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

100 Years Ago: Food Conservation–Meatless and Wheatless Recipes

Sketch: Breads from page 425 of “The Boston
Cooking School magazine of culinary science
and domestic economics, by Janet McKenzie
Hill (1896) at the Internet Archive.

I recently wrote an article about the Hoover Pledge, a voluntary commitment for Americans to conserve during World War I.  A writer-friend Elizabeth Gauffreau commented that she was curious about conservation food. This article offers a variety of both wheat-less and meatless recipes as presented in newspapers between 1917-1919.

The book, A History of the United States by Henry Eldridge Bourne, in the chapter The United States in the world War there is a concise explanation of food conservation as follows: “Raising Food For All. — The soldiers at the front or in the camps were only part of the great army America was organizing to help win the war. The workmen in the mills and the farmers in the fields were equally needed. America was asked to send food to the Allies, for so many of the English, French, and Italian farmers had fallen in battle or were still fighting that food was scarce. To decide how much should be sent abroad and to see that the rest should be fairly distributed at home, the Government appointed Herbert C. Hoover as Food Administrator. He had already been very successful in distributing food among the suffering Belgians. Continue reading

100 Years Ago: A New Hampshire Halloween and The Hoover Pledge

Nashua Telegraph newspaper advertisement of 30 October 1917 for Hallowe’en Night.

Two topics–Halloween and The Hoover Pledge–seem to have nothing in common, and yet they do. 100 years ago on October 30, 1917 the Nashua Telegraph was promoting both Halloween events and the signing of the “Hoover Pledge.”

A headline blares, “City Being Roused To Need of Food Conservation Move” — Six thousand Nashua women must sign these pledge cards this week for New Hampshire has pledged her women for FOOD CONSERVATION….volunteers who will sign the Hoover pledge card and then live up to the pledge through the weary months that must follow.” Continue reading