We’ve reached the last day of our war ration experiment!
I think it has really made us appreciate meat and dairy foods in particular. As we’ve seen, British wartime meat rations were much smaller than the Australian version, about 1/2lb a week compared to 2 1/2lb, and if we had been in the UK I definitely would have kept backyard rabbits and chickens, and been part of a pig club.
People in towns had kept backyard pigs for hundreds of years, but in the spirit of wartime ratioing, the government encouraged groups of people to form clubs, to buy, feed and look after pigs. The pigs were fed mostly with scraps from homes, cafés, bakeries, and anything edible that came to hand. Clubs were also allowed to legally purchase small rations of feed or corn.
Pigs, and dairy goats, are definatley on my ‘one day” list!
After a bowl of rebated brown rice, with 1 teaspoon of sugar and coconut milk ( the girls used the last of our milk in lasts night pudding) I dropped the kids to school and popped into the supermarket for milk and cream. With my new wartime woman focused eyes, I also grabbed enough meat for seven meals, and some yoghurt –
All for under $30!
My grandmothers would be proud! As a special treat I cooked my husband the lambs fry for lunch, (baked liver, from 1940, below) as the kids would have to be starving to eat it. I have only cooked it once before, and that put me off, but this recipe says to soak it in water for half an hour first, which does make it much more like normal meat and easier to deal with.
I let the bacon get a little too crispy, but I was baking bread at the same time. It was surprisingly good, and fantastic for under $2! The cats loved the raw and cooked liver too, so I will be buying more for pet food too. I hope the kids enjoyed their tomato sandwiches today!
Instead of another mince meal for dinner, I decided on fish, the traditional Friday food, and not rationed.Last time I used frozen white fish fillets they were tough, so it seemed sense to make a stew from them. I found this recipie for fish curry from another Ministry of Food Leaflet (about using leftovers).
Not quite the type of curry we are used to but not bad, although the sultanas were something new in a curry for the kids. Instead of salad I added cabbage to the curry.
Let’s see how we did. Remember the rations for one week for one adult?
- · Bacon & Ham 4 oz/113 grams
- · Meat to the value of 1 shilling and sixpence (around about 1/2 lb/227gm minced beef, in Australia it was 2 1/4 lb from January 1944 to 1948 and fish, rabbit, poultry and organ meat were not rationed)
- · Butter 2 oz/ 57 grams (Australians got 1/2 lb from June 1943 to 1950)
- · Cheese 2 oz/ 57 grams
- · Margarine 4 oz/113 grams
- · Cooking fat 4 oz/113 grams
- · Milk 3 pints/1.7 litres
- · Sugar 8 oz/227g (1 lb week in Australia from August 1942)
- · Preserves/Jam 1 lb every 2 months/ one 230gm jar a month
- · Tea 2 oz// 57 grams (1/2 lb per 5 weeks in Australia from July 1942)
- · Eggs 1 fresh egg per week
- · Sweets/Candy 12 oz/340g every 4 weeks
For five of us we used –
- Bacon – 5 rashers Sunday, 5 rashers Thursday, 2 today, total 12 oz UNDER!
- Meat – 500gm kangaroo (unrationed), 2kg/4 lb lamb shoulder, 500gm/1 lb mince SLIGHTLY OVER FOR UK, UNDER FOR AUSTRALIA
- Butter – 250gm/8oz UNDER but only because we ran out, would have used more
- Cheese – under 1 1/2 cups grated from a block, and a few slices, about 250gm/9 oz UNDER
- Margarine – we used olive oil, about 2 cups
- Cooking fat – only dripping that we collected from the roast, and we still have a cup left
- Milk – grownups about 1 glass a day and kids 2-3 cups each – would have used our full rations SAME
- Sugar – Started with one 1kg bag and have 280 gm left so used 720gm/ 25 oz so far UNDER the 40oz allowed, although we did use about 100 ml of maple/golden syrup as well.
- Preserves – used almost 1/3 a jar of Jan
- Tea – about 10 teaspoons at 1 Gm per spoon UNDER but about 250 Gm coffee
- Eggs – 6, and always in something not as a meal, and we have chooks laying two eggs a day EQUAL
- Sweets – two one hundred Gm blocks 70% cocoa chocolate, And the kids had about 100gm starburst, so UNDER
To be honest we did have a bottle of wine and a few beers too, but I think we did pretty well. We certainly ate a lot more salad than usual, even the kids, and we used a lot less meat, butter and cheese than usual.
I think with keeping our own ducks and chickens we could even keep our dog and cats fed, as they get mainly leftovers and unrationed meat. On the outbreak of war, 750,000 pets were slaughtered in Britain in one week, as a patriotic, and slightly misguided, action encouraged by the government. You can read more here.
Thanks for joining us on our ratioing experiment. I hope it’s encouraged you to try some new, or old, foods and recipes, and to think a bit about being prepared. For what the future may bring. I’ll share some more thoughts about what our experiment has meant, and how it’s changed us a little, soon.