Ration books

Have you any ration book stories to share ?
Many stories about those ration books were told to us kids over the years, at this time of the year. My Grandad would leave home in the morning, and get home late at night, trying to find what my Nana needed in her kitchen. Often returning empty handed, with a story to tell, "old Jo, he needed the eggs for his 6 children more than we" Poor Nana, no eggs.

Chef_pickles7, Apr 10, 10:39 am

Going to the butcher as a child and pleading for meat when we had coupons left.

Chef_lulu239, Apr 10, 11:33 am

lulu239. I expect you would not know the cut you would get, if you were lucky to get meat.
My mother used to line up all day and not know what she was in line for sometimes. My nana became a hoarder of food after the war. I just keep a well stocked pantry, shed, spare bedroom, and garage. lol. I think my husband hides his potato chips, and sweets in his wardrobe.

Chef_pickles7, Apr 10, 3:50 pm

No ration books where my mum was. but she said a neighbour shot his horse one day, before he time to do anything, every woman in the village appeared with knives and that horse disappeared in 5 minutes.
Her mum included.

She also said the soldiers turned up one day and killed their 2 dogs - and ate them.

Chef_lythande1, Apr 11, 6:39 am

I remember ration coupons and food being in short supply, or not available at all . When white sugar was in short supply mum had to buy brown sugar - us children were not impressed having brown sugar on our porridge and we used to complain! I often wonder whether the shortages we experienced after the war is the reason I get a bit anxious about running out of things - I buy my groceries well in advance so I don't run out. There is a bit of insecurity in my mind, I think!

Chef_pogram0, Apr 11, 7:35 pm

I remember Mother telling me she joined a queue at Adams Bruce in the hope that she could get some chocolates only to find out it was their pastry they were selling.

Pickles, I think we were glad of any meat if we could get it without coupons.

Chef_lulu239, Apr 12, 2:07 pm

In the UK my mum's family worked for an American food company and they would be sent food parcels from American families - tins of ham, jam, instant coffee, etc. They would also get creative with their rations - mix the week's butter ration with milk and lard, for example. Their only sweets were jelly off cuts from the factory which they would sell to friends at school.

Chef_sarahb5, Apr 12, 5:59 pm

What an interesting thread - even though it's made me realise that I could be the grandmother of most of you - I have enjoyed your posts which I think are mostly from a NZ perspective.
I was born in Manchester during WW2 - I was five when it started. I don't remember a lot about ration books but became aware as I grew older that we didn't seem to have a lot to eat at our place and I was hungry - then I realised that neither did anyone else. Gradually meat began to appear on our menu and I heard the family whispers - Uncle Eric was involved in something called ' the Black Market' - I didn't know what it was but it seemed to put extra food in our mouths - once a bunch of bananas and I was ecstatic. I don't think his dealings were particularly above board but I innocently enjoyed anything different that appeared.on my plate.
Briefly two memories - when I was about 10 Mum giving me a few pence to buy, on my way home from school - at a little herbalist shop (I remember it vividly because the little man in there spoke Esperanto and was insistent that by 1950 it would become the accepted Universal language and would mean the end of all conflict in the world - what an individual) - and I would buy a licorice stick and a little cone of sherbet to dip it in. Heaven!

The other memory is of dried egg powder which Mum used I suppose all through the war - for cooking and making delicious omelettes etc. Came the day we got real eggs again - Mum gave me a poached one on toast with a triumphant flourish - I forced it down and almost immediately vomited it back. Took me a long time to get to appreciate the real thing.

The End - thanks for 'listening' to grandma's ramblings!

Chef_esther-anne, Apr 12, 7:33 pm

My grandad probably made your dried egg powder esther-anne - he worked at Birds in Birmingham and that was one if their products!

Chef_sarahb5, Apr 12, 8:46 pm

They did a good job then sarahb5 - I loved it - but I couldn't remember by then what real eggs were like. However it was such a staple and was used in so many dishes - Mum made lovely cakes - that I often wonder what we would have done without it!

I wonder if Birds still have a processing plant in Birmingham?

Chef_esther-anne, Apr 12, 8:54 pm


They were taken over by General Foods which I think may be part of the Kraft group - it doesn't say in my custard powder where it's made

Chef_sarahb5, Apr 12, 9:06 pm

Hmm, well the horse was the only thing in weeks they had.
Never mind egg powder, lack of bananas etc.

Some countries think they were hard done by, try those who lived smack in the middle of the main conflict

Chef_lythande1, Apr 13, 6:25 pm

We had horse too lythande - as I have said I was a child so didn't realise the implications of war. I only knew about the buzz bombs overhead and going down to the air raid shelters in my 'red riding hood suit' my parents name for making me feel it was an adventure.

However - after the war we were invited out to dinner and given the most delicious meat pie - later I learned it was horse.

I minded the lack of bananas - you may say 'never mind' but when you had the first bunch for three years and you are a little girl you might not think 'never mind'!

Where were you by the way and what were your experiences - would love to know?

Chef_esther-anne, Apr 13, 11:28 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if passive aggressive posts didn't have a place in this thread and wouldn't it be nice if people just kept to their stories of rationing and rationing books.

I've never experienced it myself and I doubt my mother did. She was raised on a farm in the back of beyond. Her mother had a flourishing garden and hens. Their farm backed onto some truly wild forested areas and hunting was prolific.

My father used to tell how he'd take his horse and another along with the dogs into the bush with no idea where he was going. Once he'd shot a deer or the dogs had brought down a wild board and he knifed it, he would throw the beast onto the other horse and then give the lead horse its head. It always came home, without fail.

My father went through two depressions and two wars. He vowed he'd never go hungry again, and by god, even when we had no money (after he'd moved from the farm) and he was finding his way with 4 children to support, we never did go hungry. A garden took up every section of every place we lived. He even dug up camp grounds where we sometimes had to live much to the chargrin of camp owners.

I can easily understand program0"s mindset all too well.

Chef_buzzy110, Apr 14, 10:04 am

My Grandparents were the same they were married just before the depression and never threw away anything that could be reused paper bags plastic bags jars bottles etc etc their whole property was a vege garden and any scraps were either composted or fed to chooks. I doubt they put out a rubbish bin more than once a month if that. The shed at the back was always full of preserves of veges and fruit they spent very little on food probably only flour sugar and salt. Maybe that's why all their grandchilfren and great grandchildren are still vege gardeners if maybe not as intensive as they were.

Chef_beaker59, Oct 12, 1:57 pm

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