It has been so long since I have written… and I am learning that keeping a house, working and all that goes into life – especially when rationing – keeps a person’s life very busy. I cannot imagine what life would have been like for a 1940’s woman – especially if she had children. She probably had a job, and then also had to keep house and the clothing of everyone… and she would have to creatively cook 3 meals a day for her family. A never ending job….
That is where the joy of coffee comes in –
There is nothing better than the wonderful smell of coffee brewing in the morning. That lovely smell of freshly ground beans – and the beautiful gurgle of the coffee maker (would have been a vacuumed coffee maker then – or an old enamel pot that boiled it).
The trick is- each person, age 15 and older, was allowed one pound of coffee every 5 weeks. One pound of coffee for five weeks? This I was not sure I could survive.
I started making 8 cups of coffee each week day morning – just enough for a small cup of coffee with breakfast and the rest went in my thermos for work. (I also allowed myself one cup of hospital coffee each day – you can tell me if that was cheating or not – I mean… its Hospital coffee!)
After the first week- I realized that I needed to keep track of how many scoops of beans I ground each day. Soon I switched from a table spoon to a teaspoon measurement. Then I carefully counted out eight scoops. A few times there would be left over coffee that I could not drink in the morning… There was no way that I was going to throw it out – it is valuable… so I found myself pouring it into a jar in the refrigerator – and using it to make cold coffee when I came home (add a little milk, sugar (very little), and some vanilla).
Each day – that bag got lighter and lighter… I still have a few weeks to go – so I cut the beans down to 5 scoops – and I made less coffee (which meant that I bought more hospital coffee – not sure how to handle this because restaurants still had coffee… but often it was mixed with chicory.) I knew that I had fully embraced this endeavor to live out WWII rationing when I realized that I was on my hands and knees in the kitchen with a broom- trying to retrieve every coffee bean that had fallen under the fridge and stove… I got them all, brushed them off, and put them in the grinder for coffee!!!
I will state that I made it! It was a celebration when I went and bought another pound of coffee… the second week of October.
The history behind coffee rations – Coffee was the second thing to be rationed. It actually was rationed before the US was fully in the war – all because of the supply routes were cut off from South America, Indonesia, and Arabia. It was the same reason for the rationing of sugar – the raw ingredients could not be gotten as much – and it was patriotic to let the troops to have what they needed first.