Library highlights Chambers County’s help with WWI

Published 6:11 pm Monday, December 10, 2018

VALLEY — For the past year, Bradshaw-Chambers County Library and Cobb Memorial Archives have had an exhibit entitled “Defenders of Democracy,” which highlighted the Valley’s contributions to World War I.

The year-long show concluded with a special program in the Lanier Room this past Thursday.

The library staff got together to prepare some WWI era food to get across how Americans lived on the home front and how our soldiers persevered in the war zone.

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Attendees sampled such items as cornmeal gingerbread alongside wheatless, eggless, milkless and sugarless cake, as well as army goulash, war cake, molasses cookies and cornwilly hash.

The food items served were made without things such as wheat, eggs, milk and sugar, so cooks used their imaginations to come up with new recipes made from substituted items.

Archivist Robin Brown said that there was a worldwide lack of food during the war years, especially in France and Belgium, where most of the fighting had taken place.

To address this, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover to head up a food relief effort.

“He cobbled together a coalition of people to get it done,” Brown said. “He instituted a principle of shared sacrifice. He believed that whoever could endure the longest would win the war.”

Hoover directed a program that was spectacularly successful.

“The allies asked for 750,000 tons of wheat,” Brown said. “Hoover delivered 850,000 tons.”

Voluntary rationing on the home front became known as Hooverizing.

A poem known as “O.U. Hoover” went:

“My Tuesdays are meatless,

My Wednesdays heatless,

I’m getting more eatless each day.

My home is heatless,

My bed is sheetless.

They’re all sent to the YMCA.

The barrooms are treatless,

My coffee is sweetless,

Each day I get poorer and wiser.

My stockings are feetless,

My trousers are seatless.

My stars, how I do hate the Kaiser!”