Friday, August 31, 2012

Wartime Rations

Due to unexpected 'rearrangement' of today (leaving house early), this will be a short blog and comments will be replied to next time I write, but just time to give you a short list of most of the foods on ration during World War II.

The list below relates to April 1945 and are per person PER WEEK unless otherwise stated.
bacon OR ham: 4 oz
sugar: 8 oz
loose tea: (no T bags then) 2 oz
meat: 1/- (bought about 1 lb of cheap/toughest)
cheese: 1 oz (vegetarians allowed an extra 3 oz)
marmalade: 8 oz (per month)
....or 1lb jam OR 1 lb sugar.
lard: 2 oz
sweets: 8 oz (per month)
eggs: 1 per week (sometimes only 1 per fortnight)
....or 1 packet dried egg per month
milk: 3 pints per week
milk powder (= 8 pints): one tin every 8 weeks

At the moment have not yet found details of other 'basics' such as margarine, butter, bread, fish....but do have them somewhere and will let you know later. The above gives a good idea of how little each person had to eat - and do remember this is for a WEEK, not a day!!! It was somewhat easier to make a meal when cooking for a large family (the cook having control of all the ration books when everyone lived at home).

Vegetables were not on ration, but very hard to come by but the longer the war lasted the more people had learned how to 'dig for victory' and grow their own, so had more of these to supplement the increasingly meagre rations above.

Not sure about some other foods not mentioned, will have to look them up, but canned and dried foods were available on a 'points' system. A set number of points allowed per person each month, and these were printed in a book to be cut out and kept by the grocer. Foods in short supply were higher in points, and when there was plenty of stock or the Ministry of Food wanted to clear stocks that people didn't prefer to buy, these were then changed to less points. In those days, the more food that could be bought the better, it didn't pay to be fussy about what was eaten.

Soap was allocated 4 'coupons' each month. One coupon = 1 x 4oz bar hard soap, or 1 x 3oz bar toilet soap. OR 1 coupon for 3 oz soap flakes, or 6 0z soap powder.

Central heating was banned during summer months. Most people didn't have central heating anyway and had to rely on coal fires for winter heating. Coal was rationed to 15 cwts per household in London and the South and 30 cwts for the rest of the country.

Only a small amount of water (think it was 5 inches) was allowed when filling the bath, most people painted a line round the bath so they didn't exceed that. Even though people could 'cheat' and use more water (no-one likely to peek and see), everyone 'did their bit' and stuck to the rules. Not sure whether - in those days - it was suggested two people could bathe at the same time, but am sure the same water would be used for more than one child.
Rain water was usually saved for washing hair, and probably also for washing clothes as it was 'soft water' and used less soap.

Sorry for the short blog today but am sure the above will give plenty of 'food for thought', and do hope that many readers will take the time to put a one week's rations onto a tray and take a good look. Some may even like to have a go at living on just these (plus some seasonal fruit and veg) for one week.

With any luck should be back at normal time tomorrow when I hope for more comments re the above, and also will reply to those that have not yet been answered. See you then.