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    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 19th Jun 07, 9:57 AM
    • 9,089Posts
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    Thriftlady's wartime experiment
    • #1
    • 19th Jun 07, 9:57 AM
    Thriftlady's wartime experiment 19th Jun 07 at 9:57 AM
    Grow fit not fat on your wartime diet ! Cut out ‘extras’; cut out waste; don’t eat more than you need.
    You’ll save yourself money; you’ll save valuable cargo space which is needed for munitions and you’ll feel fitter than you ever felt before.’

    Ministry of Food Bulletin

    Well, that about sums up why I’m feeding my family on wartime rations this week and, all being well next week and maybe beyond. I’m not so worried about cargo space, but the rest of the above bulletin is very appropriate.

    I’ve always been fascinated by the home front and have amassed a collection of articles and books on the subject. One of the first was an article in the BBC Good Food mag back in 1998 which challenged a family to manage for a week on rations. There was a more recent article in Good Housekeeping doing the same thing but marking the 50th anniversary of the end of rationing. Another interesting article is this one –
    Because the amounts of rationed food varied throughout the war it is difficult to be completely accurate and authentic but I’ll do my best. Also sometimes it was difficult to get hold of non-rationed foods like onions, fish and sausages. I won’t have this problem as, let’s face it, it isn’t difficult to get hold of any foodstuff you like nowadays.

    These are the weekly rations for one adult
    Meat –this was rationed in money not by weight but it was roughly equivalent to 2 lamb/pork chops or 12 oz mince/stewing steak or you could combine rations to buy a decent sized joint. Chicken was scarce. Offal and sausages were not rationed but hard to get. Wild game such as rabbit was not rationed.
    Milk (whole only available)- 3 pints
    Sugar- ½ lb
    Butter – 2 oz
    Margarine – 4 oz
    Cooking fat (dripping/lard) – 3 oz
    Cheese (English hard cheese) – 3 oz
    Bacon and ham -4 oz
    Eggs -1
    Dried egg -¼ packet (equivalent to 3 eggs)
    Sweets and chocolate -2 oz
    Jam- 3 oz
    Tea -2 oz (18 teabags)

    There was a points system -16 per person per month –which allowed you to buy tinned goods, orange juice, cereals, rice and pulses.
    Off ration were: bread (though not after the war), potatoes, oats, fresh fish, and homegrown fruit and veg.

    For our family of 2 adults and 3 children I’ve made some adjustments to the rations –Ok I’m cheating a bit

    Meat- 3½ lbs
    Milk -16½ pints (children between 5-18 got 3½ pints)
    Sugar -2½ lbs (I doubt we’ll use all this)
    Butter – 30 oz –this is where I’m cheating, I’m taking my marge as butter too. I hate marge and prefer natural ingredients and since the calories are the same it won’t affect the nutritional aspect of the experiment. 30 oz is 3 packs plus a bit.
    Cooking fat -15 oz
    Cheese -15 oz
    Bacon and ham -20 oz (this week we’re having 8 oz ham and12 oz bacon)
    Eggs – a tricky one -dd is allergic as you probably know, so the question is, would we have got her ration and divided it between the rest of us or would she have got extra cheese or meat instead ? I’ve decided not to take it or substitute anything else for her as we’re probably going to be cheating quite a bit anyway.
    I’m also undecided about taking the dried egg as fresh, because from a nutritional pov there’s no difference in dried egg and fresh eggs. So if I take the 3 dried eggs as fresh we have 16 which I’ll be pushed to use. We’ll see, I don’t really want to make egg dishes for 4 of us and something else for dd.
    Sweets and chocolate -15 oz ! this is really more than we have in a week, so no problem.
    Jam – 10 oz, that sounds like a lot but ds1 is pretty liberal with the stuff. It’s all hm btw.
    Tea – I don’t know if children got this. Even so 36 teabags for OH and self is more than enough.

    Things I’m definitely cheating on
    Neither of which were rationed, just not as popular as they are today.
    Orange and apple juice for the children –they don’t drink much, but I don’t want a mutiny and I know they won’t notice the other wartime strictures –in fact they’ll get more sweets than they’re used to. Maybe I’ll swap sweets for juice.

