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World War Two: Off-ration meals and treats


Children's party teas in the rationing and shortages of World War Two

party tea WW2

Children's party teas in the Second World War and its aftermath had to be resourced from within families' rations - something very difficult indeed in such a time of severe rationing and shortages. Yet some did take place. This page elaborates.


By the webmaster based on her early recollections, discussions with others and firsthand contributions

I don't remember going to many parties during wartime, which was hardly surprising because it was difficult enough to feed one's own family, let alone other people's. I do know though that adults seemed to think that jellies and blancmanges were real treats for children - although I didn't like them particularly myself.

Children's party food in wartime

The following recollections are from people slightly older than me, who have better recollections of wartime children's parties.

How to manage party food when sugar is rationed

One thing I remember was 'p.b.o.s.' written at the bottom of children's party invitations. It stood for 'Please bring own sugar'. Each child would turn up with about a teaspoon of sugar in a screw of paper, sometimes in an old matchbox, to replenish the sugar which the hostess had used in the making of jellies and blancmanges, etc.

John Cole

Shopkeepers' preferences for regular customers

There was always a limited supply of jellies and blancmange powder in the shops. These were, as far as I can remember, not rationed. The local grocer would try to share out his supplies among all his registered customers - but everything they wanted they had to ask for. It has all held under the counter.

Peter Johnson

Children's party food shortly after the war

I do remember going to children's parties shortly after the war. Rationing and austerity were rife and parents could not afford much in the way of luxury food. There were plenty of games, and parents put a great deal of effort into them. They had been brought up - as we were - to having to amuse themselves. So there was no shortage of ideas. Standard games were musical chairs and pass the parcel.

I never knew anyone buy in entertainers like today. I don't think they even existed.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased if you would contact me.

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