Friday, January 1, 2021

A Year of Modern Rationing - Week One - The Food


It seems to have taken me ages to get my head around the various component parts of my rations.  But here in photos they are.

The Weekly Rations

4oz Bacon Substitute 
4oz Dairy Free Spread
4oz Oil 
1 Carton Almond Milk
3oz Cheese
8oz Sugar
2oz Coffee
2oz Flaxseeds
2 Vegan Sausages
3oz Sweets

There are some replacements for this first weeks foods, and while I use up the supplies of things in my own cupboards this may continue for a while.  For instance I had no Trex or vegan suet so I simply doubled the weight of oil.  I did not have enough in weight of the bacon substitute (which by the way is delicious and will most likely stay on my shopping list) so I added 1oz of split yellow peas.

I have no egg replacer yet ... although I have now found a source ... so I started this month off with some Flax seeds, which work very well in baking and as a binder.  I also had no white sugar so I just used some Demerara sugar from a jar in the cupboard.

A bit bitty but it should all  work.

Off the Ration

The weekly non-rationed foods were a bit easier.  I picked these up yesterday when we called into Tesco after walking the dogs.

Just LOOK at the size of that leek!!

All this, plus the three items below for just a smidge over £7 ... I'm very impressed 😀

I'm hoping I will be able to get at least my carrots and potatoes not wrapped in plastic bags next week, but for this week I couldn't as the available unwrapped ones were really not a pretty sight. I am also only buying foods grown in the UK wherever possible.

MR £2.96

A total of 90p worth of foods from my allowable 'meat replacement' spend of £2.96.  Leaving me another £2.06 for more fruit or healthy foods for the rest of the week.

 Sanity Saver

 2/3 jar of Peanut Butter from the cupboard.

My Monthly Points Shop

1 tin of Tomatoes - 6 points
1lb Oats - 2 points
2lb Red Lentils - 8 points
1lb Pasta - 2 points
1lb Rice - 2 points

= 20 Points

I think I'm already slightly regretting the tin of tomatoes for 6 points as I have just read that a tin of baked beans would only have been 2 points.  Three tins of baked beans would have made a lot more meals, but I will just have to see how it goes this month and maybe change around a bit for next.

I was quite surprised that this is it for a month.  I'm thinking one pasta meal a week and one rice meal a week, and I sat and calculated that I only have enough for approximately nine porridge breakfasts for the month, that's just over two a week.

It would seem that points are spent more quickly than cash!!

My Monthly Rations

4oz Coffee
1 Carton of Almond Milk
1/2 lb Onions

Dried Egg Replacer to be added here.

My Bi-Monthly Rations

4oz Jam
4oz Marmalade
1 Jar of Cocoa Powder

It's going to be very interesting to see how this all works out, it might take me a week or so to get into the swing of it, but I'm hopeful that this is going to be a healthy and pretty cheap year of good food and clever meal making.  

Thank you to all those of you who have signed up already to be Followers of this new blog, it's been amazing to see the numbers go up so quickly.

And now it's time to make some porridge I think  🥣 

Sue xx


  1. Well done for sorting that all out. I reckon people on their own found it more difficult than a family and bread and potatoes featured large!

    1. I think bread, potatoes and carrots are going to feature very heavily in my diet too 🤣🤣

    2. Just a tease, but bread potatoes and carrots sound a wonderful diet. :)
      I am looking forward to following you. None of my comments are ever meant to criticize you. Heavens you are doing the heavy work around this challenge, not me.
      Just like to see how you are doing with it.

  2. Could you 'adapt' and have half the can of tomatoes (bung the rest in the freezer) and make up the rest with baked beans - or is that a cheat too far?
    I am so going to enjoy this challenge (from a comfortable distance)!

    1. Although I will be perhaps having half a pound of dried goods occasionally, as I guess grocers would have done this, I think halving a can is a cheat too far for me.

  3. Don't laugh - but have you considered pulses and rice as breakfast dishes?

    I have done this when camping and find it gives a nice meal which sustains for a good few hours, without the 'instantly metabolised into sugar' carbohydrate hit from the oats. I know you do not eat fish, but think of Kedgeree, popularised in India as a breakfast dish for white colonists.

    1. Oh gosh yes and I wouldn't laugh. One of my favourite breakfasts is a couple of red lentil pancakes/flatbreads, they are very tasty especially when eaten warm and very filling. I think they will be featuring :-)

      I don't have enough rice for a breakfast dish as well as a main meal once a week at the moment, but I think I may get extra rice with next month points.

