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World War One - Canadian Homefront

Food on the Homefront

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People living on the homefront were given specific instructions to follow about the food they ate and cooked.

A lot of problems on the homefront were caused by food.  Food was both "reduced" and "produced" in order to help the war.
 
Reducing food consumption...
 
Before the start of the first world war, the average canadian ate about 29 pounds of fish each year.  During the war, because of effort by the government, this amount rose to 125 pounds of fish per person.
 
This is the recommended amount of food consumed by an average, hard-working man during world war one:
 

Breakfast

Dinner

Supper

Creamed cod

Brown bread

Butter

Oatmeal

Milk for oatmeal

Coffee

Sugar

Pork chop

Mashed potatoes

Steamed pudding

Bread

Carrots

Milk for coffee

Sugar

Corn muffins

Bean soup

Butter

Cookies

Sliced bananas

Tea and milk

Sugar

The food controllers of Canada implied that that consumtion of a family of five (per week) should not surpass:

  • 10 pounds of meat or substitutes
  • 20 pounds of cereal
  • 20 pounds of potatoes
  • 28 pounds of vegetables and fruit
  • 3 pounds of fat products
  • 14 quartz of milk

Housewives were advised to use certain foods when cooking and were given advice on how to cook it.  For example, instead of wheat, wives were told to use corn, barley and rye and use ham and pork bones in other dishes.  Several other suggestions were issued such as, eat as little cake and pastry as possible and to chew their food thoroughly. 

Producing food...

"We must produce all we can, waste nothing and shift our consumption as much as practicable from wheat, flour beef and bacon to other foods.  The other foods are just as wholesome for us but are not as suitable for shipment overseas in wartime."                           

                                                          Food Controller of Canada 1917

 

11, 952 boys between the ages of 15 and 19 were initiated and placed on farms during the war.  They were to help with the chores and overcome the lack of work.

The Canadian farmer graciously increased their food production to contributed to the war effort.  The farmers also allowed the government to export more.

Commodity

1913

1918

Butter (pounds)

3 633 825

4 926 154

Eggs (dozens)

158 217

4 896 793

Wheat (bushels)

92 686 291

150 342 037

Bacon (pounds)

40 000 000

200 000 000

Beef (pounds)

5 000 000

87 000 000

Value ($)

189 000 000

833 000 000

 

Exports of

1914

1918

The mine

$ 53 084 863

$ 79 650 972

The fisheries

$ 18 661 560

$ 34 129 743

The forest

$ 41 523 344

$ 66 857 990

Animal Produce

$ 70 727 132

$ 181 391 749

Agricultural products

$126 262 825

$ 326 974 133

Manufactures

$ 71 870 071

$ 555 725 934

Miscellaneous

$ 549 920

$ 5 119 826

Total

$382 679 715

$1 249 850 347

 

See page: Questions and Answers to learn more about the restrictions of the people on the homefront during WW1

By Michelle, Deidra, and Maria