Conservation becomes second nature
United States Food Administration
Restrictions on wheat
Substitution became a very familiar part of the home front experience as necessity became the mother of invention. Corn, barley, rice, oat, rye, potato, and other flours appeared in breads. In order to get a small sack of white wheat flour, a shopper had to buy an equal amount of non-wheat flour. Recipes for bread and other typically wheat-based products recommended no more than 50% white flour. Some Oregon families saved their "pure white bread" for once a week meals. Others observed "Wheatless Wednesdays." In Grass Valley conservation was reinforced when "Hoover cards and pamphlets were distributed among the housewives for use in the kitchen."
These "victory breads" and the countless similar recipes proved to be a mixed blessing as one observer noted: "Many people got indigestion and numerous other ailments from this way of living, it is not so much what they ate as the way it was put together. And then there is the other side, many people regained their health from the course foods and declare that never again will they eat bread made entirely of whole wheat flour."
Limiting the use of sugar
Once again, substitutions filled the sweetener gap as honey and various kinds of syrups made their way into recipes formerly calling for sugar. Sugarless gum was developed during World War I. To underscore the value of conserving sugar, one estimate claimed that "the cost of the yearly consumption of candy in the United States per year is double the amount needed to supply Belgium with food for one year."
Uncle Sam's Kanning Kitchen
The kitchen had help from 52 clubs and sororities during its four month run. In the cherry season, up to 100 women and children would be taken by Army trucks and its own motor pool to orchards where they could pick over a ton of fruit a day. The cherries were then sorted and "turned over to an experienced corps of lieutenants who canned and made jam, jelly, butter, and preserves."
In addition to picking fruit, the kitchen benefited from donations from the city markets and commission houses. Tons of this fruit were sent fresh to the Vancouver Barracks Hospital, Benson Polytechnic Hospital, and local charities for children.
Among the statistics recorded by the group: the largest donation was 11.5 tons of pears; the largest amount canned in one day was 815 quarts of cherries; and on two occasions the group picked and canned 2.5 tons of cherries.
Other conservation adjustments
Hood River schools were among the many in the state that worked to secure food savings pledges from local residents. Their effort yielded pledges from 99% of the county's families. In the process, the schools sent out over 2,000 letters, educating residents on the need for savings and on methods to conserve food. Numerous conferences held by teachers and food dealers rounded out the efforts.
Oregonians also tried to produce more food locally during the war. The government had taken over the railroads and given preference to shipping war necessities. This left many communities with fewer fruits and vegetables than they received before the war. In response, many people grew "war gardens." One Klamath Falls observer noted that "since the war, everyone who has had a plot of ground has had some sort of a garden and altho [sic] this seemed small in itself it saved a great deal as a whole."