  4. I have been looking out for your new challenge, so glad I have found it and I am really looking forward to following it all year. This is something I have often thought of doing but can't at the moment but I am determined to eat more simply. Being vegan I am finding it more difficult to cook for my meat eating husband , I am very tempted to say to him that if he wants to have a meat meal perhaps he should cook it himself, it won't do him any harm ! I wish you the very best of luck with your challenge, your notes show respect and empathy for those who who endured the rationing in the war years ( by the way I have a pair of new stockings --- interested ?? wink ,wink,) , best wishes , Chrissie

    1. I am so sorry Chrissie that you had to hunt around for me. I thought I had put a direct link on 'A Smaller Life ...' but I hadn't. I have now so everyone can find me a bit easier. Alan cooks most of his own meat meals when we eat together I just can't bear touching it.

      Yes I have so much respect for everyone that came through the war years, except for the black marketeers and under the counter traders ... stockings indeed, haha ;-)

  5. Homegrown? I didn't know bananas grew in the UK. Bananas definitely were not readily available in the War years. As a child I clearly remember the excitement in our village when bananas appeared in the grocers at the end of the War. There were few of them and the grocer let us have one banana per family. But then also nor do many of the things you have there grow in the UK, the dried/canned/bottled goods especially. Things might be "packed" in the UK but they're not grown here. We had some canned beans and tomatoes on the Black Market but they were extremely hard to get and expensive and it was a rare occasion to get any.

    Haricot beans in baked beans are grown in the Americas. Tomatoes in canned tomatoes are grown in Italy. The same for much of the stuff you have there.

    Strange that you can overlook that yet feel it would be a "cheat" to halve a can of your Italian grown tomatoes.

    Perhaps you could look at some other blogs who are doing the ration challenge for some tips.
    Also what about growing some veg? Are there allotments near you? Our village green was used for growing and we had a small patch.

    1. Christ ... talk about being attacked on the first day of my Challenge!!

      I'm sorry but have you even read about this blog or read through any of the earlier posts? Have you noticed it's title ... 'A Year of Modern Rationing' ... this should start to explain it and if you know me at all you will know that I am very honest about what I do.

      I say quite clearly in this post 'only buying foods grown in the UK where ever possible'. I DO know that bananas are not grown in the UK, but there are not many fruits that I actually eat and I do struggle with this as most of my readers know. My £2.96 meat replacer allowance is to be used to buy mostly healthy fruits and extras to keep me healthy for the year and try to get me to the minimum recommended five a day.

      I have explained the thinking behind this blog a couple of times. It is about using the basis of wartime rationing but in a modern vegan way, similar to how it could be if rationing were brought in today but with a non-rationed slant for health reasons.

      But reading your last line it is obvious that you don't know me at all ... 'are there allotments near me?' No but I do currently live between a small-holding and a small flat, and over the last twelve years have grown all my own vegetables ... including haricot beans and tomatoes to name just two of the things you say don't grow in the UK!! As soon as I have bought my new home I will be giving part of the garden over to growing some of the vegetables and fruit ... although not bananas ... that I need.

      I have done a lot of research before starting this Challenge and blog, as I did a couple of years ago when we did live off TOTALLY WARTIME RATIONS. This time I have worked out a way to do it with a good slant, that I am happy with for me for the year.

      If reading this new blog of mine is going to get your back up to the extent this comment suggests it has, I suggest that you stick to reading actual Wartime Rationing blogs and not Challenge blogs based around it.

    2. Blimey "Celia" likes to stir things up doesn't she. She picked on the wrong person!
      So Celia where are these other blogs that are doing a ration challenge - I'm sure we'd all like to know and perhaps you would like to start a blog with a similar challenge so we can read how realistic you will be!

    3. Haha, she has hasn't she, and I didn't let slip with the F word once!!

      It's starting to feel like there are some very linked and similar commenters appearing in blogland at the moment. That's twice we've been informed about 'other' ration blogs ... I wish I could find them

  6. Wow, just wow �� And Happy New Year to you Celia. If you are just here to criticise I’m sure we would all rather you went elsewhere. Amazing!

    Sue, this a fantastic twist on old style sustainability in a modern world. Please keep going - although with the above I wonder why you bother? Some people have clearly taken no time to research your amazing back story. Your blogs are inspirational. JC

    1. Thanks Julie.

      Celia's comment would have been totally acceptable if she had asked the questions rather than just attacking me outright. But hey ho, she is obviously just out to criticise. Don't worry I wouldn't dream of stopping just because someone has totally gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick, but if she attacks me like this again I WILL be jabbing her with it :-)

      Thank you for your support. xx

  7. I'm curious to see if you lose weight whilst eating the wartime inspired rationing.

    I did see you tube videos where the young lady tried eating foods that would have been typical in the 50's. She talked to her grandparents about what they remembered. For her a big thing for her challenge was not having snacks between meals. One thing that did stand out was the amount of bread and potatoes. It made me think about the way I eat having been brought up by English parents who were children during WWII. Now that I live in the USA I can see how differently we eat, and I suspect part of it was because of the war time rationing.

