“Food Will Win the War!” This statement was emblazoned on literature and artfully designed posters distributed by the U.S. government through 1917 and 1918 as the nation became involved in the First World War. But, how did what was placed on the family dinner table really make a difference in war time? The answer to this question is the focus of The Castle and The Cook Shop’s “Food History: War Fare” historic dinner taking place Monday, November 5th at 6:00 p.m. at The First Congregational Church Fellowship Hall.
Guests at this dinner will enjoy a three course historic dinner accompanied by three speakers to learn and even taste the best wheatless, meatless, and sugarless recipes of WWI. “Wheatless,” “meatless,” and “sugarless” were buzz words used by the Food Administration run by future president Herbert Hoover. This government agency’s efforts were to persuade Americans to reduce their intake of red meat, wheat, and sugar. No formal restrictions were placed on the American consumer, but it was strongly suggested as one’s patriotic duty to observe “Meatless Mondays,” “Wheatless Wednesdays,” etc. All of this effort was to steer away from a food shortage in the U.S. and continue to adequately serve those at home, our soldiers overseas, and continue humanitarian aid to a starving populace in Europe.
What this meant for the American dinner table was not “less” but “different.” Breads and cakes were often made with no wheat or with a fifty-fifty blend of wheat and corn meal, oats, rice, potato flour, or just plain mashed potatoes. Fish, chicken, and pork became the center of a meal reducing beef’s hold on the average American household. Sugar was replaced by natural sweeteners like honey and molasses. Vegetables were grown in the family garden replacing the often purchased canned vegetables. These “victory gardens” would be replicated by many Americans during WWII.
Speakers at this dinner will focus on how the diets of Washington County’s home front and soldiers were affected by WWI. They will include The Castle’s Education Director Kyle Yoho discussing how terms like “farm to-table,” “nutrition,” and “carbs” are not new trends. In fact, they became a necessary part of the American conscious over 100 years ago to help win the war. Cyrus Moore with the Ohio WWI Centennial Commission will present the soldiers perspective on food during WWI. What did American WWI soldiers eat in camp and overseas… and did they really enjoy it? Dagmar Kupsche, owner of The Cook’s Shop, and Chef David Rudie will talk with the audience about the process of creating this meal inspired by the centennial of America’s involvement in the First World War.
This dinner will be the sixth in the Food History series collaboration between The Castle and The Cook’s Shop. “We’ve gathered a following of community member attendees for this series. Over the course of these events we’ve covered Marietta’s founding, the 1950s, the centennial celebration of 1888, and more” says Kyle Yoho, Education Director at The Castle. While cooking in the confines of “wheatless,” “meatless,” and “sugarless” might sound unfamiliar, the menu for this dinner will feature the best of these recipes from 1918 cookbooks. The highlights of the meal include a bread made with sweet potato, instead of beef – cod served with mashed potatoes and cream sauce, and for dessert will be “war cake,” a nicely spiced dessert using only a little flour and replacing white sugar, with brown.
Reservations for this dinner will be taken through Thursday, November 1 st . To get your tickets and to learn more about this event call The Castle at 740-373-4180 or visit www.mariettacastle.org. Cost of the meal is $44 per individual, and $39.60 for Castle members.
The Castle is a Victorian house museum that offers tours of the 1855 Gothic Revival style home, fully furnished with Victorian decor. Special events include summer camps, bus trips, presentations, workshops, concerts, childrens’ programs and more!