Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Bran Tub # 10: Controlled Commodities - "The Two Cheeses” ...




In World War 2 many items were unavailable, or rationed and only available with coupons … but I had not realised quite what this meant.

Princess Elizabeth on
her wedding day 1947

Food was one thing … and fuel … and clothing – borne out by Princess Elizabeth having to use coupons for her wedding dress … a lot of donations ensued, I’d guess.


But … furniture, soap, paper, razor blades, baby bottles, pots and pans … well these were controlled too – hence the phrase “Controlled Commodities”. 



Living Room Furniture


New furniture was rationed and issued under the “Domestic Furniture (Control and Manufacture and Supply (No 2)) Order 1942” to newly-weds and anyone whose home had been bombed out.





Utility Furniture Design
(1943) continued after the War
- this was made by Heal and
Son in 1947
Life and times were frugal … all items were kept to be re-used, all food was used up (or composted), there were no extras … with the government encouraging food production, making everything for ourselves … toys would be made …


The aspects I most remember, as I was born after the War and rationing, other than sweets, has evaporated from my mists of memory time, are the ones that have come to prominence in later years relating to the Queen’s wedding in 1947 …



I used to live near here ... so this
orange box had to go in!


The two royal kneelers, used during the wedding, were covered in rose pink silk, made from orange boxes, due to war time austerity, but controlled commodity date stamped 1946.





The utility clothing symbol


Now where did the enticing title of “The Two Cheeses” come in … the same logo was used for Utility Furniture as had been developed for the Utility Clothing Scheme: two capital letter Cs with a two digit year date – referring to “Controlled Commodity 1941” … rapidly becoming known as “The Two Cheeses” …




It's easy to see here ... how it
got its name ...


However - ‘The utility symbol … also became recognised as a guarantee of high quality materials and workmanship …’  … even spawning the run of Utility Furniture Catalogues from 1943 – 1952.




There are some wonderful stories that came out during the war tales of British spirit and determination to get by … sadly tales of woe – but that is war.


Utility bedroom furniture


Austerity and pulling our belts in is never easy … but the Controlled Commodity symbol did its bit for Britain … including reminding us, through its symbol, that ‘there was food ahead’




I guess I had one of these,
but never saw it



… with the winding down of rationing after the War, the increasing availability of materials such as aluminium, plywood, various timbers and fabrics … the British public were starting to demand choices other than ‘utility’ – so “The Two Cheeses” disappeared into historical records.






Thank goodness for the range of items and foods we have today – we should remember to count our blessings and be glad we’re not living in the era of “The Two Cheeses”!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

63 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

I remember the Utility mark but not that it was called the two cheeses. I do remember the wooden toys (A lorry and a fort) my Dad made for me from a discarded toilet seat.

Elephant's Child said...

My mother and her first husband and their three children came to Australia in the early 1950s. At that time fruit was still being rationed and when they landed in Perth I gather my brothers had never seen a fruit stall - and the whole family had upset tummies after gorging on unfamiliar luxuries.
How soon we forget...

A Heron's View said...

I well recall seeing the utility mark on furniture in fact I still have one or two pieces in my home. Plywood has it's origins in Egypt and it was readily available all through the war - with aircraft and boats such as the MTB's being made from this material. As for food rationing well actually people in Britain were far healthier than they are today.

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post. We were lucky during the years after the war. My father owned a garage on the main London Rd just outside Bath. Many farmers came in for work to be done and extra payments in farm produce were regular. Also shooting rabbits up on the moor was a regular past time. I do not remember ever being short of anything and as my Mum was an excellent cook she had a knack of making things taste wonderful. Keep well Diane

Annalisa Crawford said...

I hadn't realised rationing was so wide-scale. My parents remember when sweet rationing ended - Mum more than Dad, because she's younger and it meant more :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If that logo had been made in more recent times it would've been the two Pac-Mans.

Patsy said...

I knew food, clothing and fuel were rationed, but I hadn't realised how many other things were. Although I wouldn't want rationing to return, sometimes I think it might be better for us if we couldn't simply buy whatever we want whenever we fancy it and not have to consider the resources used to produce it, the distance it's travelled and the loss of seasonal produce and many local companies.

