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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Food Fights for Freedom

First thoughts might be the "food fights" so familiar in a high school cafeteria with freedom being a day out of the classroom because of suspension! Not so in this case. Look at it again this time letting food act as a subject with fights serving as a verb. Reading it in this context sheds a whole different light on the topic. Um-m-m-m? That poses a question: How does 'food' fight? Ever heard of rationing?

  This Day in History: November 29, 1942

WWII on the Home Front: Rationing
War brings about changes, adaptations and often simply doing without amenities once taken for granted—daily routines, availability of food & clothing are no longer the same. During WWII, those on the home front made do with less in order for the troops serving overseas to have enough. Even though America was thought of as the land of abundance, times of rationing became necessary. Shortages began immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during the winter of 1941-42. All U.S. citizens soon found themselves with limited supplies of meat, sugar, canned goods, fuel, shoes. Then, on November 29, 1942, the commodity hit was coffee.

Why coffee?

Brazil and other Latin American countries were producing bumper crops of coffee beans even during WWII so production was not the issue. The countries responsible were either American allies or neutral. The problem was the demands on the military on shipping. All available ships were being diverted to the war effort. In addition, German U-boats were patrolling the shipping lanes and sinking merchant ships. The coffee supply in the US was dwindling. To ensure men in uniform received enough, civilians had to make do with less.

Sales of coffee were halted to prevent hoarding. As a result, each citizen was assigned ration cards, which insured the equivalence of all concerned. Sugar rationing had already been put into effect the preceding May (War Ration Book One) so the concept was nothing new to citizens. Ration stamps were modified to adjust their value and stamps #19 - 28 were each designated for one pound of coffee during a specified five-week period. When the period expired, so did the stamp. Coffee stamps could only be redeemed for family members over the age of fifteen. 

One pound of coffee every five weeks = Less than one cup per day

For those who just could NOT make it on less than a cup depended heavily upon family and friends who were non-coffee drinkers. To help spread the amount a little further, the coffee was not brewed as strong (lesser measured amount of coffee), coffee grounds were 'reused' and substitutes such as chicory or Postem were brewed. 

http://windsorplaceantiques.typepad.com/windsor-place-antiques-and-ephemera/2012/12/the-vintage-caf%C3%A9-collectible-caffeiniana.htmlAnother 'coffee' victim was the familiar coffee can. In the '40s, there was also a shortage of tin so the coffee manufacturers packaged it in glass jars. Aluminum was in much demand by the military. There are some great collectibles from this era since the coffee 'jars' were of unusual, interesting shapes and sizes. The jars did have metal lids with many manufacturers advertising support of the military with slogans such as "Food Fights for Freedom".

Old Judge Coffee was owned by David Evans. It was actually called the David Evans Coffee Co. and was one of the best selling brands in the USA until it was purchased by Chock Full O' Nuts in 1969. The building is still located on the Saint Louis Landing and can be seen from I-70.

Even though rationing is not in effect today, there are ways to support our military who are serving overseas. Show them you care!

 How much do you know about the flags of the United States Armed Forces?