August 9, 2018

Hooverizing in Montana during the Great War

Shortly after the United States entered World War I in the spring of 1917, Herbert Hoover was appointed head of the U.S. Food Administration. As such, he oversaw the coordination of food production and conservation of food supplies for the war effort. The Administration’s education and promotion proved so successful in stirring national conscience about food rationing that the term ‘Hooverizing’ became synonymous with a national stamp of approval for economizing food. Below is the main structure of what was expected while Hooverizing your meals.

In reaction to federal and state propaganda and the narrowing definition of patriotism, Montana’s women and communities steadfastly applied themselves to Hooverizing. To prove their patriotism and raise monies, women’s groups published community cookbooks filled with appropriately rationed recipes and literature.

At least three of these 1917-1919 cookbooks have survived and are housed in the MHS Research Center Cookbook Collection. From Butte, Missoula, and Hot Springs, the books offer endless insights into the women’s sphere and how they interpreted Hooverizing. The first two shown below have been digitized and are on the Montana Memory Project (see each link beneath its corresponding title cover).
[Ladies' Aid Society Cook Book. First Baptist Church. Butte, Montana, 1917. CKB 641.5 F519L 1917] On MMP

[Red Cross Cook Book. Hot Springs Red Cross Society. Hot Springs, Montana, 1918 CKB 641.5 H797R 1918] On MMP

["War Winning" Recipes. Young Ladies Sodality. St. Francis Xavier's Church. Missoula, Montana. 1918. CKB 641.5 St109W 1918]
Could you go a full week of Hooverizing? Maybe you already do cut back on wheat, sugar, and meat. But, which of these recipes would you, or do you, use on a regular basis? Try them out and let us know what you think. Notice that most recipes have names, or use terms, associated with the war and with Hooverizing!

Check out our board on Pinterest dedicated to the #HooverChallenge, where we can review each recipe and share more recipes with one another. We would love to hear from you about the challenge; about any of the recipes; about any recipes you share with us; about whether you know of a Montana cookbook from that era that we don’t have; about anything related to World War One and Hooverizing on food! Let’s get cookin’…

 World War One ‘Hooverizing’ Recipes
 Save the waste, control the taste;
Eat corn bread and rye,
Meatless days, wheatless days,
Eat less cream and pie.
For our Allies’ sake, cut out the cake,
Save food, and win – or die;
Keep fighters fit, this is our bit,
And that is the reason why…
[from: Red Cross Cook Book, p.13]


Scotch Broth
5 cups water
5 tbs. rolled oats
½ can tomatoes
1 small onion diced
2 small potatoes diced
Salt and pepper to suit taste. Cook about 1 hour until onion and potatoes are well done.
            Mrs. Mary Kimball, who made this notation next to this recipe:  Good
               War Winning Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality, of St. Francis Xavier’s, Missoula, MT, 1918, p.21.

Conservation Soup
Put 1 tbs. butter in sauce pan, slice in a small onion, let simmer slowly until onion is soft, but not brown.  Now add any small bits of left-over vegetables you may have, also cooked rice or oatmeal, season to taste with salt, pepper, a bit of bay leaf or anything you may like, simmer slowly until ready to serve, add milk or cream and milk, to make enough needed, heat to boiling point and serve; 2 rolled crackers added just before serving is an improvement.
               Mrs. Belle Vanderhoof, Hot Springs, Mont.
               Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.17

Woodrow Wilson’s Okey Hash
Cook a piece of lean beef or other meat till very tender, take meat out of broth, when meat is cold run through food chopper or chop fine.  Heat broth to boiling and stir in barley groats as for mush, stir in as much as you can with a spoon, add chopped meats, let cook for 3 or 4 hours on back of stove or in double boiler, or fireless cooker.  This can be eaten fresh or warmed up same as hash or cold potatoes. 
          Mrs. Belle Vanderhoof, Hot Springs, Montana
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.20.

Allies. Left-Over meat
1 pint any cold meat or fowl.  Cook together a few minutes, ½ cup water or stock and 2 tbs. bread crumbs, add 2 tbs. cooking oil or butter, the meat, seasoning and 2 well beaten eggs, fill well greased custard cup or gem pans, stand in pan of boiling water in oven and bake 15 or 20 minutes.  Sauce—1 tbs. butter, 1 tbs. flour, ½ cup milk and ½ cup stock or water, mix well, put on stove, stir till boiling, remove and add yolk of one egg, salt and pepper and strain into serving dish.  Turn Allies into sauce, and garnish with triangles of toasted bread.
           Mrs. T. G. Demer, Hot Springs.
           Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.18

“O woe is me,” cried Mrs. Rye
On Wheatless, meatless day,
“What shall I fix that isn’t meat?”
We answer, just this way:
[from: Red Cross Cook Book, p.23]

