Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Reviews Food Rationing on the Homefront during WWII - October 23rd, 2004
Posted on 10/22/2004 11:46:24 PM PDT by snippy_about_it
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World War II had a great impact on daily life in America. Among the many new realities of the time were air-raid drills in schoolrooms, scrap-metal and rubber drives, and rationing of food and other goods imposed by the Office of Price Administration.
American women, who had been called to duty in the workforce and possibly also had spouses overseas, grappled with another new hardship: grocery shopping with ration stamps. This was no easy task.
Shoppers received stamps of different colors for different types of foodsome good for thirty days, others valid a week at a time but could be held over until they expired the last week of the monthand point values of foods were subject to change, so planning at home often proved difficult.
Thankfully, shoppers were not without help. In 1943, the 128-page Coupon Cookery was published. Its author, Prudence Penny, counsels readers how to provide their families with sound nutrition plus appetite-appeal within the bounds of Uncle Sams allowance.
Prudence Pennys Coupon Cookery, front cover.
Murray & Gee, Publishers: Hollywood, CA, 1943.
An investment that will pay for itself many times over in money,
time, patience, nutrition value, and good meals! Museum Library.
The book, which sold for $1.50, contains a number of tongue-in-cheek illustrations featuring a perky-looking, apron-clad housewife, and patriotic poetry is peppered throughout. Its dedication begins, To the housewives of America/ those soldiers, tried and true/ who are struggling on the homefront/ to serve good meals to you! Good nutrition is presented as the ultimate patriotic statement, as is good cooking: U. S. needs US strong! Wars may come and go, but real, red-blooded American Homemakers will put up a struggle to preserve that cherished custom of Good Eating!
It may not be convenient
But we don't admit defeat
For in spite of War and Rationing
America must eat
It may take a deal of cunning
And a bit of laughter, too
To keep the meal-time pleasant
When the coupons are too few!
To cook Good Meals, In Spite of It All required a little magic. Coupon Cookery, p. 21.
In addition to advice on organizing and s-t-r-e-t-c-hing ration points, Ms. Pennys book includes tables for keeping track of different foods point values and hundreds of recipes designed to make the most of available ingredientsfor example, Pork Knuckles in Sour Cream, Liver Gems, and Hearty Lima Molds. In the chapter Prudent Tips and Penny Savers, readers are reminded that tough cuts of meat can be made more enjoyable by long, slow cooking, and learn how to substitute baking powder for eggs. Coffee, which was strictly rationed, could be stretched by being mixed with Soyfee, an unrationed coffee substitute. And through it all, of course, readers were urged to turn in cans for scrap metal.
The extreme economies suggested by this book may seem to some as antiquated as its bright, booster-ish turns of phrase and old-fashioned recipes. But those who lived through World War II witnessed a unique period in American historywhen civilians across thousands of miles were unified in their actions and struggles by a single purpose. Prudence Pennys book is an intriguing and irreplaceable symbol of that era.
Alyssa Shirley Morein
By 1943 many of the common food items came under the rationing program, including butter, coffee, dairy products and some meats. Each item was assigned a certain number of ration points in addition to the monatery price. Grocery shoppers had red and blue food rationing stamps along with red and blue tokens that were given as change if your stamp's value was higher then the points required.
The red stamps and tokens were for meat and animal products and the blue stamps and tokens were for vegatable products like sugar. You couldn't substutute one color in place of the other. The stamps and tokens had to be paid just like the money for those items that were rationed. Shoppers could earn extra stamps by turning in their meat drippings and other fats for bomb production. Thus, shoppers looked not only at the price of an item, but how many rationing points or stamps they cost.
Close up of the red and blue OPA ration tokens and 1943 steel cents. The red tokens were used for purchasing meat, while the blue ones were used for processed foods. The steel cents were minted only in 1943 in an effort to save copper for use in making munitions.
Whoa! Good thing you weren't on the phone. I had my television ruined by lightning a few years back. It still worked but the color was ruined.
We cast our votes a couple days ago for W!
LOL. I don't blame her a bit!
I need you guys to keep the threads straight for us!
Living gets in the way I'm afraid. Thanks for the gentle reminders.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, larryjohnson. I never heard about the tokens before.
Thanks the Lord for small miracles. :-)
Morning stand watie.
Thanks for telling us about the Texas State College for Women's Victory Garden.
Attitudes on the Home Front sure were different back then.
Morning shield. Thanks for the bump.
Need that cup of coffee this morning to chase away the chills.
Thanks Snippy. All these personal accounts are really interesting to me since I had no family here in the 40's who went through all this.
My vote is in already. Snippy won us a couple of tickets to see a special full length showing of "Stolen Honor".
The local talk show was giving them away. Of course I tried for two days every half hour and couldn't win. Snippy gets them via E-mail. Go Figure. Anyway we get to see it Tuesday night. :-)
Hey! What's wrong with SPAM???
Sir? You keep calling me that and Snippy will give me a hard time. ;-)
Sorry....SAMWolf...is not sir? OK!!!
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