Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Would YOU Do?

In general, most rationing points during WWII had an expiration date of the end of the month they were issued. So, for example, the points that became available for use during the month of May had to be used by May 31st. After that date the May points would be cursed by an evil witch and twisted into a horrible, homely representation of a point so hideous that no grocer nor butcher would consider accepting them. Or something like that.

Over the past few months we've lightened up our red points purchases quite a bit. Due to my rising cholesterol we've focused on returning to our family's general pattern of only eating meat at three to four dinners per week (and my cholesterol has gone down to a very happy level as a result) and we've been buying locally raised chicken, which is not rationed. Plus, with the early summer heatwave we've had the menu has been switching to lighter fare.

Thus, this week we had a dilemma: in addition to the 64 red points we have allotted for the week, there were an extra 24 red points left over from earlier in the month. What to do?

In the end we bought an extra bottle each of canola and olive olive oil, an extra pound of butter, an extra pound of cheese (extra-sharp cheddar) and one pound of bacon (BLT season is just around the corner!).

With the handy dandy chart in mind, what would you have done with roughly 35 extra red points to burn?

--Rational Mama


  1. The UK ration coupons could, in times of surplus, be used for other things. Margarine was to be rationed separately from butter, so early ration books had two sets of coupons. In reality, it went into surplus and came of the ration, so the coupons became clothing coupons when fabric was rationed. When it went back on to the ration, it was combined with the butter ration and butter coupons became coupons for butter and margarine - so not only did you need coupons, you needed to know that margarine coupons got you socks and butter coupons got you margarine! Also, the various "supply ministries" would extend the life of some coupons beyond the expiration date if there was a surplus, so May's margarine coupons could get you underwear in July. I think they were just playing with our minds.

    Meanwhile, we also had our "points" system, a supply of coupons that were unlabeled, for use on anything that was in short supply but not essential for the household: canned peaches and tomatoes, dried fruit and split peas, that sort of thing. You had 16 a month and could, I believe, roll them over for X number of months. The amount of points per item varied according to availability in that month, with prized items often going into the 30-odd points bracket (stuff like canned fruit) and unwanted items (like the feared "snoek" canned fish) being just the one or two.

    Points could also be used to buy more meat, eggs and cheese, if available, but it seems to have been a badge of pride for housewives (as it always was in those dark ages) to not spend points on coupon items if you can help it.

    All of this is a long way of saying: use your surplus points for stock items for the cupboard, things that will last and/or get you out of a muddle if you get a bad week from the dice in the near future. My (UK-style) points go on Spam and other canned meat and sandwich paste, generally: my own TMOTH can be sent to work happily with a box full of Spam sandwiches with ketchup on them and not notice that his margarine is spread so thin we've *clearly* run out of everything else!

  2. That is nuts, plain and simple! Most of what I bought was for stocking up (oils, in particular). I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that my fats coupons could turn in to shoe coupons - it's like some Tim Burton=esque Cinderella story.