did with so little ….. and it will get only more difficult when you don’t have leftovers from “before” your rationing! The WWII diet looks very short of protein and vegetables, I know they could grow food but that takes weeks/months for production!! I wonder if vitamin pills were available. ann lee s


    1. So far, I think I am getting enough protein but we will see how it goes as the month progresses. As for vegetables, the typical WW2 diet was mainly vegetables due in part to the Dig for Victory campaign. I fully admit that I do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and I am hoping that this challenge will help me change that. As for production, they lived this way from 1939 to 1954 so they got quite good at making due and tending their gardens. They were also helped by their climate. You can grow different veggies year round in the UK, unlike Canada where the growing season only last for 3 months or so. And yes, vitamin pills in the form of cod liver oil played an important role in keeping children of the time healthy. Despite it looking like so little, the British people at the time were the healthiest they ever were or would be again.


  4. Great job! I am intrigued by your meals, and also by what you try – and if it either works or doesn’t! Thanks for being real. I am not a mayo eater (I use Miracle Whip), but I did a search for WWll mayo substitutes and came up with a link for some recipes from the UK (I am in the States):
    – there is a pretty interesting recipe for mayo, as well as for cream (it sounds nasty!!), and some syrups. I love that you saved the canned fruit juices. I would encourage you to maybe freeze some and use for a sweetener ingredient in baking or cooking sweets. One thing, when I sold Tupperware, that we encouraged our guests to do was to save every leftover. If it was freezable, put it in a container that was a specific measure – 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup – that way you knew how much you had saved. Then make a surprise casserole or soup. I can’t wait to read your next installment.


  5. Well done for staying within your ration. I do think it highlights what they had to do during the war, a. get inventive with everything they had and b. not waste a drop of any food or drink. I always use the juices from canned fruit up but I can certainly see how valuable it is now!


  6. Ration-wise Salad Dressing

    2 tbsp flour1 1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp dry mustard
    1 tbsp sugar
    dash paprika
    1 1/4 cups warm water 1 well beaten egg yolk
    2 tbsp melted drippings
    1/3 C vinegar
    Combine dry ingredients and mix to a paste with some of the water…add to the top of a double boiler and add remaining water.
    Cook until thick and smooth … stir constantly.
    Add a little water to the egg mixture and combine with the drippings then add to the double boiler and cook, stirring , 1 more minute.

    slowly add vinegar and cool to room temp.

    I imagine if yo used more flour or less vinegar you could get a tasty spreadable dressing when it was cold.


  7. Condensed Milk Mayo
    1/4 C vinegar
    1/4 C oil
    2/3 C sweetened condensed milk
    1egg yolk
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp dry mustard
    dash of cayenne
    beat well until combined…it is supposed to thicken as it sits in the fridge.
    it uses your weeks egg ration but makes about 1 1/2 cups so it would last maybe 2 weeks if you were careful
    I make mayo in the food processor and have used the blender. You can use the entire egg since it gets emulsified so well… might work for this and you could possible get by with one less tablespoon of oil.

    another option might be a thicken boiled salad dressing that uses flour….you would need to tinker with it in order to get it thick enough for a sandwich.


    1. Good recipe! I have seen a similar one and I was keeping it up my sleeve. I have to decide if I am going to spend my ration points on a tin of condensed milk! Decisions, decisions…


Leave a Reply. I love hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.