    That was a bit of a ramble, sorry.

    I look forward to reading more about your experience, and I would be curious how it compares to the refugee rations from last year.


    1. The YouTube videos sound like it could of been Grackle, she did a whole series of eating through the decades, they were really good. She is one of the subscriptions that I didn't delete in my New Year on-line tidy up.

      And that was a lovely ramble, thank you. It's always nice to find out a bit about the people that are reading along.

      I think the refugee ration challenge I did last year is going to help me enormously this time. I always find I pick up so much information as I do Challenges, and I love that I can bring those learnings back to help future things whether it be in life in general or in Challenges on the blog.

  8. Hi, found you from Pat's blog. I'll read back through some of your previous posts when I have time but also wondered are you going to post recipes of the meals you eat? I don't like cooking and prefer to have recipes to follow or I give up too easily. Needing to both spend less money and lose weight so I'll try following your example. Thanks for doing all the work of what we will need to buy or use from our store cupboards.

    1. Hi Jane, and welcome.

      Once I get more organised I will start posting the photos of the food as I eat it and supplying the recipes. I will also, hopefully, set up a stand alone recipe page so you can find things easier. It's been a complicated few days here but the next week should see things get more organised and I will have more time for this.

  9. I am impressed at the amount of research that you have done to launch this challenge.

    I think the modernization you have done is admirable. Two onions for the month is quite an eye opener for me.

    1. But I can buy some more if necessary out if my MR £2.96 if I can afford to, but I think it will be interesting to see if I can switch to using leeks as they are available pretty much all year round in the UK. If Jamie Oliver can cook with leeks instead of onions for his wife then I should be able to :-)

  10. Looking very interesting. A lot of work now, but once you get into the swing of things , should be easier.
    I will look closer into what you have written to check on calories protein veg .
    Onion skin tea or onion skin broth. I can see by your rations ,every little bit will have to be used. Very interesting.

    1. Funnily enough using onion skins is the one thing I have never done, although I'm told they add a wonderful colour to soups.

  11. As there is no link to Celia as a real person, I couldn't help wondering if it was Ursula who has, at times, been rather nasty to John Grey . . .

    1. There are a lot of new commenters on mine and others blogs just recently, some with no links and some simply listing thenselves as Unknown. It's something we all need to keep an eye on I think. In the meantime I am not going to put up with such rudeness towards me or my readers. ☹️

    2. The joy of a Delete button when you're the Bliog Admin 😂 🤪

    3. Oh gosh yes, you'd be surprised how often that 'Delete Forever' button is called into action!!

  12. Hi Sue,
    Happy New Year! I think your challenge is fantastic. Screw the haters. I’m trying to do a similar challenge this year but I’m a meat eater. My husband has declined to join me. I’m really looking forward to seeing how your challenge goes.


    1. Happy New Year to you too Carol :-)

      If you do decide to have a ration type year why not blog about it too, it would make good comparison reading. With meat without meat etc, you'll soon gather lots of Followers, me included.

    2. I have a started a blog but sometimes lose my focus for such things so we’ll see how it goes. I’m in Iowa, in the US, but am following the U.K. rations. Blogging is new to me and a previous attempt failed, so maybe this might keep me going. Thanks for the encouragement. —Carol

    3. Thanks for the address, I've found you now :-)

  13. Sue, I'm not familiar with how things worked during the war so please forgive me if my question is stupid. I was wondering about the points system. Did you just need a ration book with points or did you also have to pay for your rations.
    How sad that you have to deal with nasty commenters. I'm so proud of you for not using the F word :) You go girl!
    Happy New Year, Jo in Wisconsin. (I've been signing that way because I noticed another Jo had commented).

    1. No question is ever stupid in my eyes, it's the only way we learn and when asked politely can help so many other people too who perhaps are afraid to ask.

      You had to pay with cash for all your food during the war years, the ration books for your main supplies ... meat, cheese, fats, sugar etc were in one book and you registered at the grocers and butchers that you would use throughout the war, clothes coupons were in another and soap in a third. I think the Points system was also logged in a book. When you bought your weekly food or used your points the shopkeeper would cross off the relevant weekly or monthly coupon in the book and also take the money for the items. This meant that you could only buy your things the once as you could never buy without showing your ration book.

      This system was devised after the first world war when it became obvious that people with more money were buying up all the food leaving little left in the shops for those with less. By giving everything a weight availability per person and or a points value it meant fair shares for everyone.

      I hope that helps :-)

    2. Thank you, that did help, especially the last paragraph about keeping it fair for those that weren't as well off as others.

