Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Rules for the Year

 


This is the build up to my Year of Modern Rationing.  What does that mean exactly you are no doubt thinking ... well it's taken me some time to work out the basics of what I intend to do.  

In the past I have had a month of  wartime rations, using virtually all of the rationed foods that were available to the people of the Great Britain throughout the war years.  It's hard to set things in stone for one month let alone one year, as throughout the Second World War the food rations varied from year to year, month to month and in some cases week to week.

As an island nation what foodstuffs could get through the blockades to our shores was reliant on the ships of the Merchant Navy with their holds filled with supplies from overseas and the brave souls that manned them, and of course the Royal Navy ships and the Royal Air Force pilots that protected them and hopefully ensured safe passage.  

We relied on what could be grown by farmers, their families and the girls of the Land Army on farms all over the British Isles, as well as what could be grown closer to home in the back and occasionally front gardens or yards that once may have held flowers and lawns, but which were quickly dug up and then contained rows of potatoes, vegetables and in many cases a pen of chickens.  Food was also grown by families on allotments that were both pre-existing and the land that had been voluntarily offered up or commandeered in parks and countryside spaces. 

With all that in mind and after reading about fluctuations in supplies etc to pick a single year of the wartime is a bit hit and miss, and in doing a Challenge for a full year I therefore had to make myself a set of rules.  My first thought was to pick a single year of the war and just run with that, and indeed for most of the weights and measures I have done just that, but to make this sustainable, achievable and give it a vegan and modern slant and make it healthy and interesting for both me and my readers I decided after much deliberation on a set of rules that I will stay with, hopefully for the full year.

The first stage of rationing was to register with your local grocer and butcher.  Once chosen unless something drastic happened you stayed with them throughout the years of the war.  You bought your vegetables and limited fruit, when any was available, from the greengrocers and also when available your sweet treats from the newsagents or confectioners.  


You could shop at markets for what was available ... but the black market was frowned upon!!

The shop I have chosen for my main shopping after much deliberation is Booths.

Why not Aldi or Sainsbury's I hear you asking?  Well I decided that between Booths and the weekly street market I should be able to provide for myself for the full year.  It's not the cheapest of supermarkets, but it is within walking distance and does sell a good mix of the foods that I eat and the  widest range of the vegetables that I will need and that I can buy not wrapped in plastic.


So that's my shop chosen ... I wonder what they will say when I turn up with my Ration Book 😀

The next step is to work out the foods that I will be buying from it and how often, and most importantly the amounts that they would come in per week, per month and in a couple of cases bi-monthly.


Sue xx






28 comments:

  1. That sounds like a very complicated project, at first anyway. Once the ins and outs are sorted, it will be more workable and it sounds really very interesting. I'm looking forward to reading how it all goes.
    xx

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    1. I agree it does seem complicated at first, but I think once I get into it it will all start to make sense and become like second nature. Of course I have the added advantage that my rules and restrictions will stay in force for the whole Challenge and will not chop and change as it did for those that had rations imposed on them during the Second world War, so I should get used to things pretty quickly.

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  2. Freezer for fats, cheeses comes in handy. We didn’t have access to lose versions of those, so divided and froze the spare for each week. Been watching Channel 5 Wartime Christmas, so disappointing. Family may as well not been there. Obviously all filmed at once as they never changed clothes. Basically a weird documentary.

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    1. Oh all the mod conveniences are going to come in very handy, hence me giving this year a 'Modern' twist. Being on my own for the rations and already having foods in means that obviously I will be shopping the cupboards and freezer for a while and then having to buy replacements in the sizes they come in at the shops, so the cheese ration for example will be weighed out and frozen for the weeks ahead.

      Yes I was a bit disappointed in the Wartime Christmas, but there were a lots of interesting facts. Although most of which I already have access to though as the two main commentators Mike Brown and Carol Harris, have written a good percentage of the books I have. It seemed as though it had been put together quite quickly to make us happier about this years lockdown Christmas, and yes I noticed the family were all wearing the same clothes throughout!!

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  3. Looking forward to this challenge Sue. I think we have become so used to having all the food we want when we want it. I will be trying to simplify my diet for the new year whilst keeping it vegan and healthy. Best of British luck to you, you are so inspirational in using what you have in so many ways. Tam x

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    1. What a lovely comment, thank you.

