food rationing

I recently moved out of Melbourne to live with my partner at the Hepburn Retreat Centre – where he manages and runs his own yoga retreats. A lush property full of fruit trees, we have the added experience of meeting lovely, like-minded people and can often join in on yoga classes, massage courses and meditation groups. The vegan food is also incredible.

I came for regular, romantic visits for about six months before deciding to pack up my warehouse apartment in the middle of Northcote, loving the idea of raising my son in the country at the same time as giving myself permission to  s l o w   r i g h t   d o w n  and live a simple, more sustainable life. A busy single mum, I was entering into the new realm of the two-parent blended family life with the wistful notion that life was going to get a whole lot easier….perhaps you know the same dream? – Country air, two boys to keep each other company, an extra set of parental hands, split-bills. Moving to a retreat centre had the added charm of living on a property devoted to spiritual reflection and self care.

While most of this has been true, it has not been without it’s hurdles – the hardest of which has been coming to terms with living on a vegan property and by extension, having a vegan diet. I have been a veg-aquarian for many years, with intermittent periods of red and gleeful carnivorousness, that generally coincide with my own internal rhythm. As a visitor, the vegan diet didn’t seem too challenging – I love fresh fruit and vegies, adore pulses and grains and have an adventurous, creative palette. No honey in my cups of tea were satiated by the sweet kisses of new-found love.

But then we unloaded the truck full of my hard-rubbish interiors, had somewhat challenging disagreements about furniture placements. (I am a rampant re-arranger and my partner revels in interior consistency and zen); raised questions about parenting styles and did that general domestic tango, seeking balance between Will and Won’t. It’s an incredible skill to stop needing to win and I felt like I had lost – big-time. No butter! No eggs! No cheese! And to top it off (I cried!) he can’t eat mushrooms, chilli, garlic, onions or anything with gluten in it. Nothing else in the world mattered and every inkling of a problem between us nestled in this well of vegan-discontent. Who cares about my reduced carbon footprint,  how do I bake without eggs?

If in doubt, look to the 1940’s.

With war-time rationing those incredible ladies had to make-do with the most frugal of commodities and they did a very fine job of it, thank you very much. During World War II, (according to Wikipedia) bacon, butter, sugar, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, milk and canned fruit were all strictly rationed. And there were laws enforced if you did breach these rations. Check out this visual rationing reference offering only 3 eggs per month!

food rationing table from 1940's

food rationing 1940's-style

I thought I was made of tougher stuff, but it took me only 2 weeks before my egg craving won out.  Some friends drove up from Melbourne, with their car-fridge stocked and took me to the park to cook scrambled eggs with Meredith fetta cheese for breakfast. Oh bless you T&B.

I’m happy to say I’m now doing my bit for the war-effort, with no sneaky egg stories to tell. Stay tuned for scrumptious vegan and gluten-free recipes.