During the war, food, petrol and clothes were rationed. Everyone had a ration book and was only allowed so many tokens a week. Growing your own vegetables was encouraged.

Food - don't waste it logo Ration book Potato Pete Dig for Victory poster

Dried Egg recipe leaflet

Fresh eggs were scarce so people had to learn to use dried egg powder

A person's food allowance for one week consisted of :

Meat *:
to the value of 1s 2d
Bacon and ham:
4 oz (100g)
2 oz
2 oz
(50 –100g)
4 oz
Cooking fat:
4 oz
(100g) or less
3 pints
8 oz
1 lb
(450g) every two months
2 oz

1 fresh egg per week,
1 pkt dried egg every 4 weeks

12 oz
(350g) every 4 weeks

(*Sausages and offal were not rationed)

Source: 'We'll Eat Again', Marguerite Patten, 1985


Avril Appleton



Avril Appleton remembers,

'We kept chickens and geese, which I hated, they were horrible, and ducks. I had the job of getting the eggs. Sometimes we used to get rats and once there was this dead rat in the nest and they made me get it out. Then my mother got these Flemish Giants, rabbits that were called Flemish Giants, for the meat and so she could make clothes from the fur. Awful things, horrible great big things, you couldn't make a pet of them. But when they did get killed and mother sent it away, it cost her no end getting this fur cleaned and all it made was a small pair of mitts for me which I promptly lost.'

'So we always had fresh eggs and my dad used to grow tomatoes and vegetables in this big garden, but there was a big shortage of meat. I remember once my mother came home and said she'd got some horsemeat. We though, "Oh good", 'cos we thought that was something different, you know. Oh, but it was absolutely horrible it was, you couldn't eat it, it was really coarse and tough, horsemeat.

Avril came to York from Hull at the age of five with her mother. This is a photo of a group of evacuees from Hull arriving at Canon Lee School.

School photo ©Avril Appleton

Make Do and Mend booklet

Because clothes were rationed, people were encouraged to alter old clothes to make new ones, and to share and swap items with friends.

  Maureen Jerrum remembers:
Maureen Jerrum

'My mother used to be the seamstress for the army. So when a new soldier went in and his uniform didn't fit him, they used to bring the uniforms up to my mother's house, and she used to be given the measurements and change the size of the trousers or the waist or the arm had to be shortened.'

'All our confirmation dresses were made out of parachute silk. We all had silk blouses to start secondary school. She also made us our skirts. She had a boiler in the back kitchen, I don't know where she got the dye from but she used to put material in this boiler and boil it and she made us all our black skirts to go to school with. She utilised everything that she possibly could.



1. How much butter did one person have a week?

2. What job did Avril Appleton have to do for the family?

3. What happened to the fur from the Flemish Giants?

4. What did Maureen Jerrum's mother do with the old parachutes she got?

5. What food did Avril call horrible?

6. What job did Maureen's mum do during the war?

7. Where did Avril and the other evacuees from Hull arrive when they got to York?

8. How could you 'make do and mend'?

9. What ingredient could be used to make cakes and omelettes?

Imagine you had to feed Maureen's family – mum, dad and five daughters.
Work out how much you would need for a week's meals.



1.25 kg Potatoes
500g Cauliflower
500g Swede
500g Carrots
1 tsp Marmite
25g Oatmeal
4 Spring Onions
750g Potatoes
25g Cheese

1. Dice and boil the potatoes, cauliflower, swede and carrots in salted water.
2. Strain the vegetables, and save 200ml of cooking water.
3. Remove half the cooked potatoes and mash them.
4. Arrange the cooked vegetables in a large pie dish.
5. Add the Marmite and oatmeal to the vegetable water and boil until thickened.
6. Pour the thickened liquid over the vegetables.
7. Add the chopped spring onions.
8. Top the pie with mashed potato and a little grated cheese.
9. Heat the pie in a moderately hot oven until golden brown (approximately 1 hour).
10. Serve with brown gravy.

sponge pudding with jam


Grate 1 large raw potato and 2 medium raw carrots, mix in 1 breakfast cup breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon self-raising flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon flavouring (eg vanilla or lemon). Thouroughly stir in 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Coat the inside of a heated basin with 2 or 3 tablespoons of jam, allow to cool and fill with the pudding mixture. Tie on a cover of greased paper, steam for 2 hours.