Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Two

Week Four – I’m in the homestretch.

The disadvantage of words like ‘rations’ or ‘diet’ is the assumption it immediately creates of privation and hunger. Rationing in Britain was introduced to prevent both those circumstances. It was essential to the war effort that the civilian population was well fed so they could work in the factories and take on extra duties (eg. Air Raid Wardens) if Britain was going to win the war. And it was so successful that by the end of the war people were consuming approximately 3,000 calories per day!

But – I have to confess – when I weighed myself this morning, I discovered I’ve lost a total of 7 lbs in the 3 weeks I’ve been eating wartime rations! Seven pound weight-loss eating pudding every night and never feeling hungry!

Another confession.  I wobbled on my rations this afternoon. I was out for lunch and had a ham/lettuce/tomato and cucumber sandwich, even though the last three ingredients weren’t available in wartime Scotland in January. Next Monday – I can’t believe I’m saying this! – I’m looking forward to enjoying a tomato, cucumber, red pepper, celery and broccoli salad.  With a fresh orange to finish!

But for tonight, dinner was genuine January wartime rations: homemade vegetable soup, cheese dumplings with coleslaw and brussels sprouts, and apple crumble.


* * *

Anne, my mother and brother moved to Kippen from Glasgow to avoid the bombing and this week she’ll be answering my questions on her experiences as an evacuee.

anne2013When were you evacuated and how long did you stay in Kippen? Shortly after Clydebank*, and I was there for about 2 years 6 months. To begin with I was in the village school for a few months until the ‘Qualifying Exam’ (like the later ’11+’); a nice overstretched headmaster  had to cope with all these extra pupils because Glasgow’s Hyndland School was moved ‘en bloc’ (teachers as well) to the village around Balfron, which was the secondary school centre.

What was the village like? Kippen was isolated on a loop road off the main Glasgow-Stirling road, so it was quiet with no passing traffic. It formed a cross with houses along three of the roads, and there was a stone cross at the centre. No side-roads – the fields began behind the little houses. I was surprised when I went back, out of nostalgia, in the early 1990s to see that little had changed – in fact the only change in the centre was that the Post Office had moved from one side of the main street to the other, and that was all except for a sort row of houses which had been built since I’d last seen it in the 40s.

*Clydebank Blitz – March 13/14 1941

Kippen – A village 20 miles north-west of Glasgow. Scotland.

Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-One

Long – long – blog tonight, so let’s get started.

Dinner tonight was leftovers – again!  This time, Haggis burger with roasted brussels sprouts and baked potato. For pudding, baked apple stuffed with honey and raisins.


In honour of Burns Night yesterday, I tried to bake some shortbread – my first attempt in about 30 years.  Although they don’t look very pretty – next time I’ll use a pastry cutter! – they tasted good.  At least, the small portion I managed to rescue did. About three seconds after taking this picture, I knocked the plate on the floor. Let’s just say that if dogs can smile, mine had a grin from ear to ear, with shining eyes and a very waggy tail to match!

Although I could laugh it off, in wartime it wouldn’t have been nearly as funny.  Making the shortbread took up 1/10 of our fat allowance for the week. When resources were scarce, that would have been no laughing matter!

* * *

Moving on…

hshopAs promised, here –  for my husband’s colleagues who can’t believe I’m bringing in a grocery shopping for two at around $60 per week –  is my menu, shopping list and bill for this week’s rations. Please remember this isn’t absolutely everything I need for my weekly menu – I already have staples like flour/tea/treacle/sausagemeat etc. on my shelves and in the freezer.

Also, the bill has been adjusted to show the price of my actual rations allowances.  Some things – like bacon – I could only buy in a large packet so I had to remove the bacon allowed for this week and freeze the rest.

Main Course: Haggis Burger, Cheese Dumplings, Sausagemeat Loaf, Steak and Pot Pie, Steak and Pot Pie leftovers, Bacon Turnovers, Corned Beef Hash, Toad-In-The-Hole

Pudding: Breton pears, Padded pudding, Dark Gingerbread, Welsh cakes, Apple crumble, Pear crumble, Bread and Butter Pudding, Baked Apples.


Rations (for two):

Bacon – 8ozs 226g:  $3

Meat –  1lb/455g: $3.96 (Stewing steak)

Milk – 12 pints/6.8 litres: $9.99

Cheese – 4ozs – 112g: $2.50

Butter/fats – 1 lb /455g : $3.49

Sugar – 8 ozs/224g: $0.44c (It should be 1lb between the two of us, but I’m still haven’t used up our first week’s sugar ration.)

Eggs – 8 (2 shell and 6 powdered) $1.86

Preserves: 4ozs/112g:  $1.00

Non rationed food:

Sausages: $2.50

Corned Beef: $4.83  (on points when available!)

Bread: $3.29

Potatoes: $3. 98


Beetroot: $1.72

Leeks: Not available – it’s wartime.

Apples: $3.98

Pears: $5

Strawberry Jam:$1

Red cabbage: $2.29

Onions: $2

TOTAL: (IF my maths is correct!) $60.82Cdn: $54.96US: $63.25 Australian: 33.36GBP

As I said, I do have some staples already on my shelves and veggies left over from last week, and when I figured out the price of my morning porridge, without milk it comes to 14c per portion.

So it is possible to eat a very healthy, filling diet on a budget  But if you’d like to read more about eating well and cheaply, please check out THIS website.  Jack Monroe is a 25 year-old single mother who found herself forced to feed herself and her child on 10GBP a week.  ($18.23Cdn:$16.48US: $18.96Australian)