      I will be doing the best I can as I learn more and more about this. I see a year with lots of reading and watching of wartime films and series ... for educational purposes you understand ;-)

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  4. I think having the restriction of only using one supermarket is too much and not necessary. They didn't have supermarkets in those days only several independent family businesses so why not just shop where you can and keep the restrictions to the actual rations? That would be enough of a challenge, only eating from the rations allowed. I'm interested to see how this goes and no doubt will use some of your recipes as I'm setting myself a healthier eating year but also a necessary very frugal one due to altered circumstances.
    That certainly won't include Booths which is akin to Waitrose!

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    1. My reasons for choosing as I have:

      I chose Booths as it is the biggest supermarket where I live and the one with the widest range of vegetables available loose and also stocks the vegan alternatives that I use. The Sainsbury's here is tiny, carries hardly any vegan alternatives and has a disappointing fresh food section AND will be further away once I move into my new home and I intend to mostly walk to the shops for my supplies. I will be using Aldi ... which is next door to Booths ... for the items I will be buying 'on points' as they are much cheaper there, but I really want to take the lure of the centre aisles out of my life, so seeing them once a month will be fine.

      You might think that Booths is akin to Waitrose and in some things they are, but here they sell mostly locally produced fruits and vegetables which will help me to see what is in season in my area.

      Also they have a nice Café upstairs, which once it re-opens (if it does when we change tier) I can treat this as my British Restaurant and occasionally have a coffee and a snack outside the flat.

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  5. All sounds fascinating, I shall be reading with interest.

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    1. All the reading that I have been doing really has been fascinating and planning the year ahead has been great. I have worked out my mindset for the year and chosen carefully the shops etc (see above) so it has been a little bit all consuming, but now I can't wait to get started ... I'll just eat some of the Christmas chocolate up first ;-)

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  6. I truly admire all the research that you do for your challenges - it will be very interesting to follow along. I would imagine that it will be tougher to stay within allotments being vegan. How will you manage things like vegan cheese or soy milk? Will you just count them as though they were non vegan products?
    I'm not about to go to rationing levels but I am hoping to simplify things a bit in the new year and I do want to have more vegetarian meals. This year has been rather overwhelming and even though I normally enjoy cooking I have to admit that I'm a wee bit tired of it and I do need to lose weight so I'm hoping that going to smaller and simpler meals will also help with that.
    You alway shave something interesting on the go Sue - good luck!

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    1. My further and modern vegan twists will be shown on tomorrows post. I managed to work it out after much deliberation about how to go about things, I did a lot of pondering about how to keep this enjoyable for myself (and readers) for the year, so I do hope it does work out.

      I think I always have something on the go because I need to keep my brain ticking over and planning seems to do that, perhaps even more so this year as the planning has been a very welcome distraction.

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  7. I had so much chocolate for Christmas that I'm prepared to sell it to you on the black market!! (Trouble is it isn't vegan)

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    1. Sue ... how quickly you have turned into a black market 'spiv'. I am appalled at your under-counter activity!! ;-)

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  8. Thanks for replying, as you'd said "not Aldi or Sainsburys" it seemed you would use only Booths. Do you have the smaller independent grocers or greengrocers in your area? They're usually good for unwrapped seasonal produce.
    I hadn't heard of the "British Restaurants" so asked my elderly Mum, she's got a brilliant memory for her age, she said they were known as "communal feeding centres" and were to feed the poor or those who had their homes bombed, they provided a hot meal. She said they were always associated with the poorer people. Perhaps our modern day equivalent are the Food Banks.

    Enjoy your treats in Booths café, I visited one last year and their avocado on sourdough toast was divine! Sadly avocado won't be on your list, we do take for granted all the "exotic" things we didn't use to have.

    Is there one particular recipe book that you could recommend as being good for basic recipes that are frugal and easy, preferably vegetarian and for one person.

