Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Etiquette and Wartime Rationing

It was suggested that future dinner invitations could be marked “B.Y.O.V.” or “Bring Your Own Vegetables” to help with the problems associated with wartime food rationing.

From World War II Era Food Rationing Came 
a New Possible Victory Canner “B.Y.O.V.” Etiquette for Dinner Hosts and Guests

WASHINGTON. UPI —Changes in eating habits, more home gardening and home canning are in the cards. The severity of canned goods rationing coming at this time of year, seems likely to spurt the “Victory Garden” program and plans for home canning of fruits and vegetables. Changes in diet will be more pronounced, perhaps, when meat rationing starts, but some differences in eating habits are indicated immediately. 

No more punching open a can of tomato or grapefruit juice for breakfast every day. . . . Less rushing home from a bridge game, ladies, to ready a meal by can-opener in the few minutes before the husband comes home from work. Too, the familiar phrase, “Junior, eat your spinach,” may give way to “Junior, eat your sauerkraut,” for canned kraut is the cheapest thing (in points) on the ration list—if you can find any. 


It's taken for granted that food rationing will mean an increase in eating out. However, restaurants will be rationed, too, although the Office of Price Administration is leaving it up to them to figure out how to use the food supplies they get. Some Washington sources are wondering whether the number of restaurant meals will increase to the point where further official control may be instituted. 

In England, restaurant meals are controlled through a ceiling on prices, and restrictions on the number of dishes which may be served in a meal. When meat rationing comes along, the shift to such unrationed foods as spaghetti (with a little meat going a long way), potatoes, bread and cereals may cause the feminine contingent a few worries on the weight score. 


Then there’s the question of developing a new etiquette for dinner guests. Dinner invitations in the future might be marked “B.Y.O.V.” (Bring your own vegetables.) Offhand, it seems as though—unless there’s trading among neighbors — small families will get less variety of rationed goods than families which can consume a whole can at one sitting. For housewives say, there's apt to be less waste of such foods—no throwing away of leftovers. — by James Marlow and George Zielke, 1943

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia©️ Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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