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to think that if asked to go back WWII style rationing, we'd never cope?

(146 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Aug-11 16:29:36

Not that it's a seriously likely thing to happen, more a reflection of how spoilt we are by the 24/7 disposable consumer-goods culture, even in relatively hard economic times. Reading up on the WWII home front experience & all the fantastic ways people (women) then coped with shortages of basics, I can't imagine being asked to present a ration book at Sainsbury in exchange for my one solitary egg for the week. They'd have to barbed-wire the shelves and post armed guards... What would happen to all those fussy kids? Would they just starve to death? And I'm not sure I could knit a sock to save my life.

AIBU to think that, unlike our grannies, too many of us are a bunch of trembly-lipped 'ruined my life by delivering the wrong sort of tomato' wussies that would cave at the first mention of 'make do and mend'? ... or are we just as tough and capable of knuckling down in a crisis?

worraliberty Thu 18-Aug-11 16:35:09

I think we're just as tough and capable of knuckling down in a crisis because it's amazing how resilient humans have to be to survive.

I'm sure no-one would willingly go back to those days, but if they had to...we'll you just get on with it as you have no other choice smile

AMumInScotland Thu 18-Aug-11 16:38:26

I think even in those days plenty of people found ways to circumvent the system, because they wanted more than their share.

thiswilloutmeinrl Thu 18-Aug-11 16:38:58

I was just actually mulling this over as I stood in the supermarket yesterday. I was looking at my trolley and smugly congratulating myself that it didn't have any luxuries in it.

And then I looked again.

Naice ham, wee yoghurts for the kids, crisps, cream for the sticky toffee puddings, indian meal deal for two (so shoot me), fabric conditioner, loads of stuff that would have be considered a luxury by my gran.

I blushed.

GwendolineMaryLacey Thu 18-Aug-11 16:42:18

I think we would cope. I agree with Worra, we're just as capable, we just don't have to be.

And don't be fooled by the nicey nicey Blitz Spirit Vera Lynn singing nostalgia market. People were just as cunning and just as self centred as they are now. But that doesn't sell. smile

SiamoFottuti Thu 18-Aug-11 16:45:16

of course we'd cope, most of us anyway. Plenty of people have very tiny budgets and their own form of rationing you know, we don't all spend 200 quid a week on organic cardboard in Sainsburys.

lifechanger Thu 18-Aug-11 16:45:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whatmeworry Thu 18-Aug-11 16:45:40

There are quite a few people arguing that going back to that diet would be a good thing for an Obese Society, especially kids - eg here

exoticfruits Thu 18-Aug-11 16:47:35

We would all manage-we would have to. A crisis brings out the best in people. (also the worst but there was a thriving black market in the war)

exoticfruits Thu 18-Aug-11 16:48:40

Most people would be a lot healthier.grin

nethunsreject Thu 18-Aug-11 16:50:04

Of course we'd cope.

It wouldn't be fun, but in a crisis, we'd cope.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Aug-11 16:52:32

I'm aware of the black market trade. And one of my grannies wasn't averse to offering a few 'favours' <ahem> in exchange for goods. However, knowing my talent for being 'the last to know everything', I'm pretty sure I'd be at the back of the queue if there was ever anything extra going. My family would be on the turnips, for sure. I supppose I could grow stuff in the garden... at least I have a garden.

Agree with whomever said that the concept of 'luxury' would need a serious rethink.

gaaagh Thu 18-Aug-11 16:56:56

Not able to cope?

Well, there are people coping with similar rationing right now in this very country - lots of them.

Read THIS little bit of insight if you don't believe me; I was in a similar position for most of 2009.

This one made me start to well up today when I read it:

The story that sticks with me is fairly recent though, I was working the in court system a couple of years ago...a young lad of about 13/14 was brought in for stealing and criminal damage. He was upset and frightened and at first the magistrates were quite harsh in their questioning.
However as his story unfolded the police had found that he had stolen food from the local shop, some tins of beans, spagetti, stuff like that. When the police arrived at his address he had a fire burning in hs garden from fenceposts he had ripped out of some local fencing (criminal damage).
What the police found was that the lad had stolen the tins of food because his Mum had abandoned the family, he was the oldest, he has 3 younger siblings. He stole the food to feed them and he had made the fire in the garden to keep them warm and to try and cook the tins of food, the electric had run out days ago.....that was only a few years ago in 'modern britain'.
He was given an unconditional discharge and the court staff and police had a whip round to make sure he had a bit of money on him and the relevent support agancies were notified.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 18-Aug-11 16:58:59

We’ve long been knuckled down here, though we do way better than they did, especiially for choice.
We’re veggie anyway with an increasingly restricted income and now a failing veg patch, (anyone know why the tomato plants got one ginormous tomato with no mates?) that was supposed to get us through further than it has, and been looking at WW2 recipes in an attempt to make enforced frugality fun.
The novelty wore off ages ago and I’m rumbled at this point.

The games people played to get round rationing where plentiful as was the power wielded by food suppliers. Can do without "tuppeny uprights on lay by at butchers." grin

gaaagh Thu 18-Aug-11 16:59:16

Also if you can't knit, etc. their "Preparing for Winter" thread has some amazing tips on keeping warm without putting on heating:


LolaRennt Thu 18-Aug-11 17:00:22

you'd get it abroad online. or do a booze cruise/easy jet to buy what you needed!

nickelbabe Thu 18-Aug-11 17:04:18

they used to get chicken food rations for having hens - hens can be fed satisfactorily on kitchen scraps etc, and they give you an egg each every day .
i'd be okay grin

plus, you can grow your own veg.

nickelbabe Thu 18-Aug-11 17:07:23

JustGetting - i only grow veg i know i can grow, so no tomatoes for me! (black blighted tomatoes, anyone? shock )

LolaRennt Thu 18-Aug-11 17:08:16

what if the hens wont lay to poptest the ktchen scraps!

LolaRennt Thu 18-Aug-11 17:08:52

protest kitchen

nickelbabe Thu 18-Aug-11 17:09:10


they wouldn't do that would they? shock

let's hope not grin

SlackSally Thu 18-Aug-11 17:09:45

God, I do hate this 'aren't we all awful nowadays, everything was so much better sometime in the distant past. I am really materialistic/selfish/unfriendly/other undesirable quality, so everyone else must be just like me.'

You most often hear about it from people in late middle age 'ooooh, these young people don't know they're born, they all have computers and fancy phones, etc etc'.

Yeah, you tried competing for jobs without the internet?

Times change. At one time, clean running water was considered a luxury...

LolaRennt Thu 18-Aug-11 17:10:26

even chickens hate rationing!

iklboo Thu 18-Aug-11 17:11:35

Wonders where to keep me chickens & grow own veg in a mid Victorian terrace with a yard slightly larger than a wheelie bin........

Ormirian Thu 18-Aug-11 17:12:56

I'd commandeer my parents house. Nice big veg garden, orchard, lots of places to pick blackberries and hazelnuts etc. I think I could cope - just. When I was little mum was still in wartime mode - she made everything herself, she and dad grew all their own veg and fruit and stored, bottled, pickled or froze it. Everything was bought in bulk (in case!). Leftover weren't leftover for long. All clothes were home-made. I can remember it all changing around about the early 80s when all of a sudden mad luxuries like Hellmans mayo appeared in the fridge ! shock. I think I'd be alright but I suspect my generation might be the last to clearly remember living like that.

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