tv Innovations in Food Rationing CSPAN August 23, 2019 7:17pm-8:03pm EDT
eastern, is cassandra newby alexander from norfolk university, taking your calls about the origins and history of slavery. and live coverage continues at 9:30 am for a commemorative ceremony with virginia elected officials, governor ralph northam, senators mark warner, tim cain, and kirkland cox. at 6:00 pm, hear the story of the civil war told in 56 minutes by gary adelman of the american battlefield trust. and sunday at 6:00 pm, american artifacts takes you to the virginia museum of history and culture for an exhibit on african american history from reconstruction through civil rights. >> a discussion on world war ii food rationing, including troop
field ration innovations that led to u.s. processed food. >> i'm very pleased to welcome karen to give her presentation. karen participated in our conference in 2017, two summers ago. the first one where it was national. and we're very excited to have her back. she was gonna be talking to you about world war ii food provisions.
>> good morning, everyone. i hope everyone's had a good week so far. i know i certainly did. this morning i'm gonna talk to you about the food fight. or rationing in world war ii. we all know that teenagers, most of us work with teenagers, have large appetites. i have one at home with an incredibly large appetite. i hike to try to engage kids with a topic that not only fits their appetite but also increases their appetite for learning. and i find that food is oftentimes a very engaging topic. napoleon or frederick the great, depending on who you listen to, once said that an army marches on its stomach. to supply not just the u.s. army but increasingly throughout world war ii, also that of our allies, prisoners of
war, and those who we liberated in the civilian populations, the people of the united states had to implement innovative solutions to foundational problems. food production and distribution. these solutions impact not only wartime provisioning but also the way that we eat today. according to anastasia march in her book, how the u.s. military shapes the way you eat, research and development for foods during world war two not only helped us win the war but also created development processes for modern day processed foods. providing soldiers with food on the battlefield has long been a problem faced by military leaders. the army's quarter master corps is tasked with provisioning for much of the u.s. military. issues such as fresh ingredients, the weight of provisions for soldiers that are on the move, and just the sheer
volume of food that the army must provide magnify the difficulties of normal food production. prior to world war ii, new difficulties arose that would demand greater ingenuity among the corps and master corps. the army created a subsistence research and development laboratory that started about five years before the u.s. joined world war ii. and they were tasked with developing new field rations for the army. some innovation is going to be due to new social changes. such as the implementation during the war of the women's army corps, which is gonna lead to modified menus that are more palatable toward the dietary preferences of women. other modifications are going to be the result of things like innovations in technology, which changed the nature of warfare during world war ii.
for example, the implementation of the warmer air corps repair troopers to a very wide extent. that's going to increase the demand for very light, pac meals. research into longer-lasting rations that carry much less weight for the soldiers is going to be critical. in the mid-19-30s, the military is going to create an alphabet system to different yalt between the types of meals. field ration-a, meals created with fresh meats and produce and are served in permanent d halls. field ration-b's are served in field kitchens and utilize canned foods with refrigeration is not feasible. what you see here on the left are c-rations. they were developed in 1938. but not put into mass production until 1941. with the outbreak of war for the united states. c-rations
contained canned meats and vegetables, and hard biscuits. tasty. they provided calorically dense foods, about 3,800 calories a day per soldier. and they were issued to soldiers in areas where a kitchen could not be set up. early versions of the c-rations were heavy, about six pounds each. and they did not taste very good. adding to difficulties, tin cans would sometimes rust. paper labels would fall off, making your evening meal a bit of a surprise. the laboratory would work throughout the war to improve the taste and weight of these rations. probably the biggest innovation is they would develop a whole new type of ration called the k-ration, which we'll discuss in just a moment. the d-ration, which you see on the right hand side is also referred to as the logan
bar. it is the emergency ration. it's a chooblth bar made out of bitter chocolate, sugar, oat flour, cocoa fat, and milk powder and artificial flavorings. developed in conjunction with the hershey company beginning in 1937, it had to meet four basic requirements. it had to be a bar weighing about four ounces. it had to be able to withstand high temperatures. it had to have lie food energy value. and it had to taste just barely better than a boiled potato. they don't want the soldiers eating them like candy bars. they would not be put into mass production again until 1941. with the intention to give soldiers enough energy for about 24 hours in an emergency condition. that equates to about 600 calories. it was not tasty.
