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Lord Woolton, Minister of food came up with the slogan ‘Food is a munition of war- Don’t waste it’ He urged people to eat plenty of potatoes & oatmeal.

/media/learning/library/ a day of rationing with some 40s recipes   and let us know how you get on by posting to our facebook page

Did you know?

  • During the war, meat was scarce and rationed. Per week, you were allowed to have meat up to the value 1s 2d (6p today), however, corned beef did not cost customers any of their monthly points and was part of the meat ration, sausages were not rationed either.
  • Vegetarians and vegans had to register with their local food office as they were allowed extra rations of eggs, cheese and nuts.
  • The meat ration was reckoned by price rather than weight. In March 1940, the meat ration was 1s 10d this would buy almost 3lb (1340g) of beef pork or mutton, 2lb (907g) of stewing steak or 5 pork chops. By June 1941 this ration was almost halved.
  • Tea was rationed to (2oz 57g) a week, this is the equivalent to 20-25 cups.
  • Sugar was rationed to 8oz (226g) a week. Luckily saccharin or sugarettes were available as a substitute to sugar.
  • Lemon was unobtainable in Britain, unless you had a relative serving in Italy or Sicily who could send them over.
  • Meals at work and school were encouraged, by the end of the war 1,850,000 /media/learning/library/130624_230_statelibqld_1_273583_crowd_queuing_for_rationing_cards_1947.jpgschool dinners were being served every day.
  • ‘British Restaurants’ were set up to provide cheap nourishing meals. For 11d you could have stuffed lamb, potatoes, cabbage, date roll and custard. 
  • Tea was on ration until October 1952 and meat and bacon was rationed until June 1954!

 Image above shows queuing for ration cards

Dig for Victory

  • The government encouraged people to keep a small patch of their garden for flowers, to keep up moral.
  • All available space should be used to grow vegetables, this included on top of Anderson shelters, window boxes, balconies and even on to p of flat roofs.
  • It was a patriotic duty to grow every day food stuffs like potatoes onions and all winter vegetables.


  • Potatoes were important during the war, without this staple, families would have starved.
  • The ministry of food offered a weekly prize to the green grocer with the best potato display.


  • The dig for victory campaign encouraged gardeners to grow carrots as a summer time treat.
  • Propaganda posters claimed ‘carrots keep you healthy & help you see in a black out’
  • Creative recipes to use carrot included carrot flan, carrot jam, curried carrot or carrot fudge.


  • It was still necessary to import large amounts of wheat, to make enough national loaf (there is a recipe for this in a separate document). National Loaf was made from wholemeal flour and was fortified with calcium and vitamins.
  • The National Loaf was introduced in 1942, it was sold unwrapped and un-sliced.
  • It was described as a dirty beige colour with a gritty texture.
  • National loaf was never rationed.


  • Prior to the war people ate on average 3 eggs a week during the war eggs were rationed to 1 a week.
  • In 1942 packets of dried eggs from America started appearing on greengrocer’s shelves. People didn’t like them at first but soon came around when they realised how much shipping space was saved from not having to import chicken feed.


  • Milk was delivered in glass bottles to door steps.
  • Free school milk 1/3 pint was introduced in 1946.
  • Tinned condensed milk and powdered milk was sometimes available to purchase with ration points.


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