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Rationing in WW1 - A Speedy Guide for KS2/KS3

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

World War 1 Rationing

In World War 1, the British Government set new laws introducing food rationing. The ships bringing food over to Britain from other countries were often bombed at sea by German U-Boats and never arrived. Additionally, a lot of Britain's food produce was being sent to the soldiers fighting on the front line. As a result, food became limited and very expensive, and people began to panic.

The Government introduced rationing as a way of sharing food fairly amongst everyone. Rationing applied to foods like sugar, meat, flour, butter and milk. Each person (even the royal family!) received ration cards that they could use at specific stores. Rationing meant that every person had access to food - even in a time when food was scarce.

But this didn’t mean that people weren’t hungry. The Government had to introduce harsh punishments for those who broke the rationing rules – including fines and even prison time.

Cooking With Rations

Luxury items (like those used to make a cake) were very difficult to come by during this time and morale was at an all time low. But the British people came up with a way to treat themselves, even in a time of war. They adapted recipes, substituting items they could no longer get their hands on with more readily available ingredients, to create home-cooked favourites to lift everyone’s spirits. There were even ration cookery books, such as “The Win-The-War Cookery Book”, packed full of revised recipes to fit with ration ingredients.


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