but it was able to withstand temperatures of about 120 degrees. and it was relatively small and light. so it became a viable option. manufacturing problems occurred. normal chocolate production is done with a fluid chocolate. because this withstands higher temperature, it does not ever melt. so hershey had to devise new engineering and machinery in order to develop these on a mass level for the u.s. military. in addition, the army corps masters worried about protecting the emergency rations from things like poison gases. so they developed new packaging techniques.
in 1943, the army asked herb tow try to improve the taste of the bars somewhat, which led to the development of a second type of d-ration called hershey's tropical chocolate bar. which would long outlive the war in regular use, including a trip to the moon on apollo 15. today there is a large industry that provides a variety of meal replacement bars in many flavor. and they provide americans with something that is a bar, just a few ounces in weight. does not easily melt, packs a substantial energy boost, and dare i say it still
just tastes a little better than a boiled potato. k-rations are the lightest and most transportable development of world war ii food. originally designed for paratroopers, motorcycle troops, or soldiers that were on the move, it was intended to be eaten for limited amounts of time. no more than about 15 days. however it did get put into widespread use throughout the war. developed in 1941, by dr. ansel cheese, out of the university of minnesota, along with the ra assistance research laboratory it, contained three box meals. breakfast, lunch, and dinner. provided almost 3,000 calories. and only two pounds. it was substantially lighter than the c-ration. due to its development in close proximity to the war, it was suggested to limited testing before its 1942
implementation. early versions contained dextrose and dex tablets. delicious. those would change to fruit bars. sugar was included to improve the drink with your d-ration. throughout the war, modifications would be made as needed. and as supplies allowed. originally, there was a hard candy in the ration soldiers. and when those became in limited supply, they replaced them with carmels. and eventually they would replace them with candy bars such as the milky way. hard biscuits would be replaced with cereal bars. new flavors of drinks would know offered. evidently the original lemonade was so acidic and tarlt that the soldiers claimed that it would be better used as a floor cleaner than as a drink.
i can only imagine. packaging will also evolve from something that looks just very basic to something that actually contain instructions on how to utilize and eat the ration. to finally these color-coated versions you see here. everybody likes a little pop of color. speaking of morale boost, the military uses candy rations just through a couple of means. one is the morale boost, the second is the quick boost of energy. however, the candy has to have that ability to not melt. so in 1941 the military was provided a viable option by the mars company when they offered the military candy-coated chocolates for military use only.
the candy coating kept the chocolate from melting and became a sweet treat for soldiers throughout the war. after the war, rationing was lifted. m&m's became a popular treat and remain so today. okay. cheese is a staple. in military provisioning. and it had been for quite sometime. however, cheese is bulky and heavy. due to its high water content. and so the army research corps, the usda, some universities and even manufacturers started trying to research and develop some type of a powdered cheese. so that they could transport cheese and use it as a flavoring. the first real cheese powder would
be developed in 1943 by forge sanders. a usda scientist. it was a cheap, easily transportable option to flavor foods and make them cheesy. this is where if you have students who are really sciency, you can kinda get into the process of how they did this. according to the article in wired magazine, it was considered impossible to dehydrate natural, fat-containing cheese. because when you heated the cheese, the fat would melt out and separate. caesar's innovation was to do this in two steps. in the first, the cheese would be shredded or grated. and then dried at a very, very low temperature, which would harden the surface proteins, forming kind of a barrier around the fat. once the water had evaporated or enough water had evaporated, then the cheese would be ground up and
dehydrated at a higher temperature and turned into the powder. it would then be formed into cakes. and those cakes could then be shipped easily around the world to our military bases. after the war, surpluses were sold off at low prices to grocery manufacturers. such as quaker oats, kellogg's, kraft. one of the founders of the frito-lay company had been a military contractor during the war. so he was aware of these cake. and in 1948, the frito-lay company debuted a new snack made with cheap, easily-transported military powdered cheese. cheetohs. world war ii spurred the developments of modern processed foods. this is a perfect example of processed food entering the american diet. i don't know about you, but i
know a lot of kids that eat cheetohs on the regular. innovations for meals on the battlefield were made possible not just by the military scientists but also by average people back at home who would alter their habits and devise innovative ways to aid the war efforts from home. these efforts are recognized on the natural world war ii memorial here in dc as farmers are prominently shown growing food that would feed both the u.s., many of our ally, and even some of our enemies. american farmers were called top increase food supply. at the same time farm labor was decrease big participation in the war. new innovations to increase efficiency in farming techniques, such as improved irrigation and persistenting that are discussed in this
