What and How America and Her Allies Ate When Their Food Was Rationed
Sustainability and Preserving
what we grow in food gardens is not a new thing.
Today, a lot of folks treat the vegetable garden as a neat
hobby, but not as a life-sustaining necessity. During wartime, it became a crucial part of daily life, and a means to
avoid real hunger and hardship. We should do it now, like they did it
their lives and health depended upon making it through months and years of sparse rations. It's
hard to imagine doing without sugar and butter, and that morning
cup(s) of coffee...and all the things that make our meals edible and life enjoyable.
As an aside, Coffee was rationed, but people were so consistently upset by that sacrifice, that it didn't last as long on the rations list. Using chicory or other ground, dried leafy things as a substitute just wasn't working well. Everyone sacrificed quite a bit by following some of the suggestions publicized by the government to be used as food extenders. Sustainability through patriotic creativity was key.
The family had no choice but to be brave and eat new things in new ways. Picky eaters went without, after a lengthy lecture and shaming at the family dinner table. It included the mantra parents of picky eaters have always fallen back upon ".... be thankful, millions of kids are going without and going to bed hungry tonight, they'd be happy to have this food on their plates", the culprit, hanging their head in shame, could take that truth to the bank. Although, after reading the ingredients of some of the things kids had no choice but to eat, I do have a little empathy. The chastised children went on to fall back on that same mantra when confronting their own kids' picky eating,which was then updated to begin with "When I was a kid.....". And they meant it.
were fairly healthy because they
contain little fats or sugar.
Those Mashed Non-rationed Potatoes With Other Mashed Non-rationed
"Sacrificing for the Common
Good: Rationing in WWII"
Americans learned, as they did during the Great Depression, to do without. Sacrificing certain items during the war became the norm for most Americans. It was considered a common good for the war effort, and it affected every American household.
When the United States declared war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States government created a system of rationing, limiting the amount of certain goods that a person could purchase. Supplies such as gasoline, butter, sugar and canned milk were rationed because they needed to be diverted to the war effort. War also disrupted trade, limiting the availability of some goods.
Americans received their first ration cards in May 1942. The first card, War Ration Card Number One, became known as the “Sugar Book,” for one of the commodities Americans could purchase with their ration card. Other ration cards developed as the war progressed.
The government also rationed automobiles, tires,
gasoline, fuel oil, coal, firewood, nylon, silk, and shoes.
The war placed additional demands on the agricultural sector to not only feed the home front, but also support US troops and fulfill America’s obligations to the United Kingdom and other allies through the Lend-Lease Program. The agricultural sector of the US economy expanded greatly from these added demands.
Canning in wartime became a major focus of the US government. Women were encouraged to support their families and the nation by canning produce grown in their garden. Canning, like gardening, was presented in official propaganda as a patriotic and unifying act, linking soldiers’ activities to women’s roles in thekitchen.
The interconnectivity of the two activities ensured that just as victory garden yields reached their peak in 1943, so too did canning levels. The USDA estimates that approximately 4 billion cans and jars of food, both sweet and savory, were produced that year. Community canning centers aided in the process of reaching record levels of preserved food in the United States during the war. In 1945, the USDA stated that 6,000 canning centers were in operation throughout the United States.
Snippets from articles by
Fats for cooking and serving meals were rationed.
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