I am so excited to start this year’s rationing challenge. The rules we are following are very similar to last year’s rationing rules and I have listed them again at the end of this post. Our rationing challenge will begin on SEPTEMBER 3, 2019.
The list of food that was available only on the ration is perhaps one of the most familiar aspects of the wartime diet. Food were rationed to guarantee that everyone would receive an equal share. For this challenge , we are focusing on 1942 British rations shown below:
|Item||Amount per week|
|Bacon OR Ham||4 ounces|
|Cooking Fat||2 ounces|
(Beef, Pork, or Lamb)
|1 shilling and 2 pence or $4.53 in 2019 |
|Milk (fresh)||3 pints (1.7 liters) per week|
|Item||Amount per month|
|Preserves (jam)||1 pound per month|
|Eggs (dried)||The equivalent of 12 eggs per month|
This works out to 24 TBSP of dried eggs.
|Milk (dried)||The equivalent of 4 pints (2.25 liters) per month|
About 2 1/4 cups of powdered milk.
|Sweets & Chocolate||12 ounces a month|
|Ration points||20 per month|
Last year, my rations for a week looked something like this:
Rationed using points
Some foods, such as canned fruits and vegetables, and dried foods like raisins and dried beans, were scarce and their availability fluctuated wildly during the war. To prevent food hoarding and ensure that everyone had equal access, as well as a little variety, the British government instituted a point system. Mirroring the availability of different items during the war, the points needed to purchase these items could vary from week to week. It is difficult to determine the exact points needed for items available in 1942 so the chart below is my best guess based on several different sources.
Off Ration Food
Not everything on the menu was rationed. The scarcity of some foods meant that there was no point in rationing them Other foods were locally grown or produced and plentiful and the government wanted to encourage the consumption of these foods.
- Chicken, fish, rabbit and game. – These meats off ration but hard to get. Chickens were valued for their egg laying abilities and it seems that chicken was not a common dish is the UK . Unlike chicken, fish was a common dish in the UK but it was also hard to obtain as most fishermen found their job either too risky because of the German blockade or they went off to war. Some of the stories I have heard indicate that fishing for salt water fish off the harbour wall or pier was a thing and could result in a meal. Rabbit was often raised in the backyard as a meat source. Game was off ration but hunting in the UK was and is very different that it is in North America. Off ration game meat would likely only benefit the rich.
- All the locally grown fruit and vegetables (including potatoes and foraged foods) that you can eat. The prevalence of Victory Gardens during the war helped to ensure that everyone had enough vegetables to fill their plates.
- Sausages and Organ meats were not rationed
- Bread – bread was not rationed until after the war. However, white flour was not available and bakers were only permitted to sell The National Loaf.
- Food served in a restaurant. What! Yes, in order to keep war workers feed and ready to work, as well as nourishing evacuees and those who lost their homes to German bombs, the UK government allowed citizens to eat at restaurants, canteens, and cafes without using their rations. There were, however, restrictions. A meal in a cafe/cafeteria type restaurant could cost no more than 9d or about $3.00 Canadian. Furthermore, the entire meal could only contain a single serving of meat, game, poultry, fish, eggs, or cheese. A more up-scale restaurant was limited to serving meals that were three courses or less and the meal must cost less than 5s or $18.91 2019 Canadian dollars.
- We will not exceed our rationed amounts.
- We will use World War 2 recipes as often as we can but we are not limited to using only recipes published during the 1940s. We can use modern recipe so long as it uses ingredients that would have been available in Britain in the 1940s
- Both H and I have families to feed. To keep things simple, when we prepare food that will be shared, we need only account for our ration in shared meals. For example, if I make macaroni and cheese to share with The Man using 2 ounces of cheese, I need to subtract only 1 ounces of cheese from my rations, not the whole 2 ounces.
- To comply with rationing rules, we cannot carry our ration amounts forward from one week to the next. In other words, if we did not buy our 2 ounce ration of cheese in Week One, we cannot buy 4 ounces of cheese in Week 2. However, if we do not use all our rations for the week (once purchased) we can save it. In other words, it will not go in the trash or compost once the week is over.
- Since only the National Loaf was available, it will be brown bread only for us this month.
- Since there was very little processed foods in 1942, we will avoid eating processed foods.
- Since there was little in the way of imported fruit, we will focus on locally grown fruit and say “NO” to oranges, lemons, and bananas.
- Any meals we eat out must not cost more than $3.00 for a casual eatery or $18.91 in a more upscale venue.
- We will share our pictures, thoughts and recipes to the hip roof barn facebook page or to instagram using the hashtag #hiproofbarnrationing or in the comment section of any future posts. We hope you will join us!