Thursday, 9 February 2012

Ration Book Britain

I had a lovely afternoon yesterday.  My future daughter in law, Kerry,  is a primary school teacher and this term her class is studying Wartime Britain.  My mum was an evacuee and remembers quite a lot about rationing etc, so I took her in to the school to chat to the class.  The class was apparently quite excited as someone 'real' who was in the war was coming in.  I did say that if they asked me if I remembered the war I was leaving immediately!  The class was a bit shy at first, but once they (and Mum) relaxed, the questions really started to come thick and fast.  I learnt quite a lot too:

What did you miss most with rationing?   Fruit, my dad was a greengrocer before the war and we had eaten lots of fruit and of course we couldn't get any during the war.
What was the worse thing you can remember about wartime food? Mashed parsnips with banana essence in bread - I still don't like bananas.
What was the worst thing about being evacuated? Being served lumpy porridge!
What do you remember about Christmas? Tinned fruit.
What toys did you take into your Anderson shelter? My teddy bear.
Do you remember being scared?  Yes, when the doddlebugs went silent.
Do you think rationing was a good thing? Yes because it meant that what food there was, was shared equally.
Where you close to where a bomb was dropped?  Yes, the factory behind our school was bombed and at the time we were under our desks practising our attack drill. The only girl that got hurt by shattered glass was someone who hadn't got under the table.  The moral of the tale - always listen to your teacher!

The questioning went on for about an hour.  Mum did a really good job.  She gave them a good overview of her memories, but also emphasised that war is not glamorous.  It was a tough time and she really hoped that none of them ever have to live through it.  Unfortunately the consequences of war could well touch some of these children as Colchester is a garrison town.  Let's hope that their Mothers, Fathers, brothers and sisters come home safely and that the war stops soon. We really should have learnt from history that war is not the answer.


  1. How true all that is. When we lived on rations in 1990's, I used to go into schools and give talks and let them taste unmarked rationed cake versus modern cake. They nearly always thought the ration one, made with drie egg, was the best.

  2. Strange how there was no mention of the great variety of Spam recipes that were created :-)

  3. that's interesting and as the years go on there will be fewer and fewer people who will be around to remember these things.

    Thanks for popping by my blog, I am now a followers of your blog.

    Did you enter my giveaway when you were by?

    Gill in Canada

  4. Very interesting that you would have a post about ration books. In history we are reading about Corrie Ten Boom and her life as a Jew in WW2. I asked Grace if she knew what a ration card was and she didn't. So we had a long discussion about what it would mean to have to ration food. Thanks for sharing your mother's stories.

  5. Data create - I haven't tried powdered egg is it worth trying? X
    Mel - I couldnt stand spam even as a child, but absolutely loves it, especially spam fritters x
    Gill - I didn't enter your giveaway as I thought it a bit cheeky to join in when I was such a new follower, but I will do now xxx
    Diane - isn't it strange how often our posts relate to one another's lives? Must be some sort of karma xxx

  6. Mel - I meant Pete loves spam!

  7. I really enjoyed this post. My mother was in the WRNS (from Belfast) during the war and she met my father (a Yank) while he was with Lockheed overseas.

    She would tell us about hiding under the staircase during the bombs on Belfast. And when she and my father married, all of their friends gave them their rations of bacon for their wedding breakfast!

  8. My mum also gave a talk to children at my school about growing up in the 2nd World War.

    Your mum sounds like she did a terrific job!

    Sft x

  9. I was a history major, but specialized in ancient, middle ages and Mexico (we got to pick three areas of interest). Of course, my parents were part of WWII and rationing here in the States. I remember my Mom saying that because her father was a farmer, they had plenty of things like milk, cream, butter, eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. Cityfolk had a much harder time I am sure. I just read a science fiction time travel book about the Blitz. That was the first time I heard about an Anderson shelter. From my era, we had people building concrete bomb shelters for possible atomic bomb attacks. Not sure how effective they would have been. But I do remember the drop drills every month or so. It was very scary even without bombs dropping. - Margy

  10. Looks delish! Have a lovely day, Kellie xx

  11. Hi, my name is Rhianna, Margy from Powell River Books blog sent me a link to your blog. She wanted to show me a post about a stove you had for your boat. I live in a floathome and am looking for something I can cook on that doesn't have to be 18 inches away from all walls. My Dad is from England and grew up during the war. They were evacuated to the Lake District where his Mom bought a farm and took in war refugees and wounded soldiers that were convalecing. My Dad still hoards candy in his sock drawer to this day and always keeps a pantry full of food. It was interesting to read your Moms recollections, cheers Rhianna