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Tuesday 6 November 2012

Ration Book Cooking - Tuesday 6th November

After day one of living on WW2 rations, I have found that what I miss most is coffee!  I did notice it wasn't listed in the rations, so went looking for some information and this is what I found out:

Sugar and coffee are imported from South America and the Caribbean.  In addition to the hazards of shipping by sea, the military needed great quantities of these ingredients.  Shortages of European sources being cut off meant that Britain only had access through the US adding additional strains on the supplies and the tonnage lost to the war in the Atlantic also added to the shortages.  My husband's uncle was a Gunner for the Merchant Navy and worked on the convoys, including the Arctic convoys to help bring vital supplies to the troops and the Home Front.


The shortage of imported coffee in WW2 led to a rise in the use of Camp Coffee; a concentrate made from just 4% coffee with chicory (a vegetable) as the main ingredient.  I can remember visiting an elderly lady and being offered Camp Coffee in hot milk, I am no fan of warm milk in any drink and the combination of the milk and the, rather treacly, Camp Coffee was not to my taste!

And while we are on the subject of beverages,  I've realised the benefits of drinking my tea black, no milk and no sugar.  I stopped taking sugar in my tea when I was about 12 and stopped taking milk when I was a student with no fridge (students of today please note: no fridge, no phone, no computer or laptop, no central heating or washing machine - we went to the launderette) however, I digress, where was I?  Oh yes, black tea is going to allow me to make some kind of pudding with my milk and sugar rations - result!

Menu for Tuesday

Two slices of toast (National Loaf) with 1 tsp jam 
Leek and Potato Soup (see Monday)
Haricot Beans, Baked Boston Style  (from Vegetables for Victory by Ambrose Heath) serve with Carrots and Potatoes

This little book belonged to my gran, who must have worn out the cover, recovered it with brown paper and stuck the picture back on the front!  I think she used it well into the 1950's as there are some newspaper cuttings of Elizabeth David recipes tucked between the pages.

The Haricot Bean recipe is currently cooking in the oven ready for tomorrow, so I will post the pictures and recipe later.  In the meantime I'm going to give you the recipe for the National Loaf.  Over at Lavender and Lovage, Karen tells you more about how this came about.

NB: butter spread pre-rationing!

Wartime loaf

600 ml (1 pint) of warm water
5 teaspoons of quick rise yeast
couple pinches of sugar
2 lb of wholewheat (wholemeal) flour

1.5 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon rolled oats (for top)
 drizzle of vegetable oil


Place flour in large bowl
Mix in all dry ingredients except the rolled oats
Drizzle in vegetable oil
Pour in warm water
Mix thoroughly
When dough comes together knead for 10 minutes until dough is silky
Place back in bowl and cover
Let dough rise somewhere warm until doubled in size
Knead dough briefly again
Place dough into 4 x 1/2 lb tins (or 2 x 1 lb tins) that have been floured
Brush top with a little water and sprinkle on some rolled oats
Leave to rise for around 20 minutes
Place in oven at 180 0C for around 30-40 mins (depending on the size of the loaf)
Remove from oven
Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting

 I cheated a little here and used the bread maker to make the dough, then baked it in a tin in the oven.

So how are we doing with the rations?

WW2 Rations 1940 for three people
Butter 150g (6oz)  75g Butter
Bacon or ham: 300g (12oz)  bacon in the Haricot Bean dish
Margarine: 300g (12oz)
Cooking fat/lard: 300g (12oz) 200g lard 190g lard (tsp of veg oil)
Sugar: 675g (1lb 10oz) 650g (25g black treacle used)
Meat:  1350g (3lb)
Milk: 9 pints occasionally dropping to 8 pints 8 3/4 pints
Cheese: 150g (6oz) rising to 675g  (1lb 10oz)?
Eggs: 3 fresh eggs per week  0 fresh eggs
Tea: 150g (6oz) 130g 110g
Jam: 150g (6oz) per week 125g
Dried Eggs 3 packets  (36 eggs every four weeks)   9 eggs for one week
Sweets: 262g (3oz) per week.

Remember to check out how Karen and Fiona are getting on in their Wartime Kitchens.

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At 6 November 2012 at 09:25 , Blogger Unknown said...

well you're doing very well to keep up even for 2 days... I would be entirely lost without the coffee and The Viking would probably throw me off a bridge if I even suggested the idea!... nice loaf too, looks very utilitarian but bet it tasted great!

At 6 November 2012 at 10:29 , Anonymous Jacqueline @Howtobeagourmand said...

I think I would struggle without coffee too. I take maybe 3 a day (in the morning only) and if by accident I taste sugar in tea, I can't abide it - Yuk!
Great little historic nuggets Janice ;-)

At 6 November 2012 at 12:35 , Blogger Karen S Booth said...

I am not a HUGE coffee fan Janice, so this is not a problem for me, but, TEA will be an issue and may run out by the end of the week! I KNOW just what you mean about student days, NO internet, washing machines etc! LOL! yes, our own little wartime in a way!GREAT menu plan again and I DO like the look of your bean well as the fascinating personal photos you are sharing too! Karen

At 6 November 2012 at 12:38 , Blogger Karen S Booth said...

Forgot to say that during the 70's when my parents were struggling to make ends meet, we had a spell on Camp Coffee.....YUK! I hated it!

At 6 November 2012 at 12:52 , Blogger Traceyr said...

Wow Janice that does sound like a delicious menu but it would be the lack of butter on my bread and no sweets that would get me.

Thanks for the info on Camp Coffee too. I never realised that.


At 8 March 2013 at 18:20 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bread sold in wartime had to be a day old - it was forbidden to sell it fresh. At a day old it cut better and went further.

Actually, a good loaf of traditional English bread could be all the better for keeping if it has some fat in it.



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