Monday, November 18, 2013

1940's experiment - rations

I came across a blog called 1940's experiment recently. Although I can't remember now how. At any rate, with a very large amount of weight to lose and having stumbled a bit since my sister died, I've found it interesting that I happened to come across a blog written by someone with similar weight issues. It's perhaps not a coincidence that I think my sister would have been really interested in the idea of dieting by eating only wartime rations but that kind of thing is happening a lot these days so I'm trying to just accept it as part of the grieving process and not focus too much on the fact that I don't get to have that conversation with her.

I've now started going through the archives and only a week or so in, have already found at least one recipe that I really want to try (vegetable turnovers). She also posted a list of what the adult rations were in 1940 and I just wanted to copy it in here, along with the conversions to metric. It's funny but although it's more normal for me to think of my own weight in imperial (lbs and stones), I mostly have to use metric for food.

Weekly ration for 1 adult 
Bacon & Ham 4 oz = 113g
Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb minced beef) = 226g
Butter 2 oz = 57g
Cheese 2 oz = 57g
Margarine 4 oz = 113g
Cooking fat 4 oz = 113g
Milk 3 pints (okay, I can manage pints but for the sake of completness that's 1.7 lt)
Sugar 8 oz = 226
Preserves 1 lb every 2 months = 454g
Tea 2 oz = 57g
Eggs 1 fresh egg per week 
Sweets/Candy 12 oz every 4 weeks = 340g

In addition to this a points system was put in place which limited your purchase of tinned or imported goods. 16 points were available in your ration book for every 4 weeks and that 16 points would enable you to purchase for instance, 1 can of tinned fish or 2lbs (= 907g) of dried fruit or 8 lbs (= 3.6kg) of split peas.

You can bet there wasn't a whole lot of food waste in them days!


Maria said...

I'm stymied. How did this work out to enough even to maintain life?

Moonwaves said...

The list doesn't mention fresh fruit or veg - I had a quick look on wikipedia and fresh, non-imported stuff wasn't really rationed. I think it was also assumed that most people would have their own vegetable garden or patch. The whole Digging for Victory campaign and all that.
I remember seeing a program years ago called, I think, 1940's House, in which a family spent a year (or a month, maybe a few months?) living as close to the conditions of the period as possible (right down to having to build their own bomb shelter) and they commented on how they were actually eating a bit more. When you cut out all the snacking between meals we do these days, it makes a big difference. They tended to eat far more stodgy foods as well then so I suppose you could feel fuller. Not sure I could do it but it makes me think.