Saturday, December 26, 2009

R-Day is Here!

Only half-way through Rationing Day and what a day it has been already! We had a blizzard here over Christmas so I spent the morning trying to dig out some sidewalk space while The Man of the House is at work. Then the girls and I headed to the opposite side of town to get a needed item for a home repair (leaky kitchen faucet), and unsuccessfully tried to exchange Sissy's damaged #1 present at Barnes and Noble (pages missing!). On the way back we stopped at the grocery store for our first rational shopping.

It was definitely a different type of shopping experience - especially in the produce department. Instead of apples and bananas we purchased a few cans of fruit, applesauce, and raisins. I splurged and bought a few clementines, since it wouldn't have been unheard of for those to be on the market here in December 1943. Otherwise, the only fresh produce purchased was carrots, onions and cabbage which are all available year round and then two sweet potatoes which will be off-limit due to seasonality beginning in January.

I didn't buy any meat or cheese because over half of our 64 red ration points were used to claim the small amount of cheese, butter and oils we already have in the house. You see, citizens were technically required to report all quantities of rationed food items already in their cupboards at the start of rationing. I'm sure there was a fair amount of fudging in regards to this task, kind of like the time-honored tradition of lying about your weight on your driver's license: you give a ballpark figure but no one expects it to actually be accurate. So I fudged a little, but now our red points are all squared up. I also claimed our allotted two pounds of sugar for this week to address the sugar that we already have on hand.

I did face one dilemma as I was menu planning for the week and making the grocery/ration points list: we have a turkey. A big, fat, hefty turkey that I bought at an amazing price during Thanksgiving week and then tossed into the chest freezer. I had full intentions of cooking it before rationing began but between school recitals, birthday parties and holiday events it never happened. If we were strictly following 1940s rationing this wouldn't be such a big deal since fresh poultry was never rationed. But since we adapted the rationing to include poultry I was faced with the fact that I have a giant piece of meat worth approximately 78 red ration points - more than all the red points we're allotted for one week! After lots of consideration I came to this conclusion: after the turkey is roasted today I will split the meat into four equal portions, each valued at 20 red points. One portion will be used this week for roast turkey and then turkey and noodle soup. The other three portions will be put in the freezer to use in subsequent weeks at their 20 red point values.

So, for the record, here's what our dinner menu for the next week looks like:

Saturday (today): Roast turkey with gravy, green bean casserole, and stuffing (using day-old bread that had been stored in the freezer)
Sunday: Turkey and homemade noodle soup with cabbage salad
Monday: Sweet potato and (frozen) butternut squash soup with fresh-baked bread
Tuesday: Baked potatoes with cheese and sour cream and (frozen) sno peas
Wednesday: Pancakes and canned fruit
Thursday: Spaghetti marinara with carrots
Friday: Black bean soup with corn bread

Oh, and by the way, despite the 8" of snow and lots of snow drifts we managed to not get stuck once on our 10+ miles of shopping travels this morning...until two houses away from our alley. A nice citizen helped push our van free and then we got stuck again in the alley. Ten minutes, two shovels, two large pieces of cardboard and lots of help from Sissy and Eowyn and I finally got the van back in the garage. Needless to say, I'm quite content to stay home for the rest of the day, smelling the roasting turkey and sipping on my rationed coffee.

Connect Four, anyone?

--Rational Mama


  1. I'm so excited that the rationing has begun!

    I'm not nearly brave enough to play along with you, but I'm taking notes and am especially interested in your menu planning. I'm sure our family will use many of your menus.

    Regarding your question about our "Mootown Players" - they are individual picture gadgets and the text portion is the caption for the picture.

    Oh, and I'm so glad you guys were able to safely get the van loose! We're having a heavy snow here today and it's so nice to just hunker down and stay home. Connect Four sounds lovely!!

  2. Kari - thanks for your encouragement and the formatting info!

  3. Michelle, I just LOVE your blog--the purpose behind it, the clean crisp format, the great information and inspiration. I found you by accident. I work for a cooking software company (Cook'n, and as part of the job, I study blogs--especially those referencing food, cooking, baking, family, etc. And one of the happy parts of this duty is discovering nice blogs like yours. Also, I am doing a blog of my own ( about 9 weeks old now) as a result of one of my passions: families eating together on a regular basis ( I don't really do recipes as a focus (although they're in there when appropriate). My focus is organization--I share tips and ideas to make kitchen work easier so it's easier to actually get the meal on the table. Stop by when you have a few minutes--I'd love your input. Meanwhile, all the best in your continued blogging and rationing. What a cool idea!

  4. Even though this was two years ago now, I feel as excited as if it was right now! Can't wait to read the rest, and I can almost smell that delicious turkey cooking...