What next?

The End of the WWII Rationing Challenge

BY ANN MITCHELL

We’re now at the end of the rationing challenge, and have found it much easier than anticipated!

On the whole, the rationed allowances have more than met our needs. The only exception was oil, which we would have used in preference to margarine or lard for cooking.

We have eaten well, and the fact that there is such a range of fruit and vegetables available at this time of year has helped tremendously. I have lost nearly 2 kg, probably due to less chocolate and red wine as well as the reduction in animal fat!

Stretching out our rations

This week I used a whole week’s sugar ration for the two of us making gooseberry jam. Following advice from a neighbor, I made two small jars in the microwave. It’s a brilliant way to use up smaller amounts of summer fruit, and only takes 20 minutes.

Last week we had no fresh meat ration, but bought a ham hock from the butcher.  This gave us the basis of a pasta sauce, a ham salad, and a delicious split pea stew; cooked in the stock from the bones with onions and celery. We also used up a tin of stewing steak from the back of our store cupboard to make a pie. For the topping, we were inspired by a Woolton Pie recipe, and used a mix of pastry and mashed potato, which tasted like a cross between pastry and dumplings.

We swapped some of our milk ration for natural yoghurt, which we prefer to custard for fruit puddings. It can also be used in soups, such as this lettuce, cucumber, and pea soup, which was quick to make and made use of a glut of lettuce from our garden. Scrumptious!

One of our favorite meals is cauliflower cheese, and this week we tried a variation that used less milk and cheese. Instead of making the sauce entirely of milk I used half milk and half water, and added a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder. This gave the sauce a good flavor, and it didn’t matter so much that only 1oz of cheese was grated onto the top. We took to always grating cheese as small as possible, which made it look so much more!

We also made a pizza with lots of vegetables and only 1oz cheese, which tasted delicious too – in fact the flavor of the vegetables was more prominent without too much cheese!

Looking forward

So, where do we go next? Are there some lessons from the challenge that we can take forward?

The biggest impact of the challenge was having limits on certain foods, which meant we couldn’t just nip to the shop to pick up, say, another packet of cheese. That has resulted in taking much more care over how we used the rationed ingredients, and reducing food waste. Cheese, butter, oil, and meat have become valued commodities; to be used sparingly and never wasted.

Our plan now is to set our own limits for the week, and try to keep within those limits. This will hopefully make our diet both healthier and more sustainable.