Spring is here (allegedly) and it’s time for a fresh challenge on the frugal life blog. Many of you may be aware that 2010 marks the 70th anniversary of the start of rationing during World War Two. To mark the occasion, I am challenging myself to live on the equivalent of WW2 rations and find out more about other forms of rationing around the world.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Imperial War Museum in London is currently running an exhibition about rationing and the Dig for Victory Campaign called the Ministry of Food. You may remember that I also recently interviewed Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, mother of Hugh and author of the exhibition’s accompanying book, also entitled The Ministry of Food . Reading the book, I was surprised to find a few comparisons between life during the war and life during the credit crunch. While obviously we are no longer at war and living in fear of bombing raids or invasion, people nowadays are becoming more interested in where their food comes from, cutting waste and in growing their own vegetables.
Plus, rightly or wrongly, media commentators have drawn parallels between the post-war ‘austerity years’ in the late forties and early fifties, when Britain was paying off its war debts, and the current economic problems due to the UK’s debt mountain following the banking crisis. Some people, including the author Philip Pullman, have even called on the government to reintroduce rationing to prevent food wastage and reduce obesity and other lifestyle-related illnesses.
When we think of the concept of rationing, many of us automatically think of Britain’s experience of it during World War Two. But rationing isn’t something that’s exclusive to the UK. For many years there has been a rationing system in operation in Cuba, although there were rumours recently that it may be abolished, and food was frequently rationed – often severely – in Soviet Russia.
This was a typical weekly adult ration in Britain during the Second World War:
Bacon & ham – 4 oz (113.4g)
Butter – 2 oz (56.7g)
Cheese – 2 oz (56.7g)
Margarine – 4 oz (113.4g)
Cooking fat – 4 oz (113.4g) (often dropping to 2 oz)
Milk – 3 pints (but not always)
Sugar – 8 oz (227g)
Preserves – 1lb every two months (453.6g)
Tea – 2 oz (56.7g)
Eggs – one shell egg a week if available
Dried eggs – one pack per month (equivalent to 12 eggs)
Sweets – 12 oz a month (340g)
Meat – 1 shilling’s worth
(source = The Ministry of Food by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall)
I’ll let you know later in the week how I’m getting on!
Have you experienced food rationing, whether during World War Two in the UK or abroad? Do you think we should bring it back for environmental or health reasons? Leave a message and let me know.
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