Becci’s 1950s Ration Challenge

July 8th 2016

Beamish’s Becci Sharrock is taking on a challenge to live on 1950s rations for a week in the run up to the museum’s Festival of 50s.

Becci Sharrock with her eggless chocolate cake

Becci Sharrock with her eggless chocolate cake

Becci, Beamish’s creative writer in residence, is going sparingly on her sugar and taking it easy with her tea to try and understand what it was like for families living on rations during the Second World War, and into the 1950s.

Despite only being allowed 2oz of cheese and 4oz of margarine during the week (7th to 13th July) Becci said she’s excited about the challenge.

People will be able to follow her progress and see some of the recipes on her blog throughout the week,

She said: “I am actually looking forward to it. I worry about being hungry, but I’m pleased that bread and potatoes weren’t rationed. You can also have as many vegetables as you want, especially if you had grown them yourself, so in some ways I might actually be healthier from it.

“I’m a foodie anyway, writing for a food blog and owning a ridiculous collection of cook books – over 100! So I’m really interested in finding out about rationing during the ’50s, but I’ve never done anything like this before.

“Seeing how food and recipes have changed has been really fascinating.”

Rationing during the Second World War started in 1940 and only ended in 1954. During this time there was a push to “Grow Your Own” as families were encouraged to plant their own fruit and vegetables. Typical wartime recipes from the era included mock apricot pie, carrot fudge and rabbit pie.

Becci has used a range of cook books from the Beamish collection to come up with her meal plans for the week. Although chicken, rabbit and game were unrationed Becci is limited to 4oz of bacon and ham, 3oz of sweets and only one egg for the week.

She added: “I’m hoping, as well as getting an idea of what it might have been like for home cooks in the ’50s, that it will make me think a bit more about what I’m eating and encourage me to be a bit less wasteful.

“When things are rationed so tightly you have to make the most of all the food you have and I think that could be a really useful lesson.”

Beamish’s 1940s Farm is making ration inspired lunches from 7th to 13th July at 1pm in the farmhouse and two other food bloggers, Anna Pawlow and Jeff Lyall, are taking part in ration week.

Enjoying 50s rations at Beamish

Enjoying 50s rations at Beamish

Becci will be at the Festival of 50s, which takes place from 14th to 17th July, to talk about her week of rationing. Visitors to the museum can also treat themselves to a 50s hairdo, have a go on fairground rides or simply enjoy a milkshake in the sun at the festival.

Becci’s 10-month residency, which began in April, is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.