Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

America’s New Influence on European Life

American soldiers had spent years in Europe during World War I. What effect would that have on Europeans? This article predicted several ways, including what they’d eat, how they’d dress, and what women would look for in men.

What European women would look for in men:

[American men] were more serious, too. At close quarters they lacked some of the characteristics of the English and French soldiers. They were abrupt and direct in speech. They were also less accustomed to formality, less used to the ameliorating word, and had altogether less respect for convention, as we understand it in Europe. They were also more individual. Altogether, with their omissions and their qualities, they were of a type which is as strange in Europe as some distinct race. Withal, they had the essentials of strength and manliness above everything else. The gentle women of the world have never failed to appreciate such qualities. No wonder that feminine Europe has fallen in love with the American soldier.

How Europeans would eat:

Europe will very likely get new dishes added to its dietary through its closer association with the United States. Why cannot we have the delicious grapefruit for breakfast that you have here? Why are we denied buckwheat cakes? Broiled chicken is almost unknown in European restaurants. Many Europeans fall in love with it when they come to America. Corned beef hash will begin to appear on bills of fare. I should not be surprised to see waffles become almost a rage.

How Europeans would dress:

The Americans are probably the best-dressed nation in the world, in the sense that they are more careful and precise and sometimes more elaborate than any other people. … Americans carry this habit with them to Europe. They do not always dress in the same way as Europeans, but they always dress extremely well from an American point of view. Hitherto Paris has been the home of ladies’ fashion for the world, London the centre of men’s fashion, and it is an interesting speculation whether America may not leave an impression on the dress of people abroad.

The author Frank Dilnot, New York correspondent for the London Daily Chronicle, did correctly predict one American aspect that would NOT catch on in Europe: baseball.

It is a game peculiarly suited to the American temperament, but there is such a variety of well-rooted and much loved pastimes, especially among an out-of-doors people like the British, that I cannot see baseball supplanting cricket, for example. Cricket has a subtle charm not to be known by those who have not played it or been brought up to it from boyhood.

 

America’s New Influence on European Life: People Over There Sure to Imitate Us, Says a Briton, But They Won’t Play Baseball or Eat Our Breakfast Bacon (PDF)

Published: Sunday, January 19, 1919

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Written by Jesse

January 18th, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Food,Life,Sports

Q.M.C. — Unfailing Provider of the Soldier’s Food

How were soldiers fed during WWI? By the Q.M.C., which stood for “Quartermaster [Corporal] Department of the United States Army.”

They tried to keep the costs relatively low:

The cost of the standard menu amounts to from 41 to 43 cents per day per man, varying according to the location of the camp and market price of the food.

Adjusted for inflation, that would be between $6.84 and $7.17 per man, daily.

It also worked:

The best evidence that he is well fed is the fact that the average gain of weight of the American boy since entering the service has been twelve pounds, and this despite the fact that they have been doing such strenuous labor.

This sample menu was given for a weekend and weekday in the army:

SUNDAY

Breakfast: cantaloupes (one-half each), oatmeal, sugar, milk, fried pork sausage, hot biscuits, coffee

Dinner: fresh vegetable soup, diced bread toasted, veal in a creole, boiled rice, string beans (fresh), lettuce salad, ice cream, cake, bread, ice water.

Supper: potato salad, bread, jam, iced tea.

WEEK DAY

Breakfast: corn flakes, sugar, milk, beef stew, boiled potatoes, toast, bread, coffee.

Dinner: boiled beef with dumplings, spinach, young beets, pickles, apple and peach pie, iced tea, bread.

Supper: spinach, young beets, pickles, hot Parker House rolls, iced tea.

Sounds like some great meals! Except for the whole “huge risk of dying or getting bombed at any moment” part.

 

Q.M.C. — Unfailing Provider of the Soldier’s Food: Not One Wearer of Uncle Sam’s Uniform Has Gone Hungry, Thanks to the Commissary Machine That Toils Day and Night (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 28, 1918

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Written by Jesse

July 25th, 2018 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Food,Military / War

One Year of Hoover’s Control: Food Enough for All Allies

More than a decade before he would be elected president in 1928, Herbert Hoover led the U.S. Food Administration, which exerted much control over the nation’s and Allies’ food supply.

The appointment cave even though the Republican Hoover was named by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, a bipartisan move that would be difficult to imagine in today’s political environment.

This May 1918 article describes the results of Hoover’s efforts:

Take wheat: Owing to the shortage of last year’s crop we had scarcely 20,000,000 bushels above our normal consumption and seed requirements. Practically all this had been shipped by Christmas. Then, in January, came the British Food Commissioner’s urgent call for 75,000,000 bushels before the new crop, if the Allies were to have food enough to carry on the war. In response to that call, the American people saved 50,000,000 bushels out of their normal consumption; it was shipped to Europe, and the war goes on!

How was this accomplished?

Hoover himself describes in a quotation for the article that much of it was due to voluntary cutbacks and a common sense of purpose among the American people, rich and poor alike. Alas, these are also two phenomena which would be much harder — or perhaps impossible — to accomplish today.

This quote is a little long — four paragraphs in total — but take two minutes out of your life because it’s worth reading in full, to understand the potential greatness that can come when a country like America is united in sense of purpose.

“A man came up from my State,” he said, “to attend a conference that concerned one of the most important food industries in our State. This man is a prominent official at home and a citizen of much influence. He was aroused over proposed interference in the industry by the Food Administration. ‘We won’t stand for it,’ he said. ‘It isn’t fair. We are willing to be reasonable; we don’t ask to make what we are entitled to, but this proposal is too raw. If Hoover insists on it, we’ll go after him as he never has been gone after before.’

“‘Better wait and see what he says,’ I suggested.

“After the conference the State official came to me. ‘How much longer can Germany hold out their food supply?’ he asked. I told him that Germany was practically self supporting before the war, and had since seized some of the richest farm lands in Europe. ‘But,’ he broke in, ‘it doesn’t matter. We’ll get them in the end. Of course, we have to make every sacrifice; think of what the Allies are doing over there. All that’s worth living for is at stake! We’re in to the limit. Hoover can take the whole industry if he wants it, do with it as he pleases. We’ve got to win. At a time like this who would think of profit?’

“That man did not seem to know that a change had been wrought in him, that something bigger than he had ever known before had got hold of him; for the first time he realized we we are standing for. And you see he wasn’t forced to do anything!”

After the war, Hoover would continue leading the agency under its new name: the American Relief Association. They were tasked with feeding millions of hungry people in 23 war-battered countries in Europe and Russia. He would be elected president in 1928.

 

One Year of Hoover’s Control: Food Enough for All Allies — Taking a Chance on His Faith in Nation’s Loyalty, the Administrator Has Succeeded in Using Volunteer Spirit to Assure Supplies for Democracy’s Hosts (PDF)

Published: Sunday, May 26, 1918

 

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Written by Jesse

May 24th, 2018 at 11:57 am

Posted in Food,Politics