Kenda Turner said...

Very interesting post, enjoyed reading about all of these details. Cupons needed to buy a princess's dress? What a story!

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

It is always good to remember how dire things were. People nowadays can be a little wasteful.

Alex's comment made me laugh. He's right. Oh how times have changed.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My parents went through the depression and the rationing of WW11. I grew up appreciating everything I had and seldom asked for for more. This world of greed now is so discomforting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob – I had no idea … so finding out this snippet of information was fascinating … how lovely to have the toy lorry and fort – perhaps knowing they were from a toilet seat didn’t impact in your childhood!

@ EC – I can imagine the upset tums … poor kids … and I know fruit stalls (barrows) only came in after the War … my father used to buy odd fruits at Waterloo Station on his way home – the Ugli fruit I remember! Exactly, how soon we forget – it really wasn’t that long ago …

@ Mel – oh what fun to know you’ve a piece or two of Utility Mark(ed) furniture still roaming around at home – they have survived the test of time.

Now I didn’t know Plywood came from Egypt – the early concept … it’s an interesting way of producing wood full of strength and pliability. I remember gliders being pretty flimsy affairs – I used to glide with the older craft.

Re food rationing … I agree today we are healthier because of that early upbringing – eating seasonally and more healthily.

@ Diane – my parents grew or nurtured our food … fresh garden vegetables and fruits, reared animals, then pickles, bottled veg and fruits …

Sounds like your family did have extras, which I’m sure were shared out … I don’t think we shot rabbits – myxomatosis had come in (early 50s) …

Yes my mother was an excellent cook … and we weren’t under-nourished … as you say we were lucky …

@ Annalisa – I was interested to find out more … and your parents and I must be much of an age – it was ice-lollies that I loved!!

@ Alex – I thought there’d be some correlation to this day and age – the two cheeses are too iconic … but hadn’t thought of Pac-Mans … and they could too have been early precursors of the Pac-Man game …

@ Patsy – I hadn’t realised the extent of rationing … never thought about it – but we could definitely do with some restraint re shopping in today’s age. Also we do need to think more re so many things ... the resources you mention to produce it, the miles travelled and as you remind us the loss of seasonal produce and thus many business along the way.

@ Kenda – good to meet you from Lynn’s blog … I’ll be over to your blog soon. I know the War years were very difficult over here …

@ Holly – isn’t it good to be reminded how lucky we are … if only people would think and consider more.

Alex’ comment was a classic wasn’t it … and as you say times have changed …

@ Arleen – my parents would have been early teens in the late 1920s/early 1930s and then as young adults (20 ish) started their lives with a War … so difficult for them. I certainly appreciated everything I had, and made it last … you are right – life is discomforting at times …

Thanks – so glad you found the post interesting and many of you compared today to back then and the challenges, so many faced … all the best - Hilary

Bish Denham said...

England really took it on the chin, and yet you persevered and wouldn't give up, a testament to the English spirit!

I know there was plenty of rationing here in the US, but we didn't have bombs falling on us.

John Holton said...

We had rationing here in the US as well during WWII. Mom said she lost the ration book once (she was ten or so) and they had to rely on the priests at Loyola University (where my grandfather taught) until they could get another. Pretty scary stuff...

Jacqui Murray said...

What an interesting read. Money was always tight in my family. I never associated it with the war, rather thought of eating leftovers, passing down clothing, never getting rid of furniture as the way life was lived. I still like that approach.

Suzanne Furness said...

Indeed we should count our blessings. It is hard in this modern world to remember sometimes that things weren't always as now. Interesting to read about the furniture and the utility marks.

Mason Canyon said...

We do forget sometimes (well most of the time) just how fortunate we are. Since fewer people raise a garden, I can't image what it would be like if food was rationed nowdays.

quietspirit said...

When my grandpa died in February 1980, his wife found a ration book issued to her nephew whom they raised. I had never seen one before. I didn't realize furniture was rationed in England. I found it interesting that Princess Elizabeth had to use coupons to get her wedding dress. I also marvel at the ingenuity of the two kneeling benches.