newspaper article helped farmers provide for wartime needs. however, these small changes in farming techniques during the war would lead to much more dramatic changes in the decades after the war. and for modern farming communes. here you might be able to see it, the increased numbers of livestock as reported by the u.s. census bureau. the numbers go up fairly substantially. they also devised an innovative foreign policy solution to help with the concern of farm labor shortage. begun by a decade of order in 1942, this mexican farm labor program, more often referred to as the procero program, was a guest worker program between the united states and mexico. farmers were concerned that with so many men going to war, there would not be enough workers to manage the increased demands for
farms. the program allowed for mexican migrant wars to obtain contracts and work on american farmz. farms. it was not without critics on both sides of the border. but the invented implementation of foreign policy toward migrant labor helped keep farm products in strong supply to feed america and its allies. the farm program would not end until 1964, after over 4.6 million labor cracks had been issued. labor contracts had been issued. other ways of dealing with labor shortage on the farm is to use atypical workers such as young people. as you can see from the government propaganda, high school students were encouraged to use their free time and summers to help field labor needs on america's farms. in a newspaper article, the governor of nebraska went as far as to advocate for a trunkated school year for high school boys to allow them to leave early and work on farms. arguing it was good for the boys and the farms.
in addition to producing more, americans were also asked to deal with less. rationing began. sunshining was the first thing to be rationed, starting in the spring of 1942. due to the inability of us to have a lot of trade from our pacific trading partners when we got the majority of our sugar. >> as the war drew on, the military rationed other food stuffs such as coffee, processed food, meat and dairy products. the government developed a wartime nutrition program to help guide americans to make sure they ate a well-balanced program. they were displayed in posters, newspapers, and wartime
editions of cookbooks such as the one here. rationing was instituted and overseen by the office of price information or opa. families were issued ration books of stamps to obtain ration items. for food, there was a system of red points and blue points. red points were for meat, fish, and dairy product. blue for canned foods and bottled foods. the point system was deemed the best way to restrict consumer purchases while still allowing for some consumer flexibility. for example, if you had ten blue points left, you may choose a can of vegetables that is worth ten points. or you can choose two cans of five points, fruit. stores, newspapers would regularly public the government's updated values for
food stuffs to help consumers plan peoples around their available points. another way to support the war effort was to grow your own food. during the war, almost 20 million victory gardens were planted to allow commercially grown produce to be used for soldiers abroad, which also protected the americans against food shortages here at home. at its height, 40% of the produce grown was grown in a victory garden. victory gardens ranged from very small rooftop gardens all the way to people turning their entire backyards into a garden to participate and support the war effort. the government is going to encourage the use of victory gardens through propaganda, as well as providing instructions to novice growers and how to plant, tend, and harvest crops. favorite things to grow included such
produce as beets, beans, carrots, cabbage, peas, tomatoes and squash. with so many vegetables being produced on the homestead, the government encouraged women to help the war effort through the practice of canning. propaganda designed to link the success of the family to food storage efforts with patriotism and the war effort worked. canning vegetables and fruits became a staple to preserve the food that could not be eaten before it was go bad. in 1943, the usda estimates that four billion cans of food were created in the united states. canning amounts peaked during the war about the same time that victory garden production peaked. dem straighting the successful link between the two practices. while canning became a way of life for many americans, many had to learn the art as part of the war
effort. the government enterprising cookbook authors and companies helped american women learn how to can by not wasting fresh produce, and making sure to always have enough. the usda would create almost 6,000 community canning centers throughout the united states. to help women learn how to can, as well as to share in the tools, the kitchen tells that they may not otherwise have. pamphlets were created to instruct women in the process. and even children were able to help the war effort by helping to garden and to can foods. which for many turned into a lifelong practice. i'm gonna show you a quick video of janine johnson who was six to ten during the war effort. and she still cans. and she sat down with me and told about what food was like for her. during the war.