  14. Margie from TorontoJanuary 1, 2021 at 8:40 PM

    Happy New Year Sue! Wow - those photos really bring home how little people had to work with - especially if you were single. It would have certainly inspired me to get out and garden!
    I am a meat eater but given what people were allowed, I'm not sure how they kept up proper protein content at all! I was watching some YouTube videos yesterday on how it all worked out and one thing that must have helped was that a lot of school children got a hot lunch at school and factory workers had canteens that served their hot lunch - hopefully that made it a bit easier on the one left at home trying to figure out what to serve.
    I think the thing that would get to me most would be the lack of variety - we are so spoiled today with imports from all around the world and ethnic restaurants and ingredients available to most that we think nothing of making meals following cuisines from all around the world. I think the sameness of the food would have got me down! Good luck!

    1. Rather weirdly it's stepping back from the availability of so many different foodstuffs that I am most looking forward to, although we will see if I'm still saying that after six months of potatoes, carrots and leeks!!

      These photos also bring home to me just how much packaging we have on foods these days, especially vegan foods. I cannot buy loose cheese for instance, although I will be switching to blocks of cheese once I have used up the pre-grated stuff I treated myself too just before Christmas. But I do want to work on getting to minimal packaging over the next few weeks, so it will be interesting to compare the weekly ration shop photos after a while.

    2. Re: packaging - one thing I noted form the old films was the clerk just measuring everything with her bare hands and putting it on the counter as is. Only after everything was measured was a bit of paper used to wrap it up for transport.

  15. Gosh, it all takes a great deal of understanding and good maths, doesn't it. I'm not knowledgeable enough of your nutritional needs to comment, but it looked to me like you might loose quite a bit of weight!

    As for Cecelia, well .... she's been given fairly clear directions, and her map and compass out of here, hasn't she! Doesn't sound a very easy person to be around.

    1. Maths is my weak point and the calculator and the 'metric to imperial calculator' on Google have been a bloody godsend I can tell you, oh and happily my scales can be switched from grams to lbs and ozs at the flick of a switch ... phew!!

      I think Celia has jumped in without knowing me or doing any background reading and has unfortunately just not understood what this is about. It does all seem complicated at first, but hopefully with more posts coming up things should start to become more logical for everyone ... me included.

  16. Thank you for the welcome and your reply. I feel inspired to really have a go at this, today I'm going to have a sort through the pantry shelves and make a list.

    I don't mean to offend you or others but I have to say I felt quite sad at the response to Celia's post, from what she said she appears to be an elderly lady and as we all know the elderly can sometimes appear to be brusque and sometimes not word things exactly as others would like to see or hear. I know as my mum has got older she sometimes comes across as brusque and unthinking. She's 93. Also I know if my mum had written that comment she would have been very hurt to see people thought of her as being a "hater" and see the level of aggression directed towards her. The elderly can often be opinionated and my mum is too but I do think we are all guilty of not allowing for this and not showing enough respect.
    I too have seen Ursula's comments on John's blog and I wouldn't have thought that she was masquerading as Celia, Ursula has a particular cutting way of causing as much hurt as possible, Celia does read as being a genuine elderly lady. But that's just my opinion and of course it's your blog!
    A belated Happy New Year to you, I think we're all hoping for better things to come.

    1. No offence taken, and you will have seen that in my response to other commenters I have indeed given Celia the benefit of the doubt.

      But if she is elderly and perhaps new to blogland it's far better to learn the etiquette of responses and comments if you wish to make them, and not rush to judge but instead learn to question. It is for this reason that my own Mum, who is over 80, takes care when commenting and often phones to ask things instead of joining in with the comments on my blogs.

  17. Good luck with your challenge! Really looking forward to reading about how you get on.

  18. I am only just catching up as I knew you were starting this challenge but hadn't seen all the posts until today. I am already enjoying reading along and am looking forward to seeing you progress with the challenge. Well done for all the planning and a good start to it and a Happy New Year to you too albeit a bit belated.

  19. I love anything to do with life on the homefront during WW2. Actually I'm always impressed by those who live frugally, and seem to enjoy life no matter what obstacles are thrown their way, no matter how daunting. It's encouraging to see people who are resilient. Don't get me wrong, some folks have way more on the plate as far as hardships go, but it's inspiring to see others who rise to the occasion of somehow just getting on. My granny would say, life lesson number #1, life is not fair, so don't expect it to be. She's been gone a long, long time but her words come out of my mouth to my grown adult children too lol! I don't know if you have read Grandma Donna's blog? She and her husband also research and live (within reason) certain eras as well.

  20. The link isn't working for me either and I didn't realise you had updated until yesterday when I read the whole lot in one go. I am now getting to you from your side bar. I am enjoying following you with this challenge and have been impressed with all your research and planning. You are doing a great job and I will find you one way or another.


Comments are always welcome, always read and sometimes answered. If you wish to comment as Anonymous, or Unknown please sign off your comment with a first name.
Thank you for reading my posts. xx