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Patricia Nicol’s Sucking Eggs

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This book was actually the impetus for me to sit down and start blogging. Nicol’s book is both a historical overview of the day-to-day challenges of the Home Front and a call to action for us modern folk to return to some of the Home Front ways. The book details various things that the war generation either did willingly or had to put up with, and what we can learn and use from that. For instance, Nicols talks about fuel rationing during the war and suggests that “is your trip really necessary?” be asked more and more frequently nowadays, especially when someone is travelling by car.

Nicols also outlines how she changed her life to more reflect the Home Front, and one of the areas that was most interesting was that she put herself on clothes rationing. I do this out of necessity, but I have been considering using clothing coupons as a way of budgeting for clothes. Unfortunately, that would mean also rationing my wool purchases, especially since I would want to be very true to form, and I like knitting as a hobby too much now to figure out if rationing would cut into to my knitting. (that is really self-serving, isn’t it?)

I really liked this book up until the very, very end, when Nicol mentioned how she had adapted her eating habits to reflect what would have been eaten during WWII and Austerity. In particular, she advocates ordering produce and perishables from an organic delivery company instead of buying at the store, which would be ideal (and expensive), but we don’t live in that world right now, or at least I don’t. I did sit down once to figure out how much it would actually cost to have fresh, organic milk delivered, and I cried. I order from organic delivery companies from time to time when good deals come up, but I have to find a balance between my budget and what’s best. I think there are other, less expensive ways to find locally produced, high quality food, which she unfortunately doesn’t touch on much.

Still, this book is full of great ideas on being thrifty and going green relatively painlessly, and most of them are very doable. For those Home Front buffs, there is lots of historical info, some of which is new, with the added bonus of being able to waive the book in your significant other’s face and say “see, my eccentric interest actually has a modern application”.

It goes without saying that it is better to pay the slightly higher price tag and buy it through the Imperial War Museum so that the profits go to good use.


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