    Resources I'll be using:
    We'll Eat Again
    The Victory Cookbook
    The Postwar Kitchen
    all by Marguerite Patten
    Good Eating -this is a facsimile book of a wartime cookbook published by the Daily Telegraph. It has some really interesting recipes and includes garlic in a few which I was surprised about.

    Shopping - I'm buying most of my fruit, veg and milk from a local farmshop and most of it is locally grown. The kids have to have apples though so they're imported at the moment (roll on August when the first of our homegrown crop is ready) I also rely on frozen peas but at least they're British. Meat is from my butcher and everything else from Tesco or Waitrose.

    Menu for yesterday

    Breakfast - little pancakes made with sour milk (very wartime) and golden syrup, orange juice

    lunch for kids -ham sandwiches, strawberries, carrot sticks and bread pudding
    lunch for me -leftover rice and smoked mackerel with salad, apple

    kid's snack -leftover choc chip muffins (needed eating)

    supper -leftover sliced pork in gravy, leftover spuds + some fresh ones mashed and fried till crisp (yum), broad beans and peas
    raspberries with top of the milk.

    Today's menu
    breakfast for the kids - porridge made with milk, a drizzle of golden syrup, toast, butter and jam and orange juice.

    I had a banana with my porridge which is definitely cheating but it needed eating and wasting it would have been worse

    lunch for kids -cheese and carrot sandwiches, carrot cookies, strawberries

    Not sure what I'm having- possibly beetroot soup and bread, but I need some protein at lunch or I get ravenous by 4, maybe I'll have my egg ?
    OH has taken a tuna sandwich and an apple.

    Supper - final remains of roast pork in a hash with veg or as rissoles with salad and spuds.
    Duke pudding for afters (breadcrumbs, carrot and dried fruit- very good)

    Kids' snack -apples or raisins.

    Hope that's of interest, feel free to ask questions

    Last edited by thriftlady; 23-06-2007 at 8:39 AM. Reason: to ammend title
Page 1
    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 19th Jun 07, 10:26 AM
    • 17,087 Posts
    • 132,754 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    • #2
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:26 AM
    • #2
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:26 AM
    Hi, thriftlady, great thread! Especially intersting about the sweet ration. I understood that a lot of people kept a pig and some hens for more meat and eggs, and dug up gardens for veg growing. Do you know how common that was? Pigs are known to be the best *recyclers* of kitchen waste.

    My FIL's mother lived in rural West Berkshire, and her father *aquired* venison, rabbit, hare, partridge, pheasant, etc. She often complained about how often she had to eat game

    Penny. x
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
  • GreenNinja
    • #3
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:31 AM
    • #3
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:31 AM
    Love this thread, the carrot cookies sound nice! do you have the recipe?

    During the war my Dad (just before he was called up) kept rabbits which he sold to the butcher. His older brother was in the Merchant Navy and managed to get some tinned food and stockings on the quiet and bring home.
    • catznine
    • By catznine 19th Jun 07, 10:32 AM
    • 3,187 Posts
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    • #4
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:32 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:32 AM
    Well done Thriftlady! I am going to enjoy reading this thread. I have a copy of the Stork Wartime cookery book (I am using it for a WW11 project of my own at the moment- just collecting recipes) Seemed to be a lot of offal recipes though! including quite a few using tripe Is that something you would consider cooking? Personally I would be happier using the corned beef or tinned salmon recipes.

    If you want me to type up any recipes from the book just ask.

    Catz x
    Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

    Jan grocery challenge £35.77/£120
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 19th Jun 07, 10:38 AM
    • 4,295 Posts
    • 9,426 Thanks
    • #5
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:38 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:38 AM
    It certainly is of interest and I will follow this thread.