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    1. No there are no independent grocers or greengrocers, Booths is in fact the nearest to this being still a family owned business and does have locally produced, seasonal unwrapped fruits and vegetables available all year round. https://www.booths.co.uk/

      Yes British Restaurants were briefly known as 'communal feeding centres' but this was very quickly changed when it was realised that it had poor connotations. They were used to feed people that had no cooking facilities, maybe after being bombed out or after gas supplies were turned off for safety after an air raid, but also for workers whose place of work had no staff canteen. Anyone could use them to buy a fixed price 'off ration' meal and hot drink at any time during opening hours and they quickly became somewhere that, if you could afford to go, you were assured of a balanced meal and a break from cooking and washing of pots. So although you Mum's memories are partly right, what started out this way quickly became more like cafes and were used by all classes of people ... most definintely NOT an equivalent to food banks, which are stores of up to a week's supply of food handed out to those that need them for use at home and for which you usually need to obtain a voucher.

      Sadly avocado is never on my list as I am extremely allergic to avocados. One of my best books for recipes is sadly at the flat and I cannot for the life of me think of the name of it, possibly 'We'll Eat Again or 'The Wartime Kitchen', both by Marguerite Patten. Most wartime recipes can easily be converted to vegetarian as the predominate ingredients were nearly always vegetables and any small amounts of meat can easily be missed out.

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    2. My Mum's memories were correct, it was me that made the comment about Food Banks.

      Ok so they weren't exactly like Food Banks - is it necessary to tell someone by shouting NOT. I'm not a child to be admonished by someone with an attitude.

      I'll leave you to it, there are two other bloggers that I've discovered who are setting up the same annual challenge, with a more gentle attitude.

      GOODBYE - shouted loud enough to make your ears hurt.

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    3. You took my NOT in totally the wrong context, capital letters can also be used in place of italics when they are not available to use in comments and comment answers for instance.

      I didn't say your Mum's memories were incorrect just partly right.

      I am pleased you have found two bloggers that are also doing the same Challenge this year and would love to know who they are. But hey you won't be reading this as you have yelled at me and stopped reading my blog. Which by the way is MY blog and my readers know I have an attitude and do not suffer or allow rude comments

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    1. Brilliant, so am I :-)

      If you wish to continue commenting as Unknown, will you please sign off with your first name, thanks.

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  10. I wonder what they will say when I turn up with my Ration Book

    In a pre-Covid world, I think they would have embraced you and probably been really interested in your year. Our nearest is Keswick and I am afraid I have got out of the habit of shopping there . . . perhaps something I should rectify in 2021? Very much looking forward to your project, I am sure there is much we could all learn from taking a different approach to provisioning.

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    1. I first shopped at Booths in Ulverston, Cumbria and learned so much more about them as a store when my best friend at the time became a Till Supervisor for them. They are a really good store, they look after their staff well and treat their suppliers fairly, and I am happy that they are now one of my nearest supermarkets and one that I am really happy to support ...ration book at the ready or not.

      I think the beauty of a shop that sells local produce alongside usual brands ... even if they charge slightly more for things ... is that you shop for what you NEED rather than being lured into buying what the shop wants you to buy by having special offers.

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  11. I am looking forward to your challenge, Sue. You do put a lot of work into planning to make it interesting. BTW, there is an older vegan cookbook for singles. It's called "The Single Vegan" by Leah Leneman, published in 1989. She gives a day-by-day menu with recipes. She even tells how to use leftovers. Happy New year, Sue. Ann M. who was in Virginia, but now lives in Florida.

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    1. The planning does make things interesting AND helps to get my brain in gear for a Challenge. Ooh you are naughty telling me about a book I haven't got .. temptation 😃🤣

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    2. Hahaha! There's always another book we book lovers want, isn't there? After I wrote that comment, I learned that there is a new version of the book, but I think I still like the old one best. the recipes in it are simpler. Have a good day! Ann M

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    3. Books really are my weakness ... but you know that don't you!!

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  12. Ulverston Booths is such a lovely store! Good luck with your challenge Sue and thank you for bringing us all along with you. Pam x

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    1. The Ulverston store is a lovely branch and in a great setting. We were all thrilled when it opened. The Garstang branch is a similar size, a little bit newer and with a lovely large café on the first floor overlooking the aisles of food. Just the place for an allowable coffee and snack once it re-opens 😀

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