Janie Junebug said...

I didn't realize that so many items were rationed--even baby bottles. I read a couple of times that many people donated their clothing coupons so Princess Elizabeth could have her beautiful wedding gown. I'm sure the wedding cheered a lot of people after wartime austerity.

Love,
Janie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bish – we did suffer under terrible conditions here in the UK – and as you say our country didn’t give up – we certainly have spirit. As you say you also had some rationing … but didn’t have the bombs …

@ John – I saw mention of your rationing via Bish above. Oh dear your poor mother – she’d have been devastated … as well as causing a few problems for her parents, grandparents … thank goodness for Loyola Uni …

@ Jacqui – we were always careful with our money and it wasn’t splashed around … we too always ate leftovers, and I’m sure passed down clothes, or altered them – but I was the only girl – and used hand-me downs. Like you – I prefer to live frugally …

@ Suzanne – we should count our blessings shouldn’t we … exactly people don’t seem to remember how difficult things were – or can’t even contemplate that sort of situation. I thought the furniture having utility marks was an interesting snippet of war time history – I didn’t know.

@ Mason – unfortunately we do forget how lucky we are today. I know fewer gardens … and we’ve just had terrible weather in Spain – which washed out various crops … so we are having a small introduction to these possible lack of food sources … I try and live via the seasons … but I do love a salad for my lunch.

@ QS – interesting story about your grandfather with the ration book used by a nephew they were raising. I hadn’t realised furniture was rationed either … but it was wonderful that people clubbed in with clothing coupons for the Princess Elizabeth, clever as you say to use the orange boxes for their kneelers …

@ Janie – I also hadn’t realised quite how many items were rationed … I guess everything. Yes the story about Princess Elizabeth getting donated clothing coupons is quite well known … but more importantly you’re right I gather the wedding cheered up a lot of people … while wartime austerity still raged.

Cheers to you all – so glad this post has interested you … Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There was rationing here but we never had the two cheeses.

Joanne said...

The royals did set good examples during wartime, it seems. I can't even fathom the restrictions, the air raids, etc. My father talks about his memories as a young man in PA and what they did for the war effort. Quite a history and the Greatest Generation indeed.

Out on the prairie said...

I think many of us live a frugal life if raised by parents who survived this era.

Robert Bennett said...

So incredible to consider. I'm too young to have experienced it and the best I can offer was my parents both instilled a nearly militaristic style of parenting.

That said, I can only imagine what many of the young people, hell...the baby boomers, would react to this same concept and seeing wanton use-and-refuse tactics halted.

Liz A. said...

Amazing to think how everything had to be rationed. I don't know if people today would be able to stand it.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hilary, my parents were in grade school during WWII and we had rationing here too. They would turn in any scrap metal as this was recycled into the war effort. They have lots of cool stories to tell. I gleaned a few in put them in Salem's Daughters as a tribute to my parents.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - I gather you had rationing ... but had seen no mention of the utility mark demands (i.e. the two cheeses) - you probably had sufficient resources to cope ...

@ Joanne - the Royals still use the same family china as they did before the War ... must be very carefully washed! Yes, the administration of restrictions and getting it all set up, and then families having to comply - I hadn't thought about that too much. The air raids must have been terrible.

Is your father remembering now about the war period ... as I know you are spending quite a lot of time with him, helping him. There is a lot of history - and that generation really did do their best for us all.

@ Steve - certainly we are aware of being careful and looking after things, and doing what we can for ourselves ... not relying on others ...

@ Robert - it is difficult to consider isn't it. Our parents or grand parents certainly had the most difficult time ... we were brought up strictly too ...

Oh now - people struggle as it is - they can't do so many things or won't try - I find it quite dispiriting ...

@ Liz - it is difficult to not think of popping up to the shops for one item - I agree - many wouldn't know what to do ...

@ Stephen - yes there was recycling then too ... all metal was reused ... I'm glad you put some of the stories into your book Salem's Daughters as a tribute to them ...

