When the Meredith Publishing Company published their Cookbook in 1941, they certainly had no idea that the United States would be thrust into World War II by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th. From what I can tell by searching the Internet, by 1943 Meridith had added “A New Wartime Cooking Supplement for Your Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book” supplement to subsequent printings of the DeLuxe version of the cookbook.
I actually have two different printings of the cookbook–the 1941 version that I drew the information from for yesterday’s balanced meal post and the fifth printing from January, 1944, that contains the war supplement. The information in the Nutrition section remained the same in the subsequent printings. However, the supplement shows the beginnings of what would eventually become the “Four Food Groups” that I learned about as a child (and before that blasted pyramid scheme came along…but that’s for another day).
I started to put all of the information into one posting but realized that it would be quite long so I’ve broken it into two parts. Today I’ll quote the encouragement to homemakers from the front page and tomorrow I’ll highlight The Basic Seven.
Nutrition and Meal Planning
Wartime Meal Planning
American homemakers can “take it” without grumbling, tho wartime meals are going to mean more careful planning, some belt tightening, and often going without foods we’ve taken for granted. We have a real war job keeping our families healthy and happy. And remember–everyone can be well-fed during wartime. Knowing the whys and the wherefores of food values makes us wiser meal planners. Nutrition, Chapter A, in your Better Homes & Gardens cook Book summarizes what you should know about each essential food. Now check your family’s meals against your government’s Basic 7 on the next page (coming tomorrow). Getting these must-for-health foods every day?
Milk. Try your level best to get one quart of whole milk or its equivalent into each of your growing youngsters each day. Pregnant or nursing mothers need the same. Healthy normal adults should have one pint daily.
Green and Yellow Vegetables. If you can, grow a good share of your minerals and vitamins in your own garden, with accent on tomatoes and the green, leafy, and yellow vegetables. Use pleny of these when they’re young and tender, and serve one raw fruit or vegetable every day to boost your quota of Vitamin C.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, or Eggs. Protein foods aren’t of equal value or entirely interchangeable. Those from animal sources such as milk, cheese, eggs, meats, fish and poultry are high in nutritive value and should supply from 1/3 to 1/2 or more of your protein for the day. In the average diet, cereals may supply as much as 29% of the protein for the day; dried beans, peas, and nuts, 5%; potatoes and sweet potatoes, 3%; and all other vegetables and fruits, 5%. Use lots of enriched or whole-wheat bread and whole-grain or enriched cereals to supply not only 1/4 or more of the protein but also iron and a helpful amount of thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin each day.
Butter and Fortified Margarine. Stretching your butter or fortified margarine needn’t short-ration you on Vitamin A if you add one to two tablespoons green pepper, pimiento, or parsley, chopped. Blend butter or fortified margarine with softened cream cheese or peanut butter–goes father, tastes might good.
Planning Meals in Advance Saves Points
It’s more than ever up to us to plan meals ahead–with quantity of many foods scarce and fluctuating and with choice limited and changing. Here’s why. You can use foods you grow for filling in between rationed fruits and vegetables. You can scatter non-rationed foods generously over the week or period. Meats, variety meats, fish, poultry, and cheese can take turns appearing once every day in meals; a leftover meat can turn up in a new dress several days after it’s first bowed in. Meals planned can replace unavailable foods without upsetting the plan for the day. Meals planned ahead are more likely to be balanced between the energy foods and building, regulating and protecting foods. They’re going to look and taste better, too, with plenty of flavor zest and color contrast.
Combine foods of different texture–something crisp or crunchy like raw vegetables and fruit, nuts, salad, toast, or crackers to accompany creamed or soft foods. Combine foods of different colors–a generous bit of yellow or red or a combination of several, offsets foods like cauliflower or cabbage. Combine foods of different flavors. The mild-flavored foods–potatoes, rice, macaroni, eggs and milk–need the upstanding flavors of tomatoes, onions, cabbage, relish, fish or beef to bring out their goodness.
Ring in several oven meals in your week’s planning and you’ll save cooking fuel. And make up your shopping list as you plan your menus. You’ll save trips to the store, and that means time, gasoline, and tires.
I think I finally figured out why pimiento shows up in so many mid-century dishes. It was used to supplement the butter ration!
The supplement continues my “oh-my-goodness!” moment from yesterday in its discussion of protein. I was struck by the expectation that only 1/3 to 1/2 of protein requirement would come from animal protein and appreciated that the authors elaborated by telling us where we could expect to get the rest of the daily supply.
My Honey has commented to me frequently that, unless a person has friends or family members serving overseas, we don’t generally feel the effects the two wars that we are currently engaged in (although some would argue, rightfully so, that we are feeling the economical effects of it in a round-about way). Whatever we want is still available to us to eat, use, consume, etc.
During The War, though, each family received a ration book worth 48 points (I believe) that was to last them an entire month. As I was reading the war supplement, it really hit me that planning really was important and why our parents and grandparents were fanatical about making sure we ate everything on the plate. That food came at a high price! Wasting food could amount to being unpatriotic.
As Kathy noted, yesterday’s posting really shows how much food we’ve gotten used to eating. This supplement really shows me that not only have we’ve gotten used to eating a lot of food…but we’ve gotten used to wasting it, too.