Wednesday, September 11, 2013


In researching for this month's theme I had the invaluable aid of my friend Robin, a librarian and historian.  Her knowledge and vast library of 1940's wartime ephemera and her online exhibit: Rhode Islanders, Food and the World Wars, helped me piece together this month's menu list.  I was limited in some ways by what I could create texturally, as there are so many other items that speak to the era,   but I feel I fairly accurately represented the typical wartime diet well, given my parameters.

Molly is beloved by several generations of doll collectors, having been around since the 1980's.  I asked Robin, who is one of those collectors,  to say a few words about the era and about Molly.  She was kind enough to agree:  

Molly McIntire, a girl growing up on the home front during World war II was one of the original three characters released by Pleasant Company in 1986 and has been charming readers with her lively and patriotic stories ever since. Soon we’ll say farewell to Molly and Emily as they move into the American Girl archives. In tribute to them, Pippaloo has prepared authentic war time foods for Molly and Emily.  

Food was an important issue during World War II. Factories, trucks and ships were used for war production and transporting troops while canned goods were sent overseas where the fighting was. A government mandated rationing program was put in place to prevent food hoarding and ensure that everyone at home and overseas had a fair share of necessary foodstuffs.

By the fall of 1943 when Molly’s stories open, rationing was in full swing. There were no more pre-war goods to be had. 

The government issued ration coupon books to each person every month. Each book contained rows of stamps which could be used, combined with money, to purchase rationed goods. Point values were assigned to different products based on supply and demand. Molly is lucky because she lives in a city where there are many stores and Mrs. Gilford and Mom can shop around to find what they need to feed the family.

Eating healthy was considered an important line of defense on the home front during World War II. Home cooks were asked to make meals as nutritious and healthy as possible in order to keep up the health and morale of Americans on the home front. Eating foods that were available also meant eating foods that were different. 

Mrs. Gilford and Mom plan the McIntire meals around the basic 7 food groups.  Each meal should be quick and easy to plan, provide a balance of nutrients, and use foods that were still available. 

Lunch or supper should include a main protein dish, vegetable, bread with dairy spread, light dessert in the form of fruit salad or pudding, and milk. 

The government also encouraged Americans to plant Victory Gardens as the “first line of defense.” Home-grown fruits and vegetables cleared the way for more canned goods to be sent to troops overseas, conserved food for future use, saved money, and upheld the health and morale of Americans.

Substitutes for rationed goods were encouraged during war time. Beef was difficult to get and expensive. People could eat less popular types of meat such as lamb, pork, chicken or fish, or they could try different parts of the animal. Soy flour was also used to pump up hamburgers. When meat was available, cooks created thrifty dishes to make the meat stretch farther.
When the Allies seemed to be winning in 1944, rationing became less strict, but as the Axis powers advanced heading into 1945, rationing picked up again for 1945. Food rationing ended in 1947. 


Thanks so much to Robin for her insight and wisdom.  


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