Friends, I love my husband.
But first, a history lesson.
As complicated as rationing was in the U.S. during WWII there is no doubt that our allies across the pond had it much worse. Not only were U.K. rations much more restrictive and meager, but they experienced more frequent and lasting shortages (not to mention the bombings).
Their period of rationing was also significantly longer than that experienced in the U.S. Whereas U.S. rationing lasted for the better part of three years (roughly 1942 to 1945), rationing in the U.K. lasted a whopping 14 years (1940 to 1954). Of course, that could have been much shorter had the U.S. continued even a modest course of rationing and used the surplus to aid struggling allies in their post-war efforts. But I digress.
There's been some recent attention drawn to WWII rations in the U.K. by the reality TV show "The 1940s House" (you really should watch it if you haven't) and by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. There are also several examples of modern folks trying out the U.K. ration program (my favorite, of course, is On the Ration).
So it only seems fair that during our own year-long rationing program we honor those allies who had it much worse than us. I mean seriously honor them - not just go with a "Look, I made a Woolten Pie" kinda thing. Which is why a few weeks back I suggested to TMOTH that we give U.K. WWII rations a try for two weeks (one week seemed to easy).
And without much hesitation at all he said, "Okay."
Friends, I love my husband.
So from October 1st to October 15th we will be living on WWII civilian rations from the U.K. What will our rations be for that two week period? Well, just like the U.S., the U.K. rations changed a bit during the course of the War. What we will be following are roughly c. 1945 rations; not the lowest of the low but they're slim enough to make me a little nervous.
Now, I'm at the mercy of Internet sources for this list so please, readers in far distant lands, chime in if I've made any mistakes (Mr. Graham - I need your wisdom!).
Weekly Rations For a Family of Four
8 oz preserves
8 oz sweets
32 oz sugar
16 oz bacon/ham
16 oz margarine
8 oz loose tea
8 oz butter
8 oz lard
4 oz cheese
4 liters fresh milk (for the girls)
Enough milk power to make 4.8 pints
The meat ration fluctuated during the War but the figure I've found for 1942 was each person was allowed 1s,2d per week to purchase beef and/or pork. According to the inflation calculator, that would equate to 2.16 pounds today (sorry, my keyboard doesn't have the symbol for British pounds). Under the current exchange rate ($1.00 = .6417 pounds), that would equate to $3.36 per person, per week...or $13.44 per week to buy pork and/or beef for the family.
Fish was not rationed, nor were sausages - but sausages were hard to come by at times.Tinned Foods, Biscuits, Cereals and Misc.
These items were rationed on a point system and for our two week period we are allowed a total of 12 points. Mr. Graham was nice enough to post a run-down of point values on his blog.
Yes, even soap was rationed in the U.K. during the War. This includes soap for washing dishes, clothes, household areas and humans. We have four coupons per week to use on soap, and each coupon can buy one of the following:4 oz hard bar soap
3 oz toilet (scented) soap
1/2 oz liquid soap6 oz soft soap
3 oz soap flakes
6 oz soap powder
I've found an on-line source from which I can purchase soap flakes, so I'll be ordering them soon.
I find references to fuel (both heating and petrol) being rationed in the U.K. during the War, but I can't find any specific information. Can anyone help with this?
Of course, we won't be able to use any of our current cabinet or fuel tank contents during this two week period. It just wouldn't be fair to supplement our U.K. rations with U.S. rations.
We've haven't really laid this out for the girls yet, since the household has been a bit berserk in the rush to get it everything done before it went on the market. Maybe we'll allow them a few days of normalcy before we pop this on them.
And maybe I'll promise them my share of the sweets to get them through it.