“I have said or pointed out on a number of occasions the tremendous importance of food. Because when hunger and illness invade the home men will accept almost any cure that is proposed at the moment. Anything is better than the existing circumstance and you have the ripest possible field for demagogic, audacious or calculated propaganda and planning and scheming. Therefore, food has great importance.” – Marshall Feb 2, 1948 National Garden Institute
March is National Nutrition Month. It’s an annual effort by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help Americans eat more healthfully.
During World War II, Allied countries also were also concerned with the health of their citizens, especially since food was being rationed. Nutritional posters, radio broadcasts and companies were encouraged healthy eating and exercise as a patriotic duty.
Soon after America’s entrance into World War II, it became apparent that voluntary conservation was not going to suffice. Restrictions on imported foods, limitations on the transportation of goods due to a shortage of rubber tires, and a diversion of agricultural harvests to soldiers overseas all contributed to the U.S. government’s decision to ration certain essential items.
On January 30, 1942, the Emergency Price Control Act granted the Office of Price Administration (OPA) the authority to set price limits and ration food and other commodities in order to discourage hoarding and ensure the equitable distribution of scarce resources. By the spring, Americans were unable to purchase sugar without government-issued food coupons. Vouchers for coffee were introduced in November, and by March of 1943, meat, cheese, fats, canned fish, canned milk and other processed foods were added to the list of rationed provisions.
Every American was entitled to a series of war ration books filled with stamps that could be used to buy restricted items (along with payment), and within weeks of the first issuance, more than 91 percent of the U.S. population had registered to receive them.
Rationing was different in each allied country. In May 1943 an opinion poll found that rationing and wartime food shortages had barely made any impact on American meals. Two-thirds of the women surveyed asserted that their diet had changed very little since the introduction of rationing, and three-quarters of the women acknowledged that the size of their meals had stayed the same. During the war Americans ate at least 2.5 pounds of meat per person per week. This was a generous quantity as the British had to get by on less than half the American ration.
Could you live with rationed amounts of food? Try these recipes issued by the Ministry of Food (United Kingdom):
Nothing Fancy Wartime Loaf
600 ml (1 pint) of warm water
5 teaspoons of quick rise yeast (the original recipe called for old fashioned yeast)
couple pinches of sugar
2 lb (weight) of wholewheat (wholemeal) flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon rolled oats (for top)
drizzle of vegetable oil
- Place flour in large bowl
- Mix in all dry ingredients except the rolled oats
- Drizzle in vegetable oil
- Pour in warm water
- Mix thoroughly
- When dough comes together knead for 10 minutes until dough is silky
- Place back in bowl and cover
- Let dough rise somewhere warm until doubled in size
- Knead dough briefly again
- Place dough into 4 x 1/2 lb tins (or 2 x 1 lb tins) that have been floured
- Brush top with a little water and sprinkle on some rolled oats
- Leave to rise for around 20 minutes
- Place in oven at 180 degrees C for around 30-40 mins (depending on the size of the loaf)
- Remove from oven
- Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting
Corned Beef Fritters
2 oz self raising/plain flour
1 egg (fresh or dried)
dash of milk
pinch of herbs
2 teaspoons grated onion
6 oz corned beef finely flaked
a little dripping or margarine
- Mix and blend the flour with the salt, beaten egg and dash of milk.
- Beat until a smooth batter is achieved
- Add corned beef, onions and herbs
- Melt the dripping or fat in a frying pan
- Drop in a spoonful of the mixture and press down to form a small patty (mixture should be enough to make 8)
- Fry on either side until crisp and brown and serve with veggies or salad while warm.
Makes enough for 4 people
1 lb carrots
1 oz margarine or dripping
1 chopped onion
1-2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 pt stock or water
salt and pepper
teaspoon marmite and a teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Chop and boil/steam carrots
- Meanwhile melt fat in pan and add the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes
- Add the curry powder and flour and fry for a few more minutes while stirring a little
- Stir in the stock or water, bring to the boil, season.
- Simmer gently for about 20 minutes then add in the cooked carrots
- Cook for a further 10 minutes or so
- Garnish with parsley and serve with a little rice
Cynthia’s Eggless Sponge
1/2 pint of tea (without milk and strained of tea leaves)
3 oz butter/margarine
3 oz sugar
3 oz sultanas (golden raisins)
10 oz wholewheat flour (add 3-4 teaspoons of baking powder)
1 teaspoon all spice (mixed spice)
extra cinnamon if required
- Place the tea, butter, sugar and sultanas in a saucepan and heat gently until butter is melted, leave to cool.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Mix all the dry ingredients into the cooled liquid and mix well, give it a beat.
- Put mixture into a greased and floured 7 inch cake tin
- Cook on 180 degrees Centigrade for around 45 minutes or more