Thanks so much - so good to hear we all relate in some way or another to the war period ... I know it was a really difficult time for so many. Cheers Hilary

Susan Scott said...

Thanks Hilary - very interesting! Austerity is probably rearing its head again worldwide? I think of so many who have to go without. And water is becoming more scarce ...

troutbirder said...

Most interesting. I'm reading a book now about FDRs envoys (Wells, Hopkins, Harriman, Donovan)sent to G.B in 40 & 41. At one point during the Battle of the Atlantic the nations food supply was down to several weeks. Rationing indeed....

diedre Knight said...

What an exceptional post, Hilary. Hardships notwithstanding, the resulting pennywise practices, skilled workmanship, and proficient food production all speak volumes about the ‘spirit’ required – and pride rewarded – to those who choose to prevail rather than perish in times of adversity. I fear that in this day and age we would not be worthy of such noble accolades.
I’d love to run across that CC label one day. Thanks for such an uplifting reminder that the indomitable spirit of hope can and does exist!

Mark Noce said...

I'm fascinated by this era of history, but had never heard of the two cheeses! Thanks for sharing:)

cleemckenzie said...

There were ration books and saving aluminum foil by making them into balls. Butter was a luxury and Nucco the norm. Everything in the U.S. was about the war effort. We didn't suffer by such widespread bombing devastation as the Brits, so for that we were grateful. Elizabeth was married during a very difficult time, but the country pulled it off. You guys are a sturdy bunch. :-)

I've been on a break, but great to be back!

LD Masterson said...

My dad used to tell us stories of rationing during the war. My favorite was about my grandmother trying to convince my grandfather that the mushed up yellow stuff (early margarine was a block of white lard-like substance that came with a little packet of yellow coloring) she put on the table was real butter. He was never fooled.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My mom used to talk about rationing. My parents were always frugal and I think they learned that during the war. They were lucky to live in the country where they grew most of their own food.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan – it looks like austerity will rear its head for us here in the UK – with Brexit … yet there are so many much worse off – and water is becoming so scarce …

@ TB – how interesting to hear about the book you’re reading … yes at one point Britain was in serious difficulties with very short reserves of food … as you rightly mention.

@ Diedre – many thanks … I know the person who inspired this post will be pleased to hear her talk has prompted lots of discussion. We were a nation of getting through and overcoming adversity … and there is (I hope and believe) an indomitable spirit in the Brits … who would love peace to reign across the world.

@ Mark – good to know you enjoy this era of history …

@ Lee – I hadn’t realised you had ration books too … but we saved aluminium (milk bottle tops here were a source) … thankfully America picked up the baton and helped us through the War – though we suffered as much as Europe.

I’m glad the Royal wedding took place and has been a happy time for them – ups and downs too (granted) … yes I think we are a fairly steadfast nation with strong characters …

Good to see you back – and am happy to read you had a lovely break …

@ LD – wonderful funny story about your grandparents – I guess there was a lot of ‘fooling’ – certainly there were some interesting concoctions, which I’d struggle to eat –but needs must sometimes. Block of white lard-like substance coloured up with yellow colouring … how funny! I’m sure he knew exactly what was going on …

@ Susan – frugality reigned in the generations touched by war – everything was precious and could always be re-used. I know my parents were exceedingly handy and efficient with everything they did … and when I was born were selling parsley for extra cash (vitamin C) and were almost self-sufficient from the garden …

Interesting to read all the comments – and has certainly set me off on some other threads of thought … thanks so much to one and all – so good to see you here … cheers Hilary

Lynn said...

My mom was a teenager during World War II and my dad joined the US Navy at age 18 toward the end of the war - he was excited to go, and thankfully came back all in one piece.

My mom and grandmother were going through old papers once, when I was a young teen, and came across some ration books. They were explaining them to me - so eye opening. I had not heard of rationing.

And it explained why my mother loved oranges so much. They were always her favorite and they couldn't get them during the war. There was always a bowl of oranges on their kitchen table and she had one every day until the end of her life. I think of her every time I see an orange.

Murees Dupé said...

