Ask any person who remembers rationing and they will tell you that our nation was at its healthiest during the war. So would rationing now, during hard times, benefit a modern family?
We researched the idea over and over, weighing up costs and amounts, weights and measures and there were quite a few questions:
Would it make life easier? Would it cut costs? Would we be healthier? Would we be hungry? Would a ration diet meet the nutritional needs of adults and growing children? What if the food tastes awful? What if i cant get my modern-day children to adjust to the new diet?
I must admit, although menu planning for a whole week seemed daunting at first, it has become a blessing. No more rushed dinners, ”what are we going to have tonight” or ” I dont feel like…”. If its on the Menu thats whats for dinner.
It makes shopping easier aswell, with a set menu and clear list its cheaper and quicker with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks planned for the week. [CLICK HERE FOR A COST COMPARISON BETWEEN BUDGET STORES AND LARGER SUPERMARKETS]
“…The Ministry of Food controlled food supplies and, under Lord Woolton, Minister of food, gathered together the finest nutritionists to plan the nation’s needs… ” Taken from the forward to Marguerite Pattens Victory cookbook
Rationing existed as a fair way to distribute available food nationwide making sure those who needed it received it. Although some perceived rationing to be unfair, it was deemed to be a great equalizer as it made no distinction between prince and pauper. [CLICK HERE TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT A RATION INCLUDED]
One of the most obvious changes in diet was the portions of each of the food groups. [CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR POST ON PORTION SIZES] As a family of five (2 adults and 3 children), under rationing, we’d only be allowed 1 kg of meat per week. That’s not including fish, offal, game(sausages were technically not rationed but VERY hard to get). Ham/ bacon had its own ration and we are allowed 500g for all of us, NOT EACH, per week. (all ration amounts mentioned are per week unless otherwise stated)
Bananas are out, so is more than 1 jar of jam per month. Bread, although not rationed until much later, is still scarce and we are going to have to get making and baking if we want to consume 2/3 of a loaf per day…. that is if we can get the flour. Chickens are out aswell. Most were killed initially to save on animal feed, what was left was used for egg laying, so no roast chicken dinners and quick, lean & easy chicken meals.
Low fat, half fat, no fat, reduced fat is out. We now use REAL butter, whole milk and margarine is something you bake with. Yes, we do bake. Baking and treats didn’t stop just because there was a war on. On the contrary, a bit of sponge, a cookie or pudding was a welcome addition to mealtime, for moral or just to clean the taste of an unsuccessful dinner off the palate.
Milk is rationed to 20 pints per week. Butters, fats (like lard for cooking…. none of that fussy modern oil), cheese and margarine (for baking and cooking)
“… the food was severely rationed from 1940 to 1954, and the population had to manage without many ingredients they had taken for granted in the pre-war days but they managed. The fact that adults kept fit and children grew strong and healthy must prove that the British at home won their battle… ” Taken from the forward to Marguerite Pattens Victory cookbook
You can already see how I lost 10lbs in weight in one month of rationing… the kids have however gained weight. Put simply we consume far less fat (even if its cooking lard etc), less meat (2 decks of card sized portions of red meat per week), we DO eat carbs… the good, slow releasing energy variety (gawd bless potatoes), find new ways to add fruit to our diet and fill ourselves full of as much veg as we can.
“… The Ministry Food Advice Division employed dieticians and many home economists, to help people throughout the country… We were the Kitchen Front and we had to fight our battle with as much energy as the forces overseas fought theirs. ” Taken from the forward to Marguerite Pattens Victory cookbook