Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1 Month Check-In

Today we mark one calendar month into our year of living on WWII U.S. civilian rations.

How are we doing?

We used 248 of our 251 red ration points. Assigning these every week is quite a math game - there are definitely never too many red ration points!

We used 538 of what should have been only 192 allotted blue/green points (refer to the "And Then Things Became REALLY Interesting" post from a few weeks ago). The good news is that while I was doing some research I learned that all families were allowed to claim, without penalty, five cans per person at the start of rationing. Assuming that an average can was worth 14 points, that would be an additional 280 points worth of canned goods that I could have credited the family for at the beginning of ration. If we subtract those points from our total, that brings us down to 258 points. That's still about 18 can's worth of points, or 18 cans too many. But there's not much I can do about that now. I have a modest amount of canned goods in the cabinet right now (beets, spinach, corn and carrots), so I was not hoarding during those few weeks of excess point usage. I'm not happy with the situation, but I'm at peace with it.

We've purchased all our sugar and coffee allowances.

I didn't track gasoline/mile usage for that first partial week, but for the following three weeks we used 300 of our 576 miles. I'm really happy about that number. Even if we didn't get the extra gasoline/miles for The Man of the House's job equating to a wartime industry, we would be well within the reduced allotment for families without the added gallons/miles. Of course, TMOTH (as he likes to be called) would like to hoard all those extra miles. There will be a post on that compulsion soon!

And how are we doing mentally?

Eowyn and Sissy miss fresh fruit (Eowyn = bananas, Sissy = apples) and both are no longer amused by the increased appearance of soups on the menu.

TMOTH is frustrated with the fact that few people he talks to "gets it" and understand why we undertook this project.

As you are all aware, I greatly miss fresh vegetables - and lettuce most of all. Rational Living reader Kari had a great idea about this which I will be posting about soon. Otherwise, I'm also feeling the time drain of the project: time looking up points, extra time spent making menus and grocery lists, extra time spent cooking more meals from scratch, time spent tracking usage and time spent posting on the blog. But all of these except that last point help make the experiment that much more authentic, so I can't complain too loudly.

And I have to admit that I look forward to Mr. Bowles' Marketplace Scenario Randomizer with giddy expectancy.

And let me add a note of thanks for all those who read the blog and use the comments section to ask questions, suggest recipes (I'm still loving the baked cabbage!) and give us emotional support. This project wouldn't be nearly as interesting if it wasn't for the ongoing dialogue. Thank you!

And what do we think the next month will hold for us? I imagine the reduced blue/green points will become painfully real in the next month, and we will plan our garden. And I'm sure we'll try at lease five other ways to cook cabbage.

In fact, sometimes I think the official title for the project should be: "Rational Living...or...50 Ways to Cook a Cabbage."

--Rational Mama


  1. I assume Sissy has long since consumed the birthday apples sent from Uncle Pom De Terre in California?

    Glad you guys have survived the first month.

    I can understand TMOTH's frustration, but am also not too surprised to hear the people don't get it. We are not a country/society that understand willing sacrifice. Particularly not on this scale.

    I for one admire greatly what you are doing and am as ever here to offer support as needed!

  2. Hey, we tried a new recipe on monday night.

    I'm not sure how many points it would take.

    We used lentils, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, peas and corn. Oh, and parsley.

    You could cut the peas and corn and that would leave you with seasonal veggies and lentils and you could substitute dried parsley for fresh. Or, I suppose you could leave it out altogether.

    We really liked the veggie pie!

  3. I love the alternate title--at least you still have your sense of humor! I totally get why you're doing this, and I think you are all a great example of what most of our society needs to get back in touch with--living simply and with what you need (and a few wants). I admire all the time you find to make this project work! I know it would kill me to do without fresh apples, too! I bet when your garden gets going and the farmers market re-opens in a few months, things will be looking up! Will you be canning?

  4. Thanks for all the encouragement and recipe ideas! Sissy is self-rationing the special supply of apples she received as a birthday present - she still has one left! And I've just about used up a special bunch of celery I bought because it was on mega-clearance since it wasn't fresh off the truck - I couldn't pass it up. Ah, the little joys in life...