Wartime Rations – Day Five

fishandchipsI seem to be eating out a little more frequently than I had planned when I started this programme. It’s the long weekend here in Canada, so we went out to lunch at Earls. Trying to stay within my rations I had halibut and chips, but the helping was so large that I think it’ll just be soup for me for dinner tonight!

The Glasgow Herald

Once more, only 6 pages. I wonder why? It’s getting closer to the end of the war, but is this when material was in real short supply?

Page One: Blackout times: 7pm – 7.09am

What I’m finding interesting about the front page of the paper is that this isn’t where to find the top news. This page is about announcements and adverts. For example:

Silver Weddings: At the Bath Hotel, Bath Street, Glasgow on 10th October, 1919, but Rev. D Galbraith, assisted by Dr Chisholm M.A., Donald M. Wilson to Agnes C. Sloan. Present address: Morangie, 19 Larch Road, Dumbreck, Glasgow.

Crystal Palace on St George’s Road, Charles Laughton in The Man From Down Under.

Page Two:  10,000th ‘Fortress’ Completed. The American Association of Aircraft Manufacturers announced in Los Angeles yesterday that the 10,000th Flying Fortress had just been built by Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle.

Page Three: German Positions Taken in Rear. The Landing by Canadian Forces at dawn yesterday in the Scheldt Estuary pocket west of the village of Hoofdplaat was reported last night to be ‘progressing satisfactorily’. The assault in the enemy’s rear was made to ease the pressure on the Canadians holding the Leopold Canal bridgehead, and already (reports Reuter) there are signs that the ferocious German attacks at the canal are weakening.

Page Four: No more ration-free bacon. Cooked belly bacon sold off the ration for the past 6 months was from yesterday issued to retailers for the ration bacon requirements. Coupons will be necessary when buying it.

Page Five: Foot and mouth disease was confirmed yesterday among pigs at Spennymoor, Co Durham. The usual standstill order was made.

Page Six: For Sale. Huntly Gardens, Glasgow. 3 public rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 dressing rooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen and servants’ bedroom. Entry can be given as soon as the house is de-requistioned by the War Office. (I checked on recent sales at this address. The house has been turned into flats and one recently sold for £475,000. But what I found really interesting is that had been taken over by the War Office.  From whom? How much had they paid the original owners? What was it used for?)


Wartime Rations – The Rules

Earlier this year I spent one month eating World War Two British style food; the basics provided on rations, plus fruit and vegetables in season. My aunt collaborated with me, providing her recollections of her childhood during those six years of war. I had such a great time with the experiment, and learned so much, that I decided it would be a good idea to repeat it four times in the year (April/July/October) using the fruits and vegetables specific to that season.

What was it Robert Burns said?  ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley’. I’m not sure what happened to my good intentions for April and July, but as we’re only ‘just’ into October I’m going to try to get back on track and start again on Monday, October 6th and continue through until Sunday, November 2nd.

Diana’s Wartime Rations Rule Number One:
A little background to rationing in the UK during WW2 for those of you who are unfamiliar with its history.

Even though people received ration cards entitling them to certain essential foods, and those foods were ‘theoretically’ available, it didn’t mean that they always received them. There were constant shortages. If eggs weren’t available one week, you didn’t get two the following week to make up, but I’m going to assume all the foods that were on ration ‘are’ available.

This is what one week’s rations look like.


One week’s worth of rations – Britain WW2

Bacon – 4 oz
Meat – 8oz
Sausages – when available
Fats – 8oz (2 oz butter, 4 oz margarine, 2oz lard).  I’m going to substitute that with 8 oz of butter.
Cheese – 2 ozs
Milk  – 3 pints
Sugar – 8oz
Jam – 2oz
Tea – 2oz (15 tea bags)
Eggs – 1 shell and 3 dried.  (I will substitute with 4 shell eggs)
Sweets – 3oz

As for the fruits and vegetables in season, I will be using those suggested on this website. For October that means: Apples, Blackberries, Sweetcorn, Savoy Cabbage, Kale, Red Cabbage, Squash, White Cabbage, Runner Beans, Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, Spring Cabbage, Carrots, Maron, Spinach, Leeks, Celery, Cauliflower.

Certain other foods weren’t rationed – eg flour, oatmeal – and others were to be found on a points system, eg tinned vegetables.  No-one went into the war with empty cupboards, and I’m sure there were times people swapped – I’ll give you some extra sugar for a tin of peas – so I’m starting tomorrow with the following in my pantry cupboard; flour, raising agents, certain spices, raisins, a small tin of golden syrup and jar of mayonnaise.

Diana’s War Time Rations Rule Number Two:
I call this my ‘Dining at the Savoy’ rule.

Rationing was probably hardest on the housewife who remained in the home and was limited to eating only rationed food – unless she went out for a cup of tea and a bun, or the occasional fish and chips. People who worked in factories were provided with a daily hot meal at the works canteen. And of course, those who could afford it could always eat out, and eat out well –  at places like The Savoy Hotel in London! – thus augmenting their rations.

This month sees Canadian Thanksgiving and a Wedding Anniversary in our family. On those two occasions I’m going to adopt my Dining at the Savoy rule and not inflict my wartime rations on my relations!

I’ve also decided to follow what happened in the newspapers between October 6th 1944 – November 2nd 1944, so will be adding information about that at the end of each post.  And I still have a few questions I’d like to ask Anne who was a child growing up in Glasgow during that time.

(If you have any wartime questions you think Anne might be able to answer, please e-mail them to me at dianacranstoun@gmail.com and I will pass them on.)

Here goes!