70 Years Ago Today WWII Food Rations Went Into Effect

  • Source: National Museum of American History
  • Starting in March, 1943, 300 items were rationed in the U.S.

Source: Under His Wings
  • Source:  American Historical Society
  • Source: NC Learning
  • Instructions on the back of a ration book.

Source: NC Learning
  • Source: Ohio History Central
  • Source: Zazzle
  • Source: NC Learning
  • WWII Poster.

Source: Northwestern Library
  • Ration points for different food products.

Source: NC Learning
  • Prudence Penny wrote this cookbook to help women stretch the value of their ration coupons.
Source: National Museum of American History
  • Sugar allowance coupons.

Source: Northwestern Library
  • Ration stamps for coffee.

Source: CECOM Historical Office
  • Citizens were limited to buying one pound of coffee every five weeks.

Source: National Museum of American History
  • Source: Ames Historical Society

What if you couldn’t just head to the bodega and pick up basically anything you wanted whenever you wanted? Flashback to 70 years ago today, a time when common food items first fell under the WWII ration. Sugar and coffee were the first consumables to be under government control, followed by a bevy of processed goods. On March 29, 1943 America extended the rationing of foods to include meat, fats, and cheese. Until November 1945, items falling under the ration were only available to be purchased in quantities outlined by corresponding ration stamps. Government control of Boar’s Head deli lunches and Doritos—no thanks.

Click through the above gallery for a glance into WWII food rationing history and be glad for your freedom at the corner bodega.

[Sources: American Historical Society, The National Museum of American History]

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