I’m into the last full week of my rations challenge. And thanks to lots of lovely generous people, I’ve raised £630.43 so far! So if you’re one of said lovely people, thank you. You’re making sure more hungry people get access to their fair share of food, and that’s a magnificent thing.
This has been an awesome experience. There have been highs and lows. The lows include: running out of fun things to make with potatoes. And wartime baking is a world away from my usual eggs-and-butter extravaganza and makes for dull, flat, sawdusty cake.
The highs include: learning to make bread and pastry with very few ingredients; Mary Anne Boermans (of Great British Bake-off fame) tweeting me recipe suggestions, and one lovely friend lovingly photocopying every single page of her own mother’s wartime scrapbook, with all the original food ministry leaflets and recipes for me. Loads of vital tips on ‘how to make the fat ration last’, ‘making the most of milk’. And what a privilege to see all the handwritten notes and comments from a real wartime cook!
Wartime recipes courtesy of a friend’s mum
Have you got a family recipe that comes from the rationing era? I’d love you to share it for my last week! @gleeandcakes on twitter!>>
So when I’ve been ready to throw in the towel and make a tomato omelette, your generosity has reminded me of why I’m doing this and then I’ve given myself a mental slap and got on with it. After all – I’m not starving. I’m not wondering where my next meal will come from, or trying to eke out £1 a day for my shopping.
Meanwhile, I’ve formed good habits. I’ve developed a keener sense of what I don’t need, and my shopping trolley is no longer overflowing with things I won’t finish before they go off.
Whereas usually in Lent, I find myself compensating for whatever I’m giving up – swapping my chocolate treat for a biscuit for example – this challenge is all about the overall amount of food available.
So the overriding issue most days is how to manage, how to make food last the week, and how to make do with what I have. And I really enjoy the planning and cooking and making rations stretch. I find it breeds gratitude for what I have.
Give thanks for the food we eat – why not add your own grace to our Grace wall?>>
I’m starting to fantasise about Easter Sunday lunch (my husband’s fabulous Nigerian goat stew, with the full works: rice, plantain, and my sister in law’s amazing akara), there are definitely some lessons I’ll do my darndest to take forward.
- I think local, seasonal food is the way forward. I’ll be trying to live by this maxim and recognise that food from overseas is a privilege.
- I CAN live on much less than I’m used to, and buying a sensible amount cuts bills and waste. So while I’m looking forward to more variety, I won’t increase the overall amount I buy.
- If we’re all going to have enough to eat, we should take only what we need of the world’s abundance. We need food systems to work for everyone, not just people who are lucky enough to live in certain countries. And this is within our power to change.
Have you added your voice to the fight against global hunger yet? Ask David Cameron to take action on food>>
Thank you so much for all your support this Lent. Despite the frustrations and occasional despondency, you’ve inspired and humbled me. The end is in sight for my challenge, and let’s pray that the end’s in sight for world hunger too!
About the Author: Claud Mba has worked in CAFOD’s digital communications team for three years. She lives with her husband in Kent and is a lifelong supporter of CAFOD’s work. This Lent she’s putting her love of 1940s style and culture to the test: getting sponsored to live on 1943 UK rations, in solidarity with people who don’t have enough to eat around the world.
You can read more about Claud’s challenge and sponsor her here: