Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Ration

    In one of the last posts I mentioned that in the north I was given a "ration" for a year's supply of food. Some people may think of ration as a limit while others would think of it as a share. Some readers seemed a little bit worried about the ration.

    The ration was quite an interesting device. The ration was carefully and well planned for so that someone in isolation would have ample food for one year. The ration was also carefully devised so that a person would have a balanced diet. So there were foods from all food groups. 

    So there were cases of canned fruit and vegetables. There was a variety of canned juices. There were cases of soup. 

    We had canned meat such as bacon, ham, sausage, stew, sardines,  salmon , tuna and many more that I forget. We had powdered eggs that were good for baking or making scrambled eggs.

   We had lots of flour, yeast, sugar, cereal (both hot and cold). We also had macaroni, spaghetti and rice.  We had both canned potatoes and powdered potatoes. 

  We had powdered milk and a case of condensed milk. This was 1963 and powdered milk hadn't been around that long. It was miserable stuff to mix. I would use an egg beater and the only thing that happened is that I got a very dirty eggbeater as the stuff stuck to the egg beater. Now try washing your egg beater with this stuff on it!

   There were other dried things like onions, apples, raisins, prunes and apricots and probably a few more things that I forget. 

   Salt, pepper, pickles, ketchup were in the ration. There were a few boxes of cookies and biscuits. The biscuits were like hard tack . the biscuits were really good with coffee or tea. Rumor had it that the origin of rations went back to the second world war. We sometimes joked that they were left overs from the war.

    So you see that this was a very well planned food ration. 

    Now not everybody liked the rations. These for the most part were forms of foods we did not usually eat. There were some foods that people were not familiar with at all. Many people did not eat very much canned goods period. Very little canned meat was eaten. So the ration was a favorite topic of conversation. Many hot tips were exchanged on how to use some of the stuff. Many times people got together and traded things that they didn't like for things they did like. 

   So when care packages arrived from home they were much appreciated. Mom sent me samples of all her Christmas baking and extra of the stuff she knew I really liked.

   So there was no need to worry about my food. I hope I have covered some of the things readers were curious about.

   Oh yes , rations were good for something else. The ration came in one box that was about 6' by 3' by 2'. It would take three or four men to wrestle this beast to your apartment door. One of the girls was completely overwhelmed by the huge box. Before she figured out what to do some of us took her ration apart and piled it up like blocks so that it blocked the hallway. We thought it was a good practical joke. The next thing we knew the fire inspector came roaring through the building and told everybody that this blockade had better be down by 6 PM . Of course people who weren't in on it didn't want to clean up the mess. The culprits didn't want to do the cleaning because then they would be identified. We did get the mess cleaned up and then helped the girl unpack her stuff. I think we wanted to make contact with this cute girl and this was a lame brained way to do it.