London show extols rations era for budgeting Brits

Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:36am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Rebekah Curtis

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - London's Imperial War Museum has some seasoned advice for Britons budgeting their way out of the worst economic downturn since World War Two, learn a tip or two from the wartime rationing years.

The museum's Ministry of Food exhibition is dedicated to war experiences affecting Britain and the Commonwealth since 1914 and is marking 70 years since World War Two food rations were introduced to Britain in January 1940.

And the anniversary strikes at a time when many Britons are once again struggling to make ends meet, with the British government this week pointing to hefty spending cuts in its annual budget.

Britain may not be facing the food shortages which it confronted in wartime, but its residents are on budgets again and economic austerity often hits eating habits.

"We're addressing the problems people are meeting today, making foodstuff go further," Terry Charman, senior historian at the museum, said of the exhibition.

"We've become a wasteful society over the years. Why not grow a lot more of one's own vegetables?" he said, adding that the wartime generations showed more austerity in the kitchen.

"My mother hates to throw food away."

The country's Ministry of Food introduced rationing on January 8, 1940 to counter shortages of staple foods such as milk, bread, butter, meat and sugar, supplying each citizen ration books and food coupons to ensure equal food distribution.   Continued...