From 1941-1945 various commodities were rationed to ensure adequate supplies for the war effort, to stabilize the homefront economy, and to provide a means where every citizen could participate in the national effort.
Gasoline, sugar, meat, grain, cloth - the list was long for items rationed.
careful planning was involved and collaborative effort in families to plan for meals and life using these stamps.
There were four books used and each had to be applied for (it was the Government, remember?).
The following show some ration books issued to people living in Oklahoma (Tahlequah) but the process was the same everywhere.
Learn more at The National WW2 Museum online at http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-students/ww2-history/take-a-closer-look/ration-books.html
A look at all the books and the steps invovled at "Rationing During WW2" http://www.waverlyinfo.com/page/3282/Ww-Ii-Memorabilia