Liberty Salad
1 small head cabbage, 1 medium sized onion, 5 cold boiled potatoes, 3 slices fat bacon or fat from ham, chop onion and cabbage fine together, dice potatoes finely, then mix with cabbage and onion, dice bacon and fry crisp, mix all together, pouring grease from bacon over all while still hot.  Dressing— ½ tps. Salt, ½ tps. Pepper, ½ tsp. mustard, cup of vinegar, if too strong weaken with water, mix and pour over salad.  Can omit potatoes and add either cold dried beans or cooked string beans.
          Mrs. C. Maher, Hot Springs.
           Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.24

General Pershing Salad
Mix ½ cup grated cheese with 1 cup whipped cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add 1 tbs gelatin dissolved in 1 scant cup water. Put into molds rinsed with cold water; when jelly begins to harden sprinkle with grated cheese. A nice change can be had by adding any small quantity of any preferred minced green vegetable, such as chives, green onions, parsley, etc., but only a small quantity, and minced fine, some salad fruits also can be used, chopped apples and celery, bananas and celery, or a very little orange. Serve with French or cream dressing. During war time possible French will be more appropriate.
          Mrs. C. Maher, Hot Springs, Mont.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.24

Side Dishes

Carrots and Onions, La France
Carrots sliced, not too thin, boil in salted water till tender. Cut up onion and fry in hot drippings, pour about 1 cup into pan with the onions, let come to boil, thicken with cornstarch stirred up in cold water, cook till slightly thickened, add carrots, drained cook up, add pepper and sald.
               Mrs. Alex Howell, Rosalia, Wash.
               Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.29

Tomatoes en Camouflage
Slice nice large ripe tomatoes, lay two or three slices on each plate, on lettuce, mince up green onions, radishes, parsley, sweet green peppers and cucumbers, mix well together, and sprinkle over tomatoes and pour over them any good salad dressing, dressing like for the tuna fish salad is good. Any of the above things can be omitted but onion.
          Mrs. S. L. Oliver, Spokane, Wash.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.25

Cakes, Cookies, Pies
Milkless, eggless, butterless cake
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
1/3 c. lard
2 c. seeded raisins
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves

Boil all 3 minutes. When cold add ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp soda dissolved in a little water.  Add 2 c. flour sifted with ½ tsp. baking powder.  Bake in slow oven.  Also served hot as a pudding with sauce. 
        Hand-written recipe inside cover of War Winning Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality of St. Francis Xavier’s,                   
        Missoula, MT, 1918

Wheat-less Chocolate Cake
½ cup fat, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup syrup, 3 eggs, ¾ cup milk, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup rice flour, 2 cups barley flour, 6 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 squares chocolate.  Cream the fat, sugar and egg yolks.  Add the syrup and mix well, add alternately the liquid and dry ingredients sifted together, add flavoring and melted chocolate. Fold in well beaten whites.  Bake 1 hour, starting in moderate oven, after 20 minutes raise heat. 
          Florence Hotel, Missoula, Mont.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.48

Liberty Angel Food
Whites of 4 eggs, ¾ cup powdered sugar, ½ cup pastry flour, 1/3 tsp cream of tartar, beat whites stiff, then beat the other ingredients in, bake in moderate oven.
          Mrs. Dave Hyre, Hot Springs, Mont.
          Red Cross Cook Book, Hot Springs Red Cross Society, 1918, p.41

 War Breads

The ad above, from the May 31, 1918 Hardin Tribune, alludes to the fact that war bread might not go down very well. Below are some recipes for war bread that you can try. Let us know if you could ‘stomach’ them.

War Bread
Two large cups whole wheat flour, 1 large cup white flour, 2 cups bread sponge, 2 tablespoons dark molasses, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons shortening, ¾ cup warm water, salt, mix, let rise once, then put in tins, let rise and bake; makes two loaves.
          Mrs. Ed Mergel

War Bread
Set a sponge at night with 3 pints potato water (warm), 3 pints flour mixture, 1 cake compressed yeast.  In the morning add lard size of an egg, 2 tbs. sugar, 1tbs. salt; enough flour mixture to knead stiff.  Let rise until light, about 1 ½ hours, then mold into loaves when light.  Bake 1 hour.  This will make 3 good loaves.
          Mrs. R. Klinager
           War-Winning Recipes, Young Ladies Sodality, St. Francis Xavier’s, Missoula, 1918, p.2

Contributors to the #HooverChallenge Project include MHS staff members Maggie Ordon, Curator of History; Molly Kruckenberg, Research Center Director; Zoe Ann Stoltz, Reference Historian; April Sparks, Government Records Archivist; and Barbara Pepper-Rotness, Reference Librarian.

And, if you are looking for a home for your Montana WWI era cookbooks (or, other Montana cookbooks), you can contact Zoe Ann Stoltz at 444-1981 or