Food for Those That Labor

Labor Day has come and gone – but there’s still time to celebrate with food from Rosie the Riveter and all those men and women that labored during WWII. Whether she labored in a shipyard or mill Rosie and the men she worked beside most likely took their lunches with them.  I recently found a list of items in a typical 1944 lunchbox.

 WWII We Can Do It poster

  • Meat loaf sandwich – ok
  • Chocolate brownie – ok
  • Spreading cheese and piccalilli sandwich– not ok – especially since I don’t have a clue what a piccalilli is.  Time for a research break…It turns out piccalilli is different depending on where it’s made – from England to across the pond to us it’s changed along the way.  In the Northeast it’s made with sweet red and peppers; like a pickle relish.  So far I’m not impressed.  In the Midwest its chopped gherkins – also known as neon relish – paired with hot dogs.  Since I’m not a sweet pickle fan I’m way past unimpressed.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in the South – we don’t serve piccalilli; we serve chow-chow made from green tomatoes.  No, that statement is wrong because apparently I wasn’t raised far enough “south.” I never had chow-chow.  Bottom line:  I would rather miss a meal than have piccalilli on my sandwich.
  • Sliced ham and egg salad sandwich – ok
  • Cottage cheese and pickle relish – what was the 40’s deal with pickle relishes?
  • Grapes, fig bars – ok
  • Liverwurst sandwich – really?  Really?  Apparently I would have been very hungry in the 40s.
  • If that wasn’t enough the first item on the suggested dinner menu was – Liver Loaf.  Thank you I’ll get my Iron from vitamins.

Different Foods for Different People

I know there are people who enjoy different foods.  I’ve opened a freezer door in Denmark to discover an entire pig’s head just waiting to be boiled and made into head cheese. Each to his or her own.  My Grandpa Harold took white bread piled heated canned baked beans on top and then poured vinegar over it.  Some of you may have just gagged but I still find that delicacy delicious.  Then there was my father’s love of onion sandwiches:  white bread, butter and onion slices.  I didn’t pick up that eating habit but my sister did.  How about Grandma Olie’s breakfast of champions: cereal with coffee poured over it.  Another food treat I have gladly foregone.

The above list was suggested for workers but what about the school children.  I remember school lunches so vile that even now I gag when I recall them but I’ll say one thing for those cafeteria workers:  they actually cooked food.  If the card below is too hard to read – just click on it, you should get a larger image.

Recipe for School lunch 1946

Anything that starts out with 2 ¼ pounds of table fat is going to keep those young bodies doing something.

A Government Food Chart I Can Live With

But all was not bad in the war years.  Stop a minute and get a mental image of our current food triangle pushing the fruits and vegetables to one published during the war.  Pay close attention to Group 7 of the WWII foods that the government advocated we eat each and every day.  Yep Group 7 is my favorite.  There’s a food group I can support.  How about you?  In addition check out the note on the bottom of the chart.  That’s my type of government food chart.

Food Chart WWII

Have odd foods that you love to eat…let us know in the comments section below.


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