my oldest daughter. It was a cool, rainy day, but just walking inside the doors of the market,
brightened our day. The place was bustling with activity, and convinced us immediately
that it was the place to be.
Tin buckets filled with vibrant colored flowers, immediately drew our attention.
We could not walk past the stand without stopping to soak in the beauty of it all.
Colorful containers of candy lined the next stand.
What a clever way to display the many brands of candy. One could buy the jar candy by the
pound, half pound, or quarter pound. The display reminded me of an old country
Fresh produce is what especially caught my eye. We could almost taste the strawberries, as we
stood there looking at their bright red goodness.
I was overwhelmed with the abundance of fresh, flavorful food, that was displayed in such artistically skillful fashion.
As we walked, I could not help but have my mind wonder back to something that had transpired in
my life recently. At my mother's passing, me and my siblings were cleaning out her many closets
and cupboards. In one box of treasures, we found two old war rationing books, that she saved
from her childhood.
The books were dated and had her name printed on the front of it. The year was 1943.
Numbered stamps filled each weathered page.
I did not know she had saved these books. It was a sobering find for all of us, especially as we
read the back pages of the old books. It brought to our minds, details of a time that was unfamiliar
to our way of life. As I researched the time of "war rationing books", I discovered some more
~"Sugar was the first consumer commodity rationed, with all sales ended on 27 April 1942 and
resumed on 5 May with a ration of .5 pounds per person per week, half of normal consumption.
Bakeries, ice cream makers, and other commercial users received rations of about 70% of normal
usage. By the end of 1942, ration coupons were used for nine other items. Typewriters, gasoline,
bicycles, footwear, silk, nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, shortening and food oils, cheese,
butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled, and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk,
firewood and coal, jams, jellies, and fruit butter were rationed by November 1943. Many
retailers welcomed rationing because they were already experiencing shortages of many items
due to rumors and panic, such as flashlights and batteries after Pearl Harbor."
~Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Article, "Rationing in United States.
As my daughter and I stopped to buy cups of coffee during our market visit, I remembered
back to what I read about the restrictions of coffee in those "war rationing" days.
I thought to myself, how abundant our coffee supply is now, in our country. Coffee
shops fill our cities and towns, and visiting local coffee shops have become a way
of life for many today.
"Ask anyone who remembers life on the Home Front during WWII about the
strongest memories and chances are they will tell you about rationing. You see,
the war caused shortages of all sorts of things, rubber metal, clothing and
etc. But it was the shortages of various types of food that affected just about
everyone on a daily basis.
Food was in short supply for a variety of reasons; much of the processed
and canned foods was reserved for shipping overseas to our military and our
Allies, transportation of fresh foods was limited due to gasoline and tire
rationing, and the priority of transporting soldiers and war supplies instead of
Because of these shortages, the U.S. government's Office of Price
Administration established a system of rationing that would more fairly
distribute foods that were in short supply. Every American was issued a series
of ration books during the war. The ration books contained removable stamps
good for certain rationed items, like sugar, meal, cooking oil, and canned
goods. A person could not buy a rationed item without also giving the grocer
the right ration stamp. Once a person's ration stamps were used up for a month,
she couldn't buy any more of that type of food. This meant planning meals
carefully, being creative with menus, and not wasting food. More than 8,000
ration boards across the country administered this program."
~The National WWII Museum/New Orleans: Learn: For Students:
Primary Sources: Ration Books
Reading all of this new information, truly helped me understand better, the
way my mother would at times, stock pile certain items in her pantry.
At a young and quite impressionable age, she had lived through these rationing
years, and it left an indelible impression on her. Hence, that is why we
discovered many jars of peanut butter, crackers, and coffee in her pantry.
I guess the best way to sum up this newly acquired information would be stated on
the last sentence, on the back of her rationing book;
"If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT!"
For me personally, I want to be reminded continually, to be thankful every day for
All that I have. I want to live with an attitude of gratitude, because one never knows
how long that abundance will remain.
Thank you dear Mother, for yet another lesson I have learned from you, in my
I was wondering if any of you who stopped by my blog today, have your own memories
of the days of rationing in America? If so, would you care to share?
Thanks you for stopping by today.