1943 Rations for Lent 2023 – supplemental

I am running this project as a pensioner, living alone. I am married but my wife is not participating, so sometimes we share a meal and I account for my half. As a pensioner I do not benefit from a works canteen that might have provided my main lunchtime meal.

Nonetheless I might have walked to a nearby “British Restaurant” for a cheap, filling meal. These restaurants were set up specifically for that purpose. When I was a child in the 1950s my first school was in the premises of a former British Restaurant.

Thus I am starting with a bigger challenge than many would have had in the 1940s.

I will of course be fulfilling my Home Guard, ARP or Fire-watching duties at night, so I need to eat heartily!

1943 Rations for Lent 2023: week 2 day 2

Monday, 27th February 2023

I started the day with a bowl of porage (sic) oats, made up with milk and water, and the customary mug of tea. Lunch was somewhat different, being a salad of the cauliflower leaves and stalks left over from Saturday’s dinner with half a raw leek and a raw carrot, all sliced small. To this I added a tin of sardines which I reckon as one ration point (a tin of fish in 1943 was two points, but this is about half the size).

Actually very tasty.

My evening meal was a pre-prepared root vegetable, mushroom and faggot stew made last week, to which I added some sliced steamed savoy cabbage and the rest of the leek, also steamed. I followed this with an apple for dessert.

One thing I am learning is that when you buy fresh vegetables, unless cooking for a family you must be prepared for a degree of sameness with your meals for a few days.

1943 Rations for Lent 2023. Week 2 Day 1.

Sunday, 26th February 2023

Although I had planned to have a roast joint for Sunday dinner and use the leftovers during the week, this did not end up happening. So what did I eat during the day?

Breakfast was toast with more of my sister’s home-made blackberry marmalade and tea. For lunch I ate a couple of rye crackers, one with 1/4 oz. of my 4 oz> ham and bacon ration, the other with a “scrape” of marmite. I also had a Braeburn apple as part of lunch, and tea.

For dinner we each had a 4 oz. pork loin with parmentier potatoes and brussels sprouts. The meat accounted for £1.10 of my £3.20 weekly allowance. I followed this with another apple and later four squares of dark chocolate (about 5% of my weekly ration). During the day I drank five cups of tea, using three tea bags, and one pint of bottled beer (alcohol free).

As we ate dinner a “National Loaf” was brewing in the bread-making machine. It saves going to the bakers.

Axis and Allies WW2. Update

During my other “stuff to do” I have been slowly progressing with my Axis and Allies campaign. Since I last posted about this, China has taken its first turn and the UK has started, beginning with the European theatre. China was restricted by having no industrial facility, thus had to build some production facilities in Szechuan. No other action was possible.

The UK historically had made RAF strikes on German shipping and begun the hunt for the Graf Spee and Prinz Eugen, having failed to do anything at all about Poland. Four divisions had been moved to France.

In game terms, Britain launched an air strike by carrier-borne tactical bombers and fighters against the cruiser in the North Atlantic (zone 124) from the carrier in the Scottish North Sea (zone 111). No hits were scored by either side. The British aircraft broke off the attack and returned home.

One Tank and one Mechanised infantry unit were shipped to Normandy/Bordeaux, using transports sent south from the Scottish North Sea to the North Sea/Channel area (zone 110). A destroyer was sent to protect the transports. The damaged battleship at scapa Flow was repaired and new units deployed in England: 1 strategic bomber, 1 fighter and 2 infantry.

Next: The UK in the Far East.

1943 Rations for Lent 21023. Day 4.

25th February 2023

In yesterday’s post I detailed the groceries we bought in preparation for this week. This post is about the progress in sticking to the ration diet.

Breakfast was a mug of tea with two rounds of whole meal toast with a “scrape” of vegetable spread and some rather nice blackberry marmalade made by my sister in 2018. I had to throw the strawberry jam which I opened last November as it was somewhat fuzzy on top. The new confection tastes of blackberries with a hint of orange.

For lunch I had two rye crisp breads, spread thinly and accompanied by 1/2 oz. of thinly sliced ham and the same of thinly sliced cheese, followed by an apple and a mug of tea.

For dinner we each had half the cauliflower with a medium-sized potato, boiled in its skin, and seasoning. The cauliflower stem and leaves I kept for another meal. I ate the last of the 21st century fruit yogurts. I am now free from food that would not have been available in 1943.

In summary, since starting the project last Wednesday, in four days I have consumed:

Tea: 8 teabags of the 140 allowed for the 40 days. Within budget. Yogurts: 4, (to clear -substitute for milk or custard). Muesli: 1 bowl (to clear – substitute for oats). Tomatoes: 4. Wholemeal bread: 10 slices. Potatoes: 2 large, 1 medium. Eggs: 1 fresh, fried. Ham: 1 3/4 oz., sliced. Cheese: 1/2 oz,, sliced. Meat Pie: 1, half my weekly meat ration. Rye crackers: 2 (@ 1 point per packet). Mackerel: 1 small tin (1 point), saving the oil for cooking. Milk: 1 pint. Apples: 3. Pears: 1. Cauliflower: 1/2. Beer: 1 pint.

Allowing myself 6 points for the 7 days of February covered, I have used only 2 so far. I have 24 points for food for each calendar month. On Sunday I start counting the first full week and will be strictly adhering to the scheme with the only substitute being vegetable spread in place of butter and margarine combined. As for other fats, I am using lard for frying and saving what can be drained from the pan afterwards for future use.

I am enjoying the challenge and hope I can keep it up. A “National Loaf” is currently baking in the kitchen, and that’s the best thing since sliced bread!

1943 Rations for Lent 2023. Day 3

24th February 2023

Another successful day yesterday, still eating up leftovers. I started as usual with a mug of tea, but skipped breakfast. For “brunch” I enjoyed my weekly egg, fried in lard, saving the excess lard from the pan for future use. This I had with two rounds of whole meal toast and 3/4 oz. of sliced ham and another mug of tea.

The evening meal was a jacket potato with the last of our jar of Christmas chutney and the final tomato. Dessert was a sliced apple with the penultimate yogurt.

25th February 2023

We went grocery shopping this morning. An interesting experience, compared with the usual: “I fancy that” mode. Knowing I have sufficient cheese and ham I eschewed those counters. The Memsahib had no such compunctions. I kept looking at products and saying: “It’s German/Italian/Spanish”.

We ended up with the following haul to add to the stock at home for sharing: a cauliflower, a savoy cabbage, three leeks, four large potatoes and eight apples (the apples are mine). The Memsahib also found some sprouts and sliced chicken reduced to clear.

The intention was that we would use the vegetables with a joint from the freezer for Sunday, so that the leftovers could be used through the week, but when returning home the plan inexplicably changed. With a choice of beef, lamb or pork, the Memsahib decided to do a steak instead. Depending on the size of said steak I may need to refuse some or make economies elsewhere. I shall also have to sort out something else for next week’s meals.

This project is clearly going to be easier to stick to during the week when I am mainly catering for myself than at weekends! I must stay strong.

1943 Rations for Lent 2023. Day 2

23rd February 2023

I only had a couple of mugs of tea for breakfast.  Lunch was a meat pie from the freezer with some cabbage.  I am counting this as half of my meat ration for the week.  Meat, other than ham or bacon, was restricted in 1943 to 1s2d worth per week (about £3 eighty years later) The other half was used earlier this week on some pork faggots for use in five portions of stew which are now in the freezer.

   The cabbage was from a frozen pack, but this weekend I intend to buy some seasonal fresh vegetables, based on a meal plan for next week that I must compose today.

   My evening meal was two slices of wholemeal toast, thinly spread, and a large sliced tomato.  Tomatoes are on ration in February 2023, but were not in 1943.  Mine are locally grown.  I finished this off with a sliced pear in yogurt.  As I have mentioned before the yogurt is a modern item that needs to be eaten up, so I rationalised it as custard.  By next week I expect to have cleared the modern stuff and be eating pure 1940s.

