Whilst the diary entries reflect the reliance on seasonal produce and the repetitive and limited choices, especially during the winter months, they don’t really convey the meagreness of the rations and the reliance on personal ingenuity to supplement the official rations. There is a lot of information available about rationing on the Web, but a basic overview can be found in Wikipedia which provides a good background context.
Frank’s diary also refers to an allotment. This was located in Old Deer Park and was part of a wider national effort to turn open spaces to productive use, which included a number of London parks.
The rabbits which feature in the diary were not fluffy family pets, but a practical way of providing meat. These were kept in the back garden at 3 Evelyn Road, along with Chickens, until well into the early 1950’s - with rationing continuing into the fifties and actually becoming more restrictive immediately after the war.
Notes made by Frank in 2005 and headed ‘food’ also contain a number of anecdotes that refer to the thirties, but which resonate in the diary:
“Grand-dad had apple trees in the back garden & kept some apples upstairs as prize apples. I assume to put in a show. One day my cousin Peter and I found them and decided to roll them down the stairs. (We were probably only 4 or 5 year old). The family heard the bump, bump down the stairs & came running out to see what was happening. The apples were bruised & not fit for showing & grand-dad was furious. Poor Peter, who didn’t live at the house, got the blame apparently for leading me astray. I always seemed to be grand-dad’s favourite.”
“When we were all living together there was an old fire-range in the living room at Evelyn Road. All the cooking was done on that & my main memory is of the large stew pot being in constant use on the range. The soup/stew was very appetising.”