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Home Collections The Human Ecology Collection Recipe for Victory: Food and Cooking in Wartime

About the Collection

Recipe for Victory:  Food and Cooking in Wartime

The Recipe for Victory: Food and Cooking in Wartime collection presents books and government publications documenting the national effort to promote and implement a plan to make food the key to winning World War I. Within the collection are materials explaining the world food situation, the nutritional value of foods, how to grow productive gardens in less than ideal conditions, and cookbooks with recipes for dealing with scarcity of various commodities such as meat and wheat. Included are works published between 1917 and 1919 in the United States and England.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917 food was desperately needed to supply the European civilian and military allies. Herbert Hoover was appointed as head of the U. S. Food Administration and launched a campaign to conserve food. Americans were urged to voluntarily stretch the food supply by cutting waste, substituting plentiful for scarce ingredients and participating in the food-conservation program popularly known as "Hooverizing," which included wheatless Mondays and Wednesdays, meatless Tuesdays, and porkless Thursdays and Saturdays. The Food Administration sponsored a program to educate the people about nutrition and food preservation to help persuade them that eating less would not be harmful. Signs and posters proclaimed, "Food Will Win the War" and pitched what became known as the "Doctrine of the Clean Plate." The National War Garden Commission encouraged Americans to "put the slacker land to use" by growing war gardens and to preserve by canning and drying all the food they could not use while fresh. This collection of historical materials captures these efforts related to the World War I era food situation.