>> but eggs that my grandmother canned. and we had a basement in our house. and it had a huge pantry. and she had the shelves just loaded with all kinds of food and would cook whatever she wanted to. and that's really, basically, you didn't have to buy much. because if you canned food, you don't have to, really. that keep for a year or two. and that's where i learned how to can. i can everything but i'm not into it like she was.
it was a huge garden. we had to do something with all that stuff. and she even, if we had an overabundance of eggs, she would boil the eggs and put them in a mixture of vinegar and things. and they were really good. everybody thinks oh, they tasted awful, but they were very good. they had great big jars that you get pickles in sometimes. and that's what we put the eggs in. and then another thing, pickled pigs feet. but you know what? because of the war effort, we couldn't buy a lot of meat.
but we ate tons. we ate liver. tongues. all the organs umight say. but tongue was very good. but anyway, we ate very well. and you bought milk in milk bottles. we didn't have any plastic. my grandmother made butter. we made cream. and she would use it. and we had delicious desserts. and my grandmother was really upset after the war because betty crocker came out with a cake mix. and she said that is the worst thing in the world! they
are too lazy to make a cake! i don't think she even ate one. she'd no. she said no. i want homemade stuff, but she was a staunch patriot, man. that's where we got our patriotism from. is from my grand patients and my parents too. because they all served in some way. >> for those who couldn't make tongue taste good, and you needed some guidance to make delicious desserts. i asked her, how do you make delicious desserts with sugar rationing, and that was a different conversation. there were a lot of cookbooks that were published. oh, sorry. there you go. there were a lot of cookbooks that were published at
special wartime edition cookbooks that would help families creatively use what they had to produce quality foods that didn't taste like you would think that they probably should. cooking little sugar, little butter, or meat became part of the war effort. and one that you can tell she still is very proud of. her part in that war effort. here are a good of examples of some recipes that use substituted items. brown sugar, corn syrup were used in place of regular sugar. whenever it was rationed to make some different treat treats. in addition to government propaganda, a variety of other peoples and companies helped to encourage and also educate americans in part
because he's very familiar to them. simply encouraging people to do their part. several disney shorts were also made regarding food. the one i'm going to play for you now is called out of the frying pan and into the firing lines. if not only speaks to america's patriotic acts but also educates america, or americans about how to save cooking fats to use for production of munitions. >> sorry. technical glitches.
pound was fat to help win the war. fats make glycerin, and glycerin makes explosives. every year two billion pounds of waste kitchen fats are thrown away. enough glycerin for ten billion rapid-fire cannon shells. 150,000 miles long, six times around the earth. a skillet of bacon grease is a little munition factory. meat drippings. >> waste frying fat speed depth charges on their way to crush axis submarines.