Your words are so true, Hilary. I think the modern era has spoiled us a lot, or at least me. I can't image having to live with rations, or being limited to what is available. Water is currently very precious here in the Western Cape. We're having problems with drought, and water restrictions have been put in place. It is such a strange thing. But like you said, we should count our blessings. Wishing you well.

Christine Rains said...

We definitely need to count our blessings. I agree with Murees that we're a bit spoiled, even I who live in a small house.

Diane Weidenbenner said...

We take so many things for granted in this day and age. I was fascinated by your post, about the things that were rationed or that had shortages. I remember my grandmother saying that she remembers when bread was a nickel. She certainly lived during that time. I found you through the IWSG - so glad I did. Happy writing! http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com/iwsg-chicken-or-the-egg/

A Cuban In London said...

I've heard so much about the rationing during the war. Fantastic and informative post as usual. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Murees - yes so many are 'spoiled' by having it had it relatively easily for the last seventy years. I'd struggle with rations - but would manage ... water is a very difficult subject, and not easy to get around if there are drought conditions ... I guess we need to learn how to conserve water - and always do it ...

But thank you for the pertinent comment ...

@ Christine - yes anyone in the western world is blessed with most things easy to find ...

@ Diane - good to meet you here and thanks for your link ... I'm glad the post has given you 'food' for thought re your parents and grandparents. I think things were very difficult - particularly for us here and on the continent ...

@ ACIL - I'm just glad the post enlightened you about rationing in the war -did you have rationing in Cuba?

Good to have your comments and to see you ... cheers Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

I knew about rationing during the war but not much else. Thanks for the interesting history. I think it was a bit different in the states, especially considering the late entry into the war.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

There's so much I admire about that generation and their positive attitude and willingness to keep their chins up through austerity is one of them. Thanks for sharing this--this is the first I've heard of the 'two cheeses!'

Rhodesia said...

Hilary you said about photos from Africa, take a look at my other blog, dailydiarydps there are a number of them there over the past couple of weeks. Diane

Julie Flanders said...

Oh, it's funny that logo came to be known as the Two Cheeses. Easy to see why!
I've recently watched The Crown on Netflix so it was interesting to read about Elizabeth's wedding dress and other details about the wedding.

DMS said...

I can't remember any times when there was rationing going on since I have been alive. I know there was rationing in the US during the 70s, but I was born in the early 70s- and don't have any memory of gas rationing or anything like that.

I had no idea about the Two Cheeses- but easy to see where the name came from (reminds me of Pac Man- the video game character). Times of rationing definitely make people more resourceful and I think it is wonderful that nothing went to waste- but definitely very hard not to be able to get the food and supplies one wanted. We are definitely lucky if we live in an area where we have what we need. Makes me appreciate my morning coffee even more.

Thanks for sharing- I learned a lot. :)
~Jess

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Compared to the austerity measures of the forties, it's hard to believe how many choices are to be found in stores nowadays. Sometimes, I think we have TOO many choices. (I mean, how many different brands of raisin bran do we NEED?)

Fascinating post, Hilary. Cheers!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Definitely! We have so much bounty. It's incredible. I've heard stories about all the foods my dad didn't get to eat, just growing up land "poor" on a farm. Sugar was an exciting commodity - although they did have cheese from the dairy farm they had. :)

Keith's Ramblings said...

I too was born after the war, just! I remember nothing of the rationing which was going on. I do however remember utility marks, although I will have learned of their significance years later. Another gem of a post Hilary. Thank you.

beste barki said...

I was born after the war too and I was thinking about this the other day. Having lived in those times made my generation frugal and less prone to commercialism than the following generations I would think.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda – I didn’t know much more than that … but finding out about these controlled commodities gave me a new insight – so am glad the post resonated.

@ Elizabeth – couldn’t agree more … I see the things my parents and their parents went through and how they coped, utilising those skills later in life even though easier ways were available … which they did embrace.

@ Diane – thanks … I did pop over and will do so again to the photo blog.

@ Julie – isn’t the logo just so appropriate “The Two Cheeses”. The Crown I think was made for Netflix (the American Entertainment Group) … I’m sure it’s a very good documentary calling on the old film reels and new information available now. I’ve not seen it and don’t use Netflix …

@ Jess –glad you learnt ‘a lot’ – thanks. I’d forgotten about the oil crisis and the ‘rationing’ that ensued … it was tricky here.

