New Hampshire Women and World War I ‘Food Work’

POSTER: Food Will Win the
War, National Archives and
Records Administration.

Food and meal preparation was a serious matter during World War I and it was mostly women upon whom the burden fell to create solutions. With a great deal of foodstuffs being send to Europe to feed the troops and needy allies, the United States was forced to be economical in order to avert a famine here. In 1917 the United States government created the Woman’s Committee, Council of National Defense, to enlist the aid of women for the “national war relief program.” States were encouraged to create regional organizations on state, county and even city/town levels.

Upon the New Hampshire branch, Woman’s Council of National Defense, fell the task of distributing bulletins and arranging for the meetings at which home demonstration agents provided presentations. The stories of these dedicated women have mostly been lost. In 1918 the following women were appointed to be New Hampshire home economic experts to  present lectures and demonstrations on all aspects of food preservation and substitution, household and personal economy, and budget making. The lectures would be offered free of charge, the local woman’s or other club having sponsored the lecture assuming the costs. Continue reading

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100 Years Ago: The Camouflage Cookery of World War I

16 Dec 1917 The Lincoln Star
newspaper headline.

According to the Housewives Magazine of 1918, the word ‘camouflage’ means a deception, an illusion, something that is not what it seems to be. Prior to WWI the art of camouflage (to mask soldiers) was used, but to a lesser degree than today. Just before WWI the invention of better military viewing scopes occurred coincidentally with the beginning of the cubism art movement–and it changed everything. During the World War camouflage, and the use of the word, seemed to be everywhere. It was even in the kitchen. Continue reading

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St. Patrick’s Day 2018: Is New Hampshire Losing Its Irishness?

Charles Manning, first generation Irish-
American, pushing his sister in a baby carriage,
Lowell Street, Manchester NH circa 1888.

Is it the food, the beer, the music, the dance, the accent, the parades or the vocabulary that still connects people to their Irish heritage? Or is it instead nostalgia for the past and personal memories that associate us with the Emerald Isle?  With all the time that has passed since my ancestors arrived in America, is my Irishness, and that of other Irish descendants in New Hampshire, quickly fading away?

Oh yes, I grew up eating so-called Irish food. But my first generation Irish-American grandmother had an English-Canadian mother, and an Irish father, so where did she learn her cooking skills and the recipes she used? Did her culinary creations originate in Ireland, or were they instead simple, northern New England fare? Continue reading

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Cow Hampshire Blog Celebrates 12 Years

Partial screenshot of Cow Hampshire
blog in 2011.

It is amazing even for me to realize that I am celebrating this history blog’s 12th Anniversary (or Birthday or Creation Day) on March 16, 2018.  New Hampshire is a rich state–its residents make it so.  Their stories are varied and fascinating.  I have so many more people, places and events that I hope to have time to write about. Continue reading

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New Hampshire in WWI: Changes in Mourning Customs

Even before World War I the customs of mourning were changing. More of the seriously ill were dying in hospitals rather than at home. Undertakers (then called) were taking the place of home-based wake preparations. When the influenza pandemic struck, burial preparations were often hasty and the funeral itself sparsely attended.

New Hampshire was affected, and as deaths from the flu were peaking,  the Portsmouth Herald newspaper (Portsmouth NH) of 25 Sep 1918, Wed., on page 5 published this notice: “MUST HAVE NO PUBLIC FUNERALS. Only Immediate Families Can Attend Services and Burial of Dead. Orders were issued today to the several undertakers and the public forbidding any more public funerals until the epidemic of influenza is checked. Only the immediate families of the deceased will be allowed to attend the services and interment for the dead until further notice. This action was found absolutely necessary owing to the increase of the malady.” Continue reading

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