   Today I think I will treat myself to my weekly egg.  I have dried egg in the cupboard which gives me a more generous ration, but fresh eggs in the refrigerator. 

1943 rations for Lent 2023

22nd February 2023
I started the day with two mugs of tea, made with the same teabag.  I don’t know why I am economising this way, because I have 140 teabags in my monthly ration, but I did it anyway, to get into the spirit of rationing myself.

   Breakfast was a compromise between 2023 and 1943.  I have some foods that need to be eaten or wasted which would not have been available in 1943.  Thus breakfast was a bowl of the last of my muesli with fruit yogurt instead of the period porage oats (sic) with milk.

   For lunch I had two tomatoes, locally grown, sliced with pepper and vinegar.  Later I treated myself to three slices of home-made brown bread to use up the loaf * as what my father would have called “Bread and Scrape”.  Butter (or in my case vegetable spread) was spread across the bread and then scraped off again, leaving a thin covering.

   *I later discovered “Wheaties”.  Stale bread baked in the oven and served with milk in place of breakfast cereal.  That’s an experiment for later.

In the evening my wife (who is not joining in to the letter, but in spirit), and I each had a jacket potato. Mine with a small tin of mackerel (counting one point on my ration table of the six allowed for this week), hers with some delicious cheese and onion mix from Sainsburys. I overindulged in the fish, which should have been enough for two meals, but the oil they were packed with saved the use of butter on the potato.

   I then enjoyed a pint of alcohol-free “Doom Bar” bitter, which was most satisfactory.

   A note on another compromise between 1943 and 2023.  I am making use of my freezer for this project, but with the justification that in one session I cook several meals for one person, not one meal for several, as would have been more normal in 1943.

WW2 Rations for lent. D-Day. Acceptable alternatives.

Today is the first day of my project to live on the rations available to the British in 1943 for the duration of lent, and donate to Prostate Cancer UK. Naturally I am not starting from the same point as someone in February 1943, in that I have a well stocked larder, fridge and freezer. Since rationing was partly about not wasting food I will need to make some compromises with what I have.

For example, in my refrigerator I have, nominally my food as opposed to my wife’s purchases for herself: 250g lard bought for the project, 6 eggs [to share] (6 weeks ration for one person), half a jar of home-made jam (must check if still usable), about a pint of milk, 4 fruit yogurts (not seen until the late 1960s), 115g (about 4 oz.) of sliced ham (2 weeks’ ration), 150g sliced chicken (about 5 oz., but unheard of at the time), about 12 oz. Red Leicester cheese (6 weeks’ ration but less than my normal weekly intake) I also have 4 large, out of season but locally grown, tomatoes.

For my breakfast this morning I had the remains of a packet of Muesli and a yogurt – both out of period. I am counting this as an acceptable alternative to a bowl of porage oats with milk. Our next shop will include porage oats at (as far as I can determine) 2 points per pound, from my 32 points allowance per month.

I also had two mugs of tea, using the same tea bag for both. I am allowed about 3.5 teabags per day, but there is no point in wasting them. In 1943 I would have made a pot of tea and had two or three cups while it was warm.

For lunch I intend to use one or two of the tomatoes with some herbs, pepper and vinegar. Dinner will probably be the last portion of “Woolton Pie” that I made last November and is now in the freezer. This is a vegetable concoction. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I have five meals of pork faggots and vegetable stew in the freezer too. The freezer is a luxury for our 1943 family, but I am not eating as a family.

As for the ham, chicken and cheese in the fridge, I will probably need to find a recipe to cook and freeze before they go off. I have three books to consult for recipes, and the excellent blog 1940s experiment

More news tomorrow. By the way blokes, if you have not already done so, get your prostate checked. Don’t die of embarrassment. http://www.prostatecanceruk.org