In many ways, rationing came to be seen as one of Britain's wartime triumphs.
Nobody starved - in fact, since everyone was forced to eat a low-fat diet and plenty of vegetables, the nation actually became healthier than before. But coping with such a restricted diet added an extra level of grimness to the war years.
When rationing began on 8 January 1940, bacon and ham were initially limited to 4oz a week, sugar to a more generous 12oz and butter to 4oz.
Meat was later rationed by price rather than weight, so if you bought cheaper cuts, you could have more of them.
The allowance was one shilling and ten pence (1/10d) at first, which could buy you almost 3lb of beef, pork or mutton, but that went down to ½d in 1941. Cooking fats were rationed in July 1940, as was tea (2oz), while preserves and cheese were added to the list of rationed goods the following year.
'People didn't go hungry, but the diet was relentlessly dull,' says James Taylor, a historian at London's Imperial War Museum, where a Ministry of Food exhibition is on until next January. 'They did it, though, because they realised it was for a higher cause.'
Even onions were all but impossible to find - a single specimen was raffled for an appropriately eye-watering £4 in London during 1941.
A shortage of ingredients was not the only difficulty faced by the domestic cook. Much of the day could be spent joining one queue after another, outside the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer... and this was an almost daily occurrence, since households were without fridges or freezers.