Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Hundred Years Ago: 1918 Poem About Bread and WWI

For today's poster, we not only have a poster, but a link to a poem.

1918 Poem About Bread and WWI

Something like that shows the extent ot which resources were really short.  Today, we don't worry about white flour being available, and if we use some other sort of flour, it's likely because we're convinced it has some health benefit, or perhaps we just like the other flours.

But clearly, in World War One, things were a bit different.  People were obviously used to refined white flour, and that's what they would have normally cooked with. There was a dedicated effort to have them use something else.

It's interesting in looking at this to realize that I have sort of an odd exposure to alternative grains as my mother (a horrible cook, as I've noted before) used some.  She'd routinely make oatmeal bread and rarely tried to make white bread.  When she did make white bread, it wasn't great, as it had the consistency of bricks.  Her oatmeal bread was better, which isn't to say that it was great by any means.   But I wonder how many people ate oatmeal bread at that time?  Not many, I'd guess.

All of her cooking, as she noted, she'd learned at home from her Franco Irish Canadian mother.  More Irish, than French.  She would note from time to time that she'd learned how to cook in the English fashion, which wasn't really any different in Ireland.  In recent years, as I understand it, there's been a bit of a reconnaissance in English cooking and the reputation it (and Irish) cooking had obtained has started to change.  At least in my case, however, that change in views will be difficult.

None the less, it did mean an exposure to different grains.  Oatmeal in bread, barley in stew, and lots of cornbread (which she did well, and which I've always liked. 


Kristin said...

We always ate a lot of cornbread when I was growing up, maybe because my mother was taught to cook by her Alabama raised mother. Not much whole wheat until I was grown and baking my own bread.

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

It's funny how cornbread is associated with more than one North American region. In Quebec it was apparently called "Johnny Cake" with the term even used as a bit of a slur against French Canadians, with whom it was a common bread.

Sheryl said...

I'm honored that my post was the inspiration for this post. It's fun to see old posters which encouraged cooks to use less wheat and try other grains.