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Living with wartime rationing – the after thoughts

So if you have followed our one week rationing journey you will have seen that we did pretty well eating on rations.  We didn’t starve, we ate healthy, and I actually lost about 1/2kg. It has inspired me to continue eating the wartime way.

But it was only for one week. I had a store of food in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, chickens in the backyard and some fruit and veg growing In the garden. What I didn’t have, as wartime women would have experienced, was the following – 

  • Blackouts and restrictions that went with that;
  • War work, different work to my normal routine that could have involved travelling a long way;
  • Shortages, such as paper, toilet paper, food, fuel and queuing;
  • An outside toilet;
  • Carrying a gas mask;
  • Extra child evacuees, to look after and feed;
  • Fear – of bombings, air raids, gas attack, invasion or death of a loved one.

 

1940ss tips to conquer fear

1940ss tips to conquer fear

  
What I did have that makes modern life so much easier –

  • A washing machine
  • Hot running water
  • An inside bathroom  and toilet
  • A fridge and freezer
  • An electric stove and oven
  • A car and fuel to run it
  • A husband at home
  • Children at home, who are (reasonably) safe
  • Easy communication with phone and email
  • Instant access to recipes and books online
  • Television
  • A coffee machine

What we did before delonghi

Now I don’t want to give up all of my mod cons, but I am happy to go back to wartime food. It was cheap, filling and basic, and it was healthy. Sometimes I felt I used too much fat, but there were no hidden fats in war time cooking – any fat we ate was honest , as was the sugar. I knew what was in every morsel. There were no suspect food additives that I couldn’t pronounce – my bread, unlike supermarket bread, or McDonalds bread, contained flour, yeast, oil, orange juice, salt and water, my roast potatoes just potatoes and dripping and my eggs were from my own wheat and bug fed chickens! And although we did eat some nitrates ( the suddenly newest baddest carcinogen) in our bacon, the amount of bacon we ate was small compared to the modern standard diet.

I now want to make even more from scratch. Like making butter from cream, yoghurt and cheese from milk and growing more of our own (pesticide free) vegetables. I spent the morning putting up a new fence for the poultry and extending my vegetable growing area, and in the cool of the afternoon I planted seedlings that I had grown.

The ducks and chooks in their new enclosure, under the coffeebush and mango tree

The ducks and chooks in their new enclosure, under the coffeebush and mango tree. The black hose comes from the washing machine and waters the bananas

 
Back in my 20s, prekids but wanting to make the planet better before having any, I was an Eco- greenie- vegetarian warrior. Somewhere over the last twenty years I’ve become a middle aged-too busy-have money can buy guzzler. That’s about to change! I hope you’ll follow the journey, as well as stay around for more history and wartime bits and pieces.

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About thewartimewoman

I love history, fashion, art and design, especially of the 1930s to the 1960s. I am also a mother, wife, interior decorator & a treasure hunter who wishes she could drive a 1933 Delage. I studied Architecture at Melbourne university, briefly, and completed a Diploma of Art in Interior Design at the Melbourne College of Decoration in 1991. I have worked on an off as a decorator ever since, in between stints as a florist, balloon artist, having my five children and helping my husband in his law firm. in my spare time I love researching history, blogging and gardening.

4 responses »

  1. Absolutely staying around to follow your journey. I’d like to do something the same but would find it a little more difficult as I live in inner Melbourne and have no yard for planting a vegie garden or keeping livestock. Hens in apartments are frowned upon, who’d have thought it? But you have inspired me to look into how those living in flats during WWII and even post-war lived under rationing.

    Reply
    • I started in a flat in Kensington 25 years ago with a resident cat, a dog from Lort Smith and some pots of herbs! A community garden was just starting up when we moved. I do remember hearing of some flat dwellers in London who had meat rabbits in cages…I’ll try and find out more. Thanks for reading and I am glad I have inspired you!

      Reply
  2. I was born in 1942, and we were very fortunate that both set of grandparents had small farms. There were always eggs, and fresh veggies. The thing that strikes me most is that chicken was not rationed as not many people cared for it. If you took fried chicken off American tables today, an awful lot of folks would starve to death!

    Sugar, of course, was strictly rationed. My grandfather worked for the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and one evening a bag of sugar split while they were unloading it from a car. The men scooped up the sugar from the bare earth and put it into anything they could find – lunch boxes, paper sacks, one man even took off his hat and filled it with sugar! My absolute earliest memory is standing between my grandmother’s knees, watching while she “shimmied” a bowl of sugar back and forth to bring the specks of dirt to the top. With each bit she removed from the dish, a few grains of sugar came along, so she had a small bowl of speckled sugar. That was what they put in their coffee; the dirt settled to the bottom and you never knew it was there.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing! Yes, chicken is the same here, it was a once a week or month thing and often only those who raised their own ate them my family now would eat chicken every night if I let them!
      Australia is thinking of putting a higher tax on sugar to reduce consumption – maybe not a bad idea as I think it is something we have Dar too much of now, whereas it should be a luxury, just like during the war. We don’t use much in our family, and we live in a sugar can growing area!

      Reply

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