    I expect I'll have lots of questions.
  • Mrs Dawn
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:49 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:49 AM
    This is a great idea, especially in the throw away society we live in now.
    I will certainly be checking out your thread as you progress.
    Good luck.
    DFW Nerd 410
    Proud to be dealing with our debts
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 19th Jun 07, 10:58 AM
    • 9,089 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:58 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 07, 10:58 AM
    I understood that a lot of people kept a pig and some hens for more meat and eggs, and dug up gardens for veg growing. Do you know how common that was? Pigs are known to be the best *recyclers* of kitchen waste.
    Originally posted by Penelope Penguin
    I think the gardening was very widespread, I'd certainly do it under those circumstances.

    Chickens too were pretty common, but I think you had to swap your egg ration for chicken feed. It still meant you probably had more eggs though.

    I know there were 'pig clubs' in some areas where a street would club together to buy a pig and collect waste veg peelings etc to feed it.

    In fact feeding animals was a problem as dogs and cats didn't get a ration book . A really informative book is The Wartime Kitchen and Garden by Jennifer Davis. It covers food, growing and looking after animals in wartime, it has recipes dotted about too.

    catznine I'm not sure I'd try tripe, it's probably the only thing I'm a bit squeamish about and my kids would never eat it I like tinned stuff like corned beef, Spam and tinned fish though and liver and kidneys are delicious (although the kids don't like them unless well disguised). We also like rabbit so that's firmly on the menu, and I've got some pigeon in the freezer that needs using up.
    Last edited by thriftlady; 12-09-2007 at 1:13 PM. Reason: to add a comma !
    • dronid
    • By dronid 19th Jun 07, 11:01 AM
    • 581 Posts
    • 1,258 Thanks
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 07, 11:01 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 07, 11:01 AM
    What a coincidence! I'm just about to do much the same thing myself. Will watch with interest! I think the Dried egg eas supposed to last a bit longer than a week. I'd just make sure I'd track the number of eggs I'd use and ensure it stayed below the limits. A bit horrified by the amout of sugar but then they didn't have anything sweet and it was helpful to make more jam and cakes/biscuits as the diet could be quite bland.

    I could make it better myself at home. All I need is a small aubergine...

    Current debt £7000 - loan. And a £4000 pound overdraft. That didn't work, did it?
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 19th Jun 07, 11:03 AM
    • 4,295 Posts
    • 9,426 Thanks
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 07, 11:03 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 07, 11:03 AM
    Hi Thriftylady,

    I've just thought of a question and its possibly one I've been meaning to ask anyway, if you don't mind.

    But regarding Jam making, does it still work out economical to buy in the fruit, I assume you can't grow all of your own all year around.

    Or do you justify the cost, when you compare home made with the cost of "finest" ranges.

    We never have Jam you see so it would be an extra cost alround for us.
  • Plum Pie
    Oooh, I've just started 'The Night Watch' by Sarah Waters. It's brilliant and I love the descriptions of all the scrimping that had to be done.

    I shall enjoy your thread.
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 19th Jun 07, 11:19 AM
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    Dronid I think one of the biggest sugar-eaters was all the cups of tea the nation got through in those days. I don't know anyone who has sugar in tea but I think it was pretty widespread then and that's when so many of the older generation gave up sugar in their tea.

    Good luck with your project -please swap notes

    Carrot Cookie Recipe

    This is adapted from We'll Eat Again by Marguerite Patten (national treasure )
    It's not really a cookie, more of a mini rock bun type thing. My kids haven't had them before so I'll let you know how they went when they get back from school. I thought they were quite pleasant but not the sort of thing you have to scoff the lot of -this is a good thing for me as home baking is my down fall.

    1 tbsp marge or butter
    2 tbsp sugar
    a drop of vanilla or other flavouring if liked.
    4 tbsp of grated carrot (that's about half a big carrot-I used the rest in sandwiches)
    6 tbsp self-rasing flour

    Cream the butter and sugar till fluffy, add carrot and flavouring. Work in the flour. At this point the mixture was really stiff and dry so I added milk to make a sticky dough. on reflection I think I added 6 oz of flour not 6 tbsp so you may not need the milk.

    Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking tray (save your butter papers for greasing ) and bake in a 'brisk oven' for 20 mins. Makes 12-15.

