Saturday, 2 January 2010

And what do points make?

So, we've begun! Tomorrow I'll buy some bathroom scales so CJBS and I can chart just how rationing reduces our overstuffed frames. Today, I'll be shopping for fruit and vegetables at our local greengrocer (Colin Lunt - not joking, and, yes, I intentionally spoonerise that name normally, but won't here else Blogspot will throw me off) and also get our fat ration.

Having looked everywhere, I failed dismally to find the value of "points" - the 16 free coupons a month everyone got that could be used (with money) to buy treats and store cupboard items. However, seeking to put off planning my menu for the week and enjoying three cups made from one teaspoon of loose tea, I picked up one of my favourite books: Peter Hennessy's masterful Never Again: Britain 1945-1951. And it fell open at page 49 - a table of points-values from May 1945. This wasn't quite the high point of values that we're using (January 1940), nor the lowest (early 1942 and late 1946, I believe) but it's all I've got.

So, these are our "points". We have 16 to last a month, and the quantity is a pound (450g) - although that's a maximum, not a minimum (so if 16pts gets a pound of something, we can use 8pts to get half a pound):

Meat products: 16
Tinned soup: 4
Tinned fish: 16
Tinned fruit: 4
Tinned vegetables: 4
Dried fruit: 16
Nuts: 12
Biscuits: 4
Cereal: 8
Oatmeal: 4
Dried peas and beans: 4
Rice, sago, tapioca and semolina: 2
Pasta: 4
Jelly, custard powder, blancmange, table cream: 8
Tinned peas and beans: 3
Tinned stewed steak: 20

Additionally, 2 points gets a pint of condensed milk, and 1 point gets a fluid ounce (30ml) of olive oil, salad oil or salad cream.

And, yes, the British had heard of pasta in 1940, although it was known as macaroni if it was shaped and spaghetti if it wasn't. They'd also heard of olive oil, but you usually bought it from Boot's or Timothy White's, not from the grocer (although this in itself has become a lazy journalist's shorthand, as you could buy it for cooking purposes from delis and specialist food shops).

So, with those values set, I can now try to plan the first week's food.

1 comment:

Kecske said...

Best of luck chaps - I'll be watching with interest.