>> your pound of waste fat will give some boy at the front an extra clip of cartridges. >> pour your waste kitchen fat in a clean, wide-mouth can. that's right. not a glass jar or paper bag. please strain the fat through a kitchen sieve. keep in a cool, dark place so it won't become rancid. when you have a pound or more, take it to your neighborhood meat dealer. >> he will weigh the fat and pay you for it. >> so you are winning instead of money. okay, ketchup.
explosives. look for the insignia in your meat dealers window. >> [ applause ] >> who doesn't want to save all of your waste fats to bring mickey home, seriously, right? it was a just patriotic, but it was educating americans on what they needed to do, how they needed to do it. everybody gets in on the action. almost everybody. there is going to be a little bit of innovative thinking on
how to skirt the lashing system in america. there is a black market that developed for rationed items. some people are going to produce counterfeit goods. and try to get more than their fair share. other ways of starting the system would be for people to sell cuts of meat that did not meet standards for fat content. throughout the war only about 7% of retailers were ever charged with violations of rationing. estimates say it was a little higher than that, but that is a hard number. far fewer were ever convicted. they were only asked to pay small fines. it did not become a major deterrent for the black market. it did exist.
overall, americans used food throughout world war ii and it was a big help for our success and that of us helping our allies and eventually our enemies at the end of the war to make sure the transition from wartime to peacetime went smoothly. will pause here for a couple of minutes for question and answer then we will get into ideas. that we can do with this information. >> my question is, i know the government also instituted similar programs to what extent
do they just go back to the same playbook? which i assume made this easier to sell and to start off with the synthesis. a lot of the innovation comes from the new types of foods and the fact the process foods were starting to come into the market. in out to the consumer, because they're quick they were easy, they're cheap and i think that's the big shift between world war i and world war ii. >> we don't have a special section on the army physical exam which was notorious subject of conversation, my favorite language involves the
requirement the sufficient double digits to domesticate the ration. how is that making personality? >> that's really interesting. from what i researched, i will be honest, you can go online and buy either old ones horry creations. i did not get that deep into my research. some of it does not sound very tasty. was there an effort to either recycle or reuse the ration sees? >> not that i came across. here on the home front i talked with my students and miss johnson brought it up in a different part of my interview.
the way that we have to consciously think of recycling, it seems to be just more of natural everyday life. to them. so anything they had on hand to reuse it, because of limitations on available supplies and whatnot. in the way that we think of purposely consciously reusing and recycling not so much, but more of a natural ingrain. that does not mean that they didn't. i just didn't come across that. it would be a good question to research.
did it really work to do what it was supposed to do? >> i believe so, yes. >> did you do any research into cigarettes or the tobacco rations, or? >> there are cigarettes in the k rations and the c rations, i know the k rash would enforce cigarettes, and it talked about originally they would just put them in, and pretty quickly they figured out that destroyed the cigarettes and transport. they would talk about the packaging and whatnot. they put the cigarettes into a cardboard sleeve. to protect the integrity of the cigarettes. they did include those in the rations. >> the programs with the
mexican laborers was that mostly in the western half of the united states because i read that we used them on the east coast. i think it was a lot of it that was in the southwest, and also to the midwest. i was really surprised, because in our classrooms we talk about the program. with the got deeper into it i was surprised how many ended up into the great plains region of nebraska, iowa. it did seem like they went much further. during this time period than what we would normally have thought. still going to be very concentrated in the farming regions. >> did it take you to any correlation between the mid-30s with the agricultural adjustment act? we are trying to diminish production to sustain prices to the need for rationing. did we
hit ourselves in the foot with that act? >> i came across a little bit of that. that wasn't my focus here so much. i did come across a little bit about that and they talked about the impact amounts, but honestly i don't remember any of the specifics, i am sorry. >> this is a more random question, but did you come across the rationing of the making of alcohol, i know they would use a lot of those products and other things. i know they still produced it, but it probably wasn't a necessity. >> it was never on any of the official rationing's. i am sure just like i tell my students, alcohol is a inelastic commodity. good times are good, and good times or bad.
i do not ever come across anything specific to alcohol, but i can't confirm it was not rationed. >> is the rationing during the great depression that has any impact during world war ii since they were so close?>> it was more government implemented. and very purposeful by the administration, and it was a war production. it's more purposeful, more intentional. anything during the great depression was i think more self-imposed. for that. >> thank you.