Wartime Rations

Back in May last year, I spent a fortnight eating World War Two British rations. It was a great experience and I’ve decided to repeat it for four weeks this January. My initial instinct was to start on January 1st, but we have so many leftovers from Xmas/New Year it would go against the wartime spirit of eliminating waste – it was illegal to waste food –  so I’m going to start on Monday, January 6th and will finish on Sunday February 2nd.

My husband has agreed to join in – at least for the first week. (When he discovers that the main vegetable available in the winter months was cabbage, he might change his mind.) Until then, I’m going to spend the next few days explaining the ‘rules’ and how I plan to structure my posts.

Rations varied throughout the war – and didn’t end until 1954! – but I’m going to adopt the same rations as last time. The foods that were rationed were mostly dairy, meat, sugar and tea.  Un-rationed foods included vegetables, bread, fish and offal (when the latter was available). There was also a ‘points’ system with each person getting 16 points a month. In general 16 points could buy you – for example – 1 can of fish or 2 lbs of dried fruit or 8 lbs of pulses.  Certain foods  – eg bananas – were not available until long after the war ended.


Rationed food per person per week: (Just because it was rationed didn’t mean it was always available!)

Bacon – 4 oz

Meat – 8oz

Fat:  10 oz.   2 oz butter, 4 oz margarine and 4 oz of lard, but I’m going to use all butter.

Cheese  – 2oz

Milk – 3 pints

Sugar – 8oz

Jam – 2oz

Tea – 2oz (I read somewhere it was 15 teabags, but I measured out 23!!)

Eggs: 1 shell, 3 powdered.


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