HELEN DAVIS FEATURED BOOK: A SQUARE MEAL: A CULINARY HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION

 

squaremeal

 

What people are eating is a reflection of their society.  A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe explores what people were or were not able to eat during the Depression.  It also covers various ways that the government attempted to provide relief to its citizens who were often in crisis.  I had not realized that before this period, the federal government had no involvement in the nutrition of its citizens.  This was also an era of discoveries of how vitamins and minerals worked to promote good health.  When US citizens were so desperate for food, some actually dying of starvation, the government was forced to step up.  Different methods of relief were tried at different times.  When farm crops were abundant, the federal government bought up the surplus and turned it over to various organizations for distribution to the disadvantaged.  The Red Cross frequently had a role in this.  The Depression was also an era that ushered in the school lunch program.  Research was done that showed how poorly children learned when they were hungry.  These two food historians have uncovered so much information about how people and government coped with hunger.  Recipes are even included.

 

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