The Food Effort

Canadas Butter Opportunity Poster.jpg

Canada's Butter Opportunity, Canada Food Board. circa 1915. Archives of Ontario — War Poster Collection, C 233-2-0-2-62.

“‘How am I to make a cake without butter or sugar? It cannot be donenot cake that is cake. Of course one can make a slab, Mrs. Dr. dear. And we cannot even camooflash it with a little icing! To think that I should have lived to see the day when a government at Ottawa should step into my kitchen and put me on rations!’”

 Susan Baker to Anne Blythe. L. M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside. NY: Stokes, 1921.

Fish Recipes_Cropped.jpg

Fish Recipes: Canadian Fish and how to Cook Them, Canada Food Board. Montreal and Toronto: Herald Press and Advertising Agency, 1918. Archival and Special Collections, Univerisity of Guelph (TX 715.6 ZZ944).

While there was no official rationing during the First World War, Susan and other women were subjected to government propaganda that encouraged thrift within the kitchen. Freeing up essential food was seen as one of Canada’s main contributions to the war effort. The government asked Canadian women to save foods like wheat, bacon, beef, and butter, that were easy to send overseas to soldiers and allies.

Beginning in 1917 Food Controller W.J. Hanna published pamphlets to encourage participation in meatless days and careful planning of meals in order to eliminate food waste. In 1918 the Canada Food Board published a series of cookbooks that focused on fish, vegetables and fruits, potatoes, and breadsall suggesting the use of patriotic substitutions. Many women started Victory Gardens and, like Susan, provided their labour to famers to assist with bringing in the local harvest.


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