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Tag: What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?

World War I food conservation: “Pan de la libertad”

“What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?,” our current special exhibition in Washington, DC, examines the Government’s effect on what Americans eat. Government influence was especially visible during wartime, when many food products were reserved for feeding the troops and our Allies.

During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration, headed by Herbert Hoover, urged the American people to voluntarily conserve food, especially wheat, meat, fats, and sugar. Recognizing that a successful program had to reach out to all Americans, the agency distributed printed materials in several languages, including Italian pamphlets in New York City, Chinese food conservation notices in Hawaii, and Spanish recipes in California.

The featured recipes for “pan de la libertad” (liberty bread), using corn, oat, and barley flour instead of wheat, were found in the files of the California State Food Administration, housed at the National Archives at San Francisco. According to a note at the bottom, recipes were translated into Spanish for counties with significant Spanish-speaking populations.

An all-out publicity campaign was waged to educate the citizenry about the need for food conservation and how to accomplish it in one’s own home. Posters and newspaper notices exhorted readers to combat waste. Homemakers and restaurant operators signed pledges to observe “meatless Mondays” and “wheatless Wednesdays.”

The American Protective League also received and passed on reports of citizens suspected of food hoarding.

In a … [ Read all ]

Potatriots: The original Freedom Fries

These Iowa spuds were decades ahead of the “Freedom Fries” idea! To help the war effort during First World War, U.S. citizens were encouraged to eat more potatoes while wheat was being sent to the soldiers overseas.

This World War I store window display showed potatoes dressed as soldiers, encouraging both children and adults to remember the fighting men overseas. (In fact, a column in a 1918 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine encouraged citizens to conserve food and “Stop Eating Soldiers!”)

The National Archives Experience is sponsoring an activity from July 11 to July 31 in conjunction with our new exhibition, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” Inspired by this World War I display, we invite you to create your own “potatriot” diorama! You can draw inspiration from any historical event of your choosing—feel free to be as creative as possible!

Send a photo of your potato diorama to volunteer@nara.gov, and we will post it in an album on the National Archives Facebook page.

All submissions will be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, a winner will be randomly selected to receive a prize from the Foundation for the National Archives!

(And if you are visiting us in Washington, DC, be sure to stop by the Boeing Learning Center in the National Archives Building to make a diorama there—volunteers will snap a photo … [ Read all ]

Kuchem-Buchem just like Grandma used to make

Today on “What’s Cooking Wednesday,” we are excited to share a special guest post and recipe from food writer Joan Nathan, who will be speaking at the National Archives on May 25 with Chef Spike Mendelsohn about Jewish holiday traditions and cooking.

 In all the years I have been writing about food, I thought that I would have heard of every Jewish recipe known to mankind. To my delighted surprise, I have not—something that keeps this profession so very dynamic.

The United States is such a multicultural country that every ethnic group can find its culinary roots in one of the many immigrant communities throughout this amazing land. Jews are no different. Our food has gone mainstream in many areas: bagels, brisket, matzo balls, chopped liver, and challah. Who hasn’t heard of challah French toast?

Although the ancestors of three-quarters of America’s Jews came here in the Great Migration from Eastern Europe between the 1880s and early 1900s, today’s Jews are a mishmash of many backgrounds, Jewish and non-Jewish.

I just tasted, for example, one of the best bagels in America at Cincinnati’s Marx Hot Bagels; considered so American that it was featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1976. John Marx, who learned to make bagels from a Jewish bagel baker in the 60s, only learned recently that he had a Jewish great-grandfather.

In the … [ Read all ]

The Archivist and the Chef

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 National Archives. He will also be speaking at the National Archives on June 10 about the … [ Read all ]

Cooking for your family and your allies

“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 became widespread; citizens saw food conservation as patriotic, referring to it as “Hooverizing” after Herbert Hoover, the United States Food Administrator … [ Read all ]