Yes – Pac-Man raised his head re his look-alike to “The Two Cheeses”. We certainly appreciated everything we had … making sure we looked after things … and as you say being resourceful. I too am now enjoying my coffee …

@ Tyrean – we are lucky in the 21st C we do have things … interesting to read about your father and his lack of choice, despite being on a farm … sugar being exciting … yes I remember an orange with a sugar cube in it … and sucking the juice out through the cube of sugar … so good! Lucky parents having the milk, butter and cheese from their dairy herd.

@ Keith – so you’re like me … vague remembrances, but not the anxiety about food etc, which our parents had. I certainly don’t remember utility marks … certainly explains the excitement of the Ideal Home Exhibitions when they started. Great – and thanks for the thumbs up …

@ Beste – you’re right we appreciated what we had … and were frugal and definitely less prone to commercialism … setting standards for us to follow: I know their attitudes washed onto us and stuck …

Thanks everyone – I’m fascinated that you’ve all enjoyed this post … that’s great news – cheers Hilary

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

My mother still has a Utility Furniture chest of drawers, it's pretty unique these days - the bottoms of the drawers are made of WOOD and you can get a decent amount of stuff in them.

Nick Wilford said...

We tend not to think that even the Royal Family were affected by rationing. Fascinating stuff. I do think the creator of Pacman may have grown up with the Two Cheeses symbol...

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary
Hope you're well and dry!
I'm back from my Outback jaunt and catching up on blogs. While I was away, I saw a tv program on re-using things and how people have lost their 'fix it' skills. You say...'Life and times were frugal … all items were kept to be re-used.' But did you know it's now illegal, yes illegal! to fix many things -- oh we might hurt ourselves or something! It wouldn't have anything to do with wanting to sell you something every few years, now would it? Apple is apparently the worst. I'm glad people are becoming less throwaway now and finding ways to re-use or re-purpose...

Denise :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John - gosh - how amazing ... another commenter with a piece of Utility Furniture. Yes I remember looking at furniture and being shown wooden bottoms to drawers ... and how well the furniture was made - proper joints etc ... and again depth - I hate shallow drawers! Fascinating - thanks for telling us ...

@ Nick - that's right - the Royals are quite frugal in their own family life and careful ... still known today I think (mainly!). Trouble with Pac-Man ... it was invented in Japan by a Japanese corporation ... so I don't think the two cheeses symbol and pac-man coincided or influenced one another ... but who knows!

@ Denise - welcome back ... and I'm fine thank you. Re fixing things - yes it is illegal and often plain stupid in this day and age to fix things ... but so many can be done privately ... not in the public space.

Common sense comes into play ... just we don't need to go out and get something new - when an old bowl (for instance), or some string from an old wrapper would do - rather than something brand new that costs ...

Planned Obsolescence was around when I started work ... but really I've always hated spending money on something new for the sake of it ... so you've added to the conversation and given us something to think about - and then Apple and similar others fall within the Moore's Law counter-example ...

It's an interesting time period ... but I still think we need to know how to do things (safely)/ make a plan and get round the problem ... otherwise we can't get on with life ...

But we rely too much on things being done for us, without that knowledge - it's useful to have it available in times of emergency ...

Cheers to you all - thanks so much ... so interesting to read the comments and 're-think' things ... have good weeks - Hilary

Nilanjana Bose said...

War times are always tough, and WWI and II both affected every last person in every country

I think my generation just grew up with the idea of reuse and recycle everything - milk in glass bottles, newspapers made into packaging material, clothes handed down, nothing was thrown away if it could be repaired. And wasting one grain of rice on my plate could get me into serious trouble :) that's because my parent's generation went through a famine as children...times were indeed frugal and needs also matched to suit.

Rationing of course remains part of the food distribution system in India, just don't use it myself because I live away. It's important for families who can't afford to buy stuff at market prices.

Theresa Milstein said...

