Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Great War: July 2, 1917

In 1917, July 2 fell on a Monday. In the previous week, the first U.S. troops had arrived in France. On the previous day, Sunday, every minister in Hudson took to his pulpit to preach about the need to be frugal with food. The following item appeared on the front page of the Hudson Evening Register on that day.

In response to a letter from Herbert Hoover, appointed by the President to organize the country in the interest of thrift and conservation of food supplies, the pastors of all the local churches spoke Sunday upon the necessity of saving food, and pointed out that unless war be made upon waste, the case of the allies will suffer.
The co-operation of the womanhood of the country was especially solicited by local clergymen who pointed out generally that this is a woman's war as well as a man's and that unless the women of the country band together to do away with the millions of dollars worth of waste every year in this country victory may not be hoped for. As Mr. Hoover stated in his letter sent to clergymen throughout the country:
"The thousand million dollars of needless waste which thus takes place yearly in the households of America can and should be stopped.
"The ways of thrifty living are not new. In order to practice them we need do little more than return to the frugal habits of earlier days. To purchase wisely; to lose nothing for lack of proper care; to serve no more than hunger demands; to serve again the unused portion; to preserve in time of plenty against the lean months ahead; to save wheat for France and England by eating corn ourselves, because they do not bake at home, and corn bread is unknown: these are some of the means of helping to save the waste."
A letter dated August 1, 1917, from the United States Food Administration to Ruth Watson of the Royal Baking Powder Company, read in part:
. . . the use of baking powder breads made of corn and other coarse flours instead of patent wheat flour is recommended by the Conservation Division of the Food Administration. The wheat needed for export is thus conserved, and at the same time healthful food for our own people is provided. The circulation of recipes providing for these uses would be of assistance in carrying out our plans.
In response to this request, the Royal Baking Powder Company published, in 1918, the booklet Best War Time Recipes, which consisted of forty-seven recipes "that saved eggs, butter, milk, and wheat flour for our allies in Europe who were starving in some instances." 

The booklet includes recipes for such things as Peanut Muffins; Rice Griddle Cakes; Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake; Barley Bread; and, of course, more than one variation of cornbread.   

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