Friday, December 24, 2010

Rational Top Ten

Can you believe it? Tomorrow is the last day of rationing! Since tomorrow will be filled with family gatherings and festivities we thought we'd highlight what we think are the top ten highlights from the rationing year (in no particular order).

Here goes!

1. Realizing, midway through the first month, that we had been allowing ourselves too many blue/green points. Like, 75% too many.

2. The recipes! Without the rationing project as an excuse there is no way we would have even dreamed of making jellied ham loaf or beef heart kabobs. The historic recipes have encompassed the good (nutburgers, victory pancakes), the bad (six layer dinner, full o'bologney, sausage loaf), and the ugly (hot cabbage slaw and...)

3. Liver. Really, even though it's an historic recipe and could be listed above it deserves a solitary mention. Nothing, nothing, we ate during the rationing year made the same impression as liver. If you've never read this post you really should.

Oh, thank goodness we didn't have to try this!

4. After a good four or five years of discussion we finally installed an attic (or whole house) fan. This was critical because of our decision to...

5. Sweat it out during the summer by not turning on the air conditioner in the house. It turned out to be one of the hottest summers in the past decade and even with the attic fan and other remedies (cool baths, oscillating fans, popsicles, etc.) we were miserable. Sticking to your sheets and running out of deodorant miserable. Eventually, we caved and turned on the air conditioner. In the end, this was probably the best decision because...

6. We learned that running the attic fan, ceiling fans and oscillating fans along with the dehumidifier used just as much energy as if we had run the air conditioner in the first place. So I guess you could say that sweating it out over a month of summer heat was a miserable but beneficial learning experience.

7. Local fruit. Man oh man, you just can't beat the fresh blackberries, apples, pears, strawberries and mulberries we munched on this summer. And we even have some extra blackberries in the freezer for the long winter months!

8. When a bottle of ketchup costs nearly half of a week's worth of rationing points, nothing says "Suck it, rationing system!" quite like making your own ketchup. Let's face it - ketchup is not a necessity, it's a luxury. Having the ability to make your own (and control the ingredients) is definitely a guilty pleasure. I don't know if we'll ever buy commercially-prepared ketchup again.

9. Having regular commentators from the all across the United States, the U.K. (especially you, Mr. Graham), Eastern Europe, Canada and visits (per traffic reports) from every continent except Antarctica made Rational Living a truly international community. Kinda seems fitting since the real-life scenarios the project was based on included an international community as well.

10. Even with all the planning required by the rationing project and the huge learning curve experienced in the first few months, no other micro-project during the rationing year was harder that the week we followed U.K. rations. The plan was actually to go two weeks on U.K. rations but the meager servings and food limitations (along with nearly constant hunger complaints from the girls) made us cave at the end of the first week. That week was actually a big turning point for the project, as it really hit home that our voluntary, meager rations (and hunger) were choices for us, whereas plenty on this earth have less than that due to circumstances beyond their control.

And, of course...reader feedback on the blog always made our day. This project wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if we didn't have the helpful and insightful comments from YOU. Thanks for sticking with us through the entire project. This blog will continue on, but we're not quite sure as to the content and form. Stay tuned.

So, are there any other scenarios that we missed that you would have included in a top ten?

--With Love, from the Rational Living family


  1. Many congratulations on a successful rationing year. You should be very proud of your committment and follow through. Many would not have been able to see such a project (project seems such a small word to describe the magnitude, but I can't come up with a better word right now.) through to the end. Happy Holidays!

  2. At this point, I just wanted to say that in the last three days I've read every single entry on your blog up to this present one. Thank you SO much for putting this out on the internet. It's been a fantastic experience to "share" with you, and a really inspiring project. Your writing has always been honest, soul-searching, witty and entertaining, as well as educational.

    Thank you!

    Gill, Edinburgh, UK.