Hilary, this is fascinating. Because (with the exception of Pearl Harbor) WWII wasn't fought in the US, so our sacrifices for goods were smaller. We also entered the war later. Many factories were converted to make items for wartime. As a result, people were encouraged to plant "victory gardens" and to recycle. It's hard to believe your queens would have to use coupons.

Silvia Villalobos said...

We should remember to count our blessings, indeed. Thank you for this detailed post on historic events, Hilary. If only we'd treat history accordingly, and work hard not to repeat it.

Deborah Weber said...

Oh I do love the "two cheeses" symbol and it has now worked itself into my brain inspiring all manner of tales. I organized a collaborative art project some years ago with a few American rationing booklets I managed to get hold of. It was meant to be an invitation to look deeply at resources and limitations and the endless creativity such parameters can engender.

Your post is indeed a valuable reminder to count our blessings, as well a fascinating historical look.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nila - wars are terrible - and as you rightly say those two wars really affected every last person in every country (near enough) ... so true.

We certainly followed on our parents, kept, recycled, re-used in some way everything and rarely bought new ... it was the way it was. Food was used carefully following the seasons ... we had the Depression .... but I'm sure your famine times were far worse ...

I'm interested in reading that rationing still forms part of the food distribution in India - I hadn't taken that into account... and obviously living away you don't need to use it. I'm sure it's an essential way of ensuring people have something to eat ... those who can't buy at market prices ... thanks for telling us this ...

@ Theresa - yes the States didn't suffer as much as we did over here in the UK or Europe. Thanks for letting us know about "victory gardens" - and the factories 'churning' out items for the war effort ... The Royals had to comply too ... though King George and his wife did stay in London during the blitz ... and visited bombed sites ...

@ Silvia - the generations after WW2 are lucky ... and we need to remember those really difficult times. If only ...... if only ..... we could keep the peace and live happily ever after ... by working hard not to put ourselves onto a war footing ...

@ Deborah - isn't it a fun symbol ... and I'm glad it's giving you some creative ideas. How fascinating your collaborative art project sounds ... I'm sure some of the ideas would have sunk in and hit home ... it's so difficult think of those lean times when surplus abounds ...

Just glad you enjoyed the post - with its reminder for today and remembering the history of that decade not so long ago ...

Cheers to you - I'm so glad this post resonated with you all and reminded you of things and past events ... Hilary

Gattina said...

When I read this I have to think about my childhood. I didn't realize the daily fight for food because I was a little child born in 43. But I always remember that my parents only got milk because of me. It was the same as in your country. Only on the countryside it was a bit better because you could swap food against oriental carpets or jewels ! My mother used to collect remaining potatoes after the farmer had harvested ! Rough times. Fortunately I was a child !

Chrys Fey said...

Hmm....I commented on this post a while ago but I don't see my comment. Darn, Blogger!

It's amazing to find out what had to be rationed during the war. We definitely take too much for granted these days.

Karen Lange said...

I had no idea! How interesting. I knew about the rationing from books and stories from my grandparents. But I guess I was unable to picture how far reaching it was, down to a wedding dress. Appreciate you enlightening us, Hilary. You never fail to inform and entertain me. Thanks so much! Have a great week! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - I know it's difficult to remember what life was like, or to know what it was like. Yes we too had special rations for pregnant women and for babies ... yes compared to your life (Britain v Germany) I guess we were in that respect slightly freer. Rough times indeed ...

@ Chrys - I know blogger does some funny things - mostly it works just fine - but I can't comment occasionally - so thanks for coming back... appreciate that.

As you say we do take too much for granted and forget how much others have gone through for us to be as we are. We also waste far too much...

@ Karen - I hadn't taken on board that everything was rationed, I'm sure I knew - but just hadn't realised what it entailed ... no wonder my parents' generation instilled the 'waste not want not' phrase into the way of life. Thanks Karen - just glad you enjoyed the post and snippets of knowledge it contained.

Thanks so much for commenting and adding to the conversation - we will learn more as the 100 years anniversary for the end of WW1 next year 2018 comes around ... it's worth remembering ... cheers Hilary