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Archive for 'Uncle Sam'

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Flour Sack Art

A flour sack from the collection of the Hoover Presidential Library

One of the themes throughout our “What’s Cooking Wednesday” posts has been war and food rationing. American citizens were asked to grow their own food, ration sugar, and eat less meat so that there would be more supplies for soldiers fighting overseas and for people with little food left in their war-torn country.

As a result, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library has one of the largest collections of flour sacks in the world.

But these are no ordinary flour sacks. These cotton bags have been stenciled, embroidered, painted, and remade. They were  turned into pillows, clothing, and accessories to be sold in England and the United States to raise funds for food relief and to help prisoners of war. They have been decorated with red, yellow, and black for Belgium as well as red, white, and blue for the United States. Lions, eagles, symbols of peace, and Belgian lace decorate the humble cotton from American mills.

Why did hungry Belgium citizens decorate empty flour sacks?

During World War I, Herbert Hoover was chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB). Through donated money and voluntary contributions of food, this commission fed over 11,000 Belgiums. Between 1914 and 1919, about 697,116,000 pounds of flour was shipped to Belgium.

A soldier buying a souvenir flour sack in a

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What’s Cooking Wednesday: Giving thanks for the calorie?

A poster giving information on what 100 calories looks like, from the Records of the Office of Education (ARC 5838434).

Congratulations to Sheila Fisher, whose comment on last week’s post, “A fire place with hickory wood burning and crackling. Nothing makes a house smell more like a home than a wood burning fireplace on a frosty winter morning! MMMMMM” was randomly chosen by Patty Mason, the editor of Eating with Uncle Sam. The Foundation for the National Archives will be sending you a copy!

Wilbur Olin Atwater would make a terrible Thanksgiving guest.

Chances are after you stuffed yourself with turkey, gravy, rolls, and green beans covered in fried onions bits, he would invite you sit in his calorimeter.

Would you decline? Or would you agree to be a (stuffed) guinea pig for science? W. O. Atwater wasn’t one to mince words: “The evils of overeating may not be felt at once, but sooner or later they are sure to appear—perhaps in an excessive amount of fatty tissue, perhaps in general debility, perhaps in actual disease.”

In fact, Wilbur Olin Atwater is the reason that we count calories in the first place.

Atwater was born in 1844, and the results of his research are still being felt over 100 years later. In fast-food restaurants, you can look at a chart listing fat, protein, carbs, and calories for each food—a quantification … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Make a date with Uncle Sam

A Wolrd War II recruitment post (ARC 513664)

Perhaps the most famous goatee in all of America belongs to Uncle Sam, the white-haired patriot who appeared in political cartoons in the late 1890s, on recruitment posters in both World Wars, and continues to appear on all kinds of products today.

And while facial hair fashions have changed drastically through the years since the Civil War, Uncle Sam’s long white goatee remains the same over the decades. Even in World War II, when clean-shaven faces were all the rage for GIs, this young woman was not deterred from a date with Uncle Sam and his flowing chin hair.

Whether you sport a chip-strap beard, a curly mustache, or a goatee, have a wonderful Fourth of July! If you are in Washington, DC, join us for a celebration on the steps of the National Archives Building to hear the Declaration of Independence read by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Ned Hector. Then come inside and see the original!

Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam!… [ Read all ]

The Archivist and the Chef

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero and Chef Jose Andres model their new aprons!

Our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” opens on June 10 and has over 100 original records about food.

But what if you could do more than just look at the records? What if you could taste them—and taste history?

Chef Jose Andres—the 2011 Outstanding Chef at the James Beard Foundation Awards, host and executive producer of PBS series Made in Spain, and owner of several restaurants—had some good ideas of how he might cook up history.

This morning at a press event at the National Archives, the Archivist and Chef Andres announced a special partnership between the Foundation for the National Archives and ThinkFoodGroup inspired by “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”

On July 4, Chef Andres will open a pop-up restaurant called America Eats Tavern, which will be a culinary destination and an extension of the National Archives exhibit. The name comes from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) writers project of the 1930s.

What will American history taste like? Count on native ingredients and long-forgotten dishes and inspiration from generations of immigrants. Burgoo and Oysters Rockefeller are on the menu!

Chef Andres is also the Chief Culinary Advisor to the exhibit and wrote the introduction to the new recipe book Eating with Uncle Sam: Recipes and Historical Bites from the [ Read all ]

Cooking for your family and your allies

A cooking demonstration in Colorado. State and Local Food Administrators, Colorado, General Correspondence, 1917-1919, ARC # 1067513, National Archives at Denver.

A cooking demonstration in Colorado. State and Local Food Administrators, Colorado, General Correspondence, 1917-1919, ARC # 1067513, National Archives at Denver.

“What’s Cooking Wednesday” continues with this post from our colleagues at the National Archives at Denver. These Wednesday features celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which opens on June 10 in Washington, DC, and looks at the role that the Federal Government has taken in food production, safety, advertising, and nutrition.

It’s hard to image Rachel Ray or an Iron Chef looking so solemn during a cooking demonstration, but these ladies were showing an audience how to feed their family on the war front—and still have food for an unknown family on the war front.

On the home front during World War I, a forced food rationing program never took place, but a volunteer food conservation system became commonplace. Civilians were advised to give up food commodities that were greatly needed for the war effort.

Despite being the largest food producer in the world, the United States of America was ill equipped to shoulder such an overwhelming food and material distribution; vast amounts of food and supplies were required to feed the newly assembled overseas army, our allies, and demoralized European civilians. An abdundance of cooking fats, sugar, wheat, meat, and vegetables was necessary to meet the daily task of feeding so many.

In the United States, volunteerism … [ Read all ]