    No, I didn't know what a brisk oven was either , I decided it meant moderately hot and baked them at 190c.
  • jennybb
    Good luck, Thriftlady. I read something about this on another forum somewhere last year - will try and remember where :confused:

    I am not sure I could motivate myself to do this - but I'll read your thread and perhaps it will inspire me - especially if it involves weight loss

    By the way - could you share some rabbit recipes please?

    I am with you on tripe - a childhood friend's dogs used to get fed tripe - I can smell it now (where is the smiley for fingers down throat?!) I guess if it were served up looking pretty I might give it a go.

    I'll follow this with interest.
  • hev
    I shall be watching this thread closely, and I may try it (well, an adapted version). I have the Marguerite Patten books, and some of the recipes sound so tasty.

    I am awestruck that housewives of the day cooked from scratch (very little option to do other), cleaned (and soap was rationed!) and had to queue for practically everything, bringing their own paper bags. What I didn't realise is that so many women were called up for war work as well. Not to mention the pressure to do all the other stuff, like the allotment (especially if the man was away), make do and mend - I can barely cope and I have all the modern conveniences!

    Not only is it a frugal idea, but it is also healthy and really good for the environment.

    Thank you for starting this thread!

    Always another chapter

    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 19th Jun 07, 11:47 AM
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    • 143,708 Thanks
    What was also very good during the war was the 'extra's that went around .They was a lot of swopping of food-stuff, as not everyone likes the same things .Onions were like gold dust and my Mum hoarded hers with an eagle eye .I never tased butter until I was 12 so I didn't miss what I had never tasted. A little went a long way though, and NO one left anything on the plate. Chickens were far too valuable to eat if they produced eggs, and almost everyone either had a chook or a family member had one .
    Condensed milk was popular spread on bread or toast .But you didn't have marge as well it was one or the other . The fact that almost everyone was in the same boat made it better I think. Now and again my Dad would come in with something that he had managed to get hold of. I never saw a banana though, and when they arrived in the shops after the war you had to queue just to get one ! My Dad used the skin to clean his shoes with, as it made them nice and shiny. My Mum would have sold her soul for a lemon though as she loved lemon tea .Everything was used and most of the dustbins were virtually empty as if you couldn't eat it then you could burn it on the fire for heat.No central heating in those chilly days .It was a wash in cold water in the morning and a very fast trip to the outside toilet for your abolutions .No loo roll, ,just a bit of newspaper on a string.
    A large green bar of Fairy washing soap doubled as soap to wash with, and my Mum grated some into a jar with some hot water tosoften it down and thats what washed our hair .no shampoos or conditioners . The washing was done in a big tub or boiler and a dolly blue bag tossed in .My job when I got big enough was to poke this boiling mass of clothes with a long dolly stick .Then when it was got out you had to rinse it in cold water and then turn it through the mangle . Sometimes if she was flush we would go to the wash-house where Mum used to say 'Block your ears up lassie and take no notice of what you hear' Worse thing to say to a nosy little sprat like myself .The womens conversations was so interesting, and at times I suppose a bit rude .
    I learnt a lot in the wash-house!! I loved my childhood for all the hardships and shortages we were never short of a cuddle, and if your Mum wasn't well, a neighbough would always help out. The Mums all looked out for everyones children and if a hungry kid was at the door it would get something ,usually a bit of bread and jam.
    No one thought of H&S,the fact you had survived the previous night's bombing was a result. I ate many things as a child I wouldn't dream of touching now ,but then when your are hungry you will not be so fussy. I must admit that Tripe was something that I ate, but couldn't stomach today. I have a choice now the only choice then was take it or go hungry. It's a good idea to try to experiment with a war-time diet ,but you wouldn't want to do it for any prolonged length of time . My Mum had six years of it, and then when the war finished we still had rationing until 1953-4 She was like most women of her era ,very hard-working and inventive with what she had .We never went hungry though we might have felt as though we could have had more .'Seconds' never happened in our house at all.
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • sylphraven
    • By sylphraven 19th Jun 07, 12:04 PM
    • 700 Posts
    • 3,840 Thanks
    Grow fit not fat on your wartime diet ! Cut out ‘

    Menu for yesterday

    Breakfast - little pancakes made with sour milk (very wartime) and golden syrup, orange juice
    Originally posted by thriftlady
    :confused: Sour Milk? am I just being a bit slow, or are these actually made out of gone off milk?

    Sounds very interesting, never looked into ration recipes before, popping to my Grandads on monday so may ask to borrow my Nans recipe book, I know she had war time recipes in there & she was very creative with her cooking.

    Thank you for the carrot cookie recipe, shall have to give it a go to see if I can get some veg down my eldests throat without him really knowing !
  • sairy2005
    Thriftlady's wartime experiment
    I was born in 1946 when my Dad came home from the war. We lived with my Grandparents for two years as there were no houses for us. They were promised homes fit for heroes but ended up with heroes fit for homes. My Dad was one of the lucky ones. He could have been invalided out after Dunkirk but chose to go in the medic instead so lived out the rest of the was in the relative peace of a hospital in Ireland.

    We had one room plus a bedroom for us 4 (I had a brother). And my Grandparents had another bedroom. No bathroom or inside toilet. My Gran kept a shop so I guess we didn’t do too bad. Grandad was dying of cancer so he had to have all the sugar ration. I never tasted sugar until I was about 4.

    When we got a house I used to help my mother do the shopping as rationing was still in force until 1954. I remember getting 8ozs of cheese and so much bacon and sugar. This was then delivered by the delivery boy on a bicycle in the afternoon.

    Dad kept chickens for eggs and meat and rabbits as well. He always told me that they weren’t our chickens or rabbits we were eating as the postman came and killed them when I was at school and we swapped them with his! I believed this for years.

    We always had dogs and cats but not sure what they were fed on, scraps I expect, but they seemed healthy enough.

    I had a marvellous childhood. We were poor but as Dolly Parton said we didn’t know we were until some one told us. Every one was in the same boat. We never wanted for any thing it was possible for my parents to provide.
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 19th Jun 07, 12:09 PM
    • 9,089 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    Thanks for your reminiscences Jackie, I was hoping you'd pop in. I'm not sure I can manage without lemons either, but since I'm aiming for the health aspects of a wartime diet and not the deprivation bit I may cheat

    I've not managed to make soup for lunch, just had some ofOH's tuna on oatckes plus a carrot and apple. I haven't had time to do much else as I've been baking for my school tuckshop (not with my rations). I suppose that could count as voluntary work like the WVS. I haven't got round to my bread baking yet either because I've spent far too much time typing away on here I'll do it when the kids are home as I won't be able to get on the computer then :rolleyes:

    Glad so many people are interested in my mad little experiment and now I've really got to do it, so thanks for the motivation
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 19th Jun 07, 12:18 PM
    • 9,089 Posts
    • 28,909 Thanks
    :confused: Sour Milk? am I just being a bit slow, or are these actually made out of gone off milk?
    Originally posted by sylphraven
    Yes this wasn't actually a wartime recipe but it's something I make regularly, they're like Scotch pancakes. You can use sour milk for lots of baking -soda bread and scones are good. The milk had only just gone off so it wasn't like cheese. I used it for muffins too. I think a wartime housewife would have made scones or something with milk on the turn.

    Talking of waste, it was illegal to throw out food fit for human consumption during the war. People were fined for putting bread out for the birds.
    • Churchmouse
    • By Churchmouse 19th Jun 07, 12:19 PM
    • 2,974 Posts
    • 20,708 Thanks
    My word, thriftlady, you've really sparked some interest here!

    Looks like this is going to be one busy, well-read thread. Good luck to you in doing it, and it's lovely to read other's reminiscences of the time. A really fascinating experiment.
    Last edited by Churchmouse; 19-06-2007 at 12:23 PM.
    You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • Plum Pie
    Apple Cookie Recipe

    Exactly like Thriftlady's carrot cookie recipe only substitute apple for carrots and don't add the milk as the juice from the apples will be adequate.

    Cinnamon or nutmeg and raisins can be added to the batter if desired.
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