By William “Skip” Deegans
Russia’s bombing of Ukrainian wheat fields and grain storage facilities and resulting world shortage of wheat is somewhat reminiscent of another time in recent history. At the outset of World War I, Americans and the British had developed a penchant for white bread. The war led to a shortage of wheat in Europe, and the United States had over four million servicemen and women to feed. To free up flour to ship to Europe and our military forces, the United States government began a campaign to encourage home bakers to substitute alternatives like corn meal, rye, barley, rice, potato or buckwheat flour for white flour. The recipe shown above was printed in the 1918 Greenbrier Independent. Bread that was baked with other flour was called Victory Bread or War Bread.
It was noted in the same edition of the Greenbrier Independent that Ronceverte’s Limestone Milling Company had delivered, in a sixty-day period, 1,050 barrels of flour – enough to feed 400,000 soldiers in France for one day. The paper went on to write, “Just think of it – Greenbrier boys eating, in France, the wheat they helped raise before war was declared against the Hun