War Time Rations – Day One (again!)

It can get pretty boring looking a food pictures, so I’m not going to take pictures of EVERYTHING I eat over the next month. But as it’s the first day, I thought I’d show examples of what will be my typical weekday morning and lunch.

PorridgeWeekday breakfast will be porridge, a little milk and smattering of sugar for taste. (I’m going to save my egg and bacon as a treat for the weekend.) Because I only get 3 pints of milk a week, I’ve decided to divide that up into Mon/Tues allowing myself 1/4 pint each day and thereafter 1/2 pint daily for the rest of the week.

My weekday lunches will be a variation on The Oslo Meal. Essentially, it’s a sandwich (lettuce and tomato), a piece of cheese, glass of milk and piece of fruit, but given that lettuce and tomato are not in season in October, I’ve modified it to a bowl of homemade vegetable soup with some bread, homemade coleslaw (some days I’ll substitute an apple) and a cup of tea. My family seem to like my veggie soup and it’s really easy, so here’s the recipe.

RATIONSDiana’s Homemade Vegetable Soup:
Pan of water, one stock cube, 1/2 cup of lentils, 1/2 cup of split peas (if desired), one chopped onion, one chopped potato and one chopped carrot. Put everything in the pan, bring to the boil then simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer you simmer it the better.

minceDinner. Having grown up in Glasgow, I’m very fond of ‘mince and tatties’ but I decided to do the potatoes just a little differently tonight.  I mashed them with fried leek, moulded them into hamburger sized patties and then fried them which gave them a great texture.

And then pudding.  Ah, pudding.  I only ever seem to eat a dessert whendessert I’m eating wartime rations – go figure. However, with apples and blackberries as the only fruits available to me for October, I’m going to have to get creative. Tonight I made the old standby; apple and raisin crumble. The crumble is dead easy; rub 2oz of butter into 4oz flour then mix in 2oz sugar. I only used a small amount of the mixture tonight so have stored the rest in the fridge for the evenings I need to pull something together quickly.

Just as well I have to take the dog for a walk tonight as I feel pretty full!

anne2013Anne’s asked me to remind everyone that, “When you’re talking about rationing, don’t forget fuel and soap.  Remember it was a time of coal, electricity and gas, so Britain then didn’t have the benefit of hydropower and nuclear stations, nor did local users have wind farms.  So, electricity often meant blackouts of light as well as heat for cooking (in the middle of making dinner!), and the coal ration was only enough to heat one room, so most families lived in the kitchen, often undressing there and dashing through the cold hall to get to their cold bedrooms.  As for soap, there were no detergents beyond soap in block, flake or powder form and the ration was meagre.  In Glasgow we didn’t feel it badly because we had such nice soft water from Loch Katrine and mother used often to send a soap coupon or two down to relatives in Derby and Nottingham where the tap water was very hard. There was also washing soda but that was extremely harsh on hands and fabrics.”

As for what was being reported in The Glasgow Herald on this day 70 years ago, despite the continued posting of the blackout times for Glasgow – 7.10pm until 7.01am next morning – there appears to be a growing sense that people are looking beyond the end of the war.

Page One: Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit was playing at The Alhambra.

Page Two: The Army, unleashed after its dogged punishing weeks in the Caen sector, is gathering an amazing momentum.

Page Three: Questions were raised in Parliament on the shortage of teats for babies’ bottles, and, as happens too often, the matter was glossed over with meaningless explanations.

Page Four: Soviet troops were within 10 miles of Belgrade.

Page Five: France. Marshall Petain and 50 former members of his Vichy Government were charged with treason and intelligence with the enemy.

Page Six: After a four-day Court Martial, Private Thomas Montoya (24) of the US Army Air Force was cleared of murdering Joan Long (22) in an air raid shelter in Blackpool but was found guilty of manslaughter. He forfeited all pay and allowances, received a dishonourable discharge and a sentence of 10 years hard labour.

Page Seven: A shortage of round coal was accentuated this week by a number of illegal stoppages in Lanarkshire and by a continued high rate of absenteeism.

Page Eight: Situation Wanted.  Scottish doctor, graduate with varied experience, at present doing war-time locum in busy practice, is anxious to settle in Scotland after the war; age 32; family man; temperate; Presbyterian; he would consider assistantship with view partnership, or buying outright; preference for Highlands and Islands area or small county town, but is interested in any reasonable proposition.

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Day One – Part One

Breakfast didn’t start off too well!  I got a bit distracted by my 21st Century e-mail and burned my porridge. However, in the spirit of ‘make do and mend’, I scraped the good stuff into another pan, added some water and heated it up.  Served with milk and sugar it tasted fine.

SoupOslo meal

Lunch was a bowl of homemade soup and an ‘Oslo’ meal.  During the war, this was used to described a wholemeal sandwich with a little cheese and salad filling, a glass of milk and piece of fruit in season.  I just went with the sandwich as I was having soup.  (Saving up my milk ration for a rice pudding at the weekend!)

For dinner tonight – ah, that delicacy has still to come.  My husband is eating out tonight, so for the first time since we got married (last century and then some!) I’m going to have cabbage and liver.  Cabbage and Liver!!  Wish me well.  But before then, here are some more memories from Anne.

Bread and potatoes were never rationed till after VE Day, but wartime bread was always tasteless and grey in colour, so looked unattractive.  When I was in Kippen (she was evacuated into the Scottish countryside ) we were several times taken out of school to help with the tattie-howking.

There were no choices, no brands on rationed goods – everything was put into the melting pot and labelled National Butter, National Cheese etc.  You had to sign up with one grocer, one butcher etc so you knew, for instance, that there was no point in joining a queue at any other butcher who showed a few kidneys (not rationed, neither was offal) in his window; he would turn you down flat because you were not one of his ‘registered customers’.  Other off-ration protein was tripe and we ate a lot of that – OK if you had onions.  Eggs were few and far between, sometimes none for weeks at a time – Eastertime of course, there were more around. Then there were dried  eggs: yellow powder in brown waxed cardboard boxes: only suitable for cooking with really, though if you weren’t too fussy and had spare milk you could concoct a sort of scrambled egg.