The Evanston Community Kitchen

A food memoir about women in the kitchen and history in the making. Food = Story.

Hooverizing: Food Will Win the War

1 Comment

National Canning Day was October 23.

In the summer of 1918, the women of the Evanston Woman’s Club canned 7,000 jars of fruits and vegetables from local wartime gardens in an effort to aid their community and the war effort.  Food conservation was a growing concern in 1918.  Armistice Day was months away.  Posters were displayed in public areas to conserve food.

Tacking up U.S. Food Administration posters at Mobile, Alabama, Ca. 1918.
COPYRIGHT: American Photo Archive

The women of Evanston, who still did not have the right to vote — organized, facilitated, gathered, cooked, canned and prepared 7,000 jars of fruits and vegetables from local wartime gardens to feed community members and raise money for club’s War Emergency Fund. The three committee chairwomen of the food conservation committee were Mrs. Helen Dawes, Mrs. Elizabeth Odell (my great-grandmother), and Mrs. Nellie Kingsley. These three women were also the co-founders of The Community Kitchen.

Image Source: Evanston History Center Community Kitchen Co-Founders and Evanston Woman’s Club Food Conservation Committee Chairwomen
Left to Right: Mrs. James Odell, Mrs. Homer Kingsley, and Mrs. Helen Dawes

The club’s food conservation kitchen and canning event was in the Evanston Woman’s Club basement.  They raised a total of $250 for the club’s War Emergency Fund.  Woodrow Wilson referred to this successful conservation effort often, as well as rating it the most efficient conservation kitchen in the nation.

Artist: Charles E. Chambers
Issued by: The United States Food Administration to encourage voluntary food conservation

Image Source: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Related links:

Herbert Hoover, United States Food Administrator, appointed by President Woodrow Wilson, started a voluntary food conservation program in 1917, when America entered the Great War, to reduce domestic food consumption by 15%.  “Food will win the war” was the name of the food conservation campaign.

Envelope with slogan, “Food will win the war,” postmarked January 29, 1918
Image Source: ebay

Food conservation was also referred to as “Hooverizing.”

Valentine from 1918
Image Source: National Archives

It’s makes you realize how long women have been working behind the scenes to get things done.  Every time I go to write a post on a subject related to The Community Kitchen, I get lost in research and overwhelmed with what to fit into a short blog post.  This canning event was one of the seeds that grew into The Community Kitchen.  The other seed was a successful emergency kitchen, established during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918.  Guess where this emergency kitchen was set up? Yes, the Evanston Woman’s Club basement.

Food equals story.

Food Conservation Poster 1917
Image Source: http://www.archives.gov

Did you can any food this fall?  If so, please share in the comments. If not, what would you like most to have on your shelf for the winter? My bounty this summer was fresh basal, which I plan on making pesto sauce with.

Advertisements

Author: memomuse

I am an arts educator, writer, poet, photographer, and mama. United Arts Council Artist in the Schools and Writer-in-Residence -- I am available to conduct workshops and residencies: Memoir, Writing, Poetry, Spoken Word, Poetry Slams. Contact me for more information. Also available for freelance writing and photography. I am also working on a historic food memoir: http://evanstoncommmunitykitchen.wordpress.com

One thought on “Hooverizing: Food Will Win the War

  1. Great post! It is easy to get lost in the research. You have done a great job. I’ve thought about sharing some of mine. I like the newspaper pictures. The art for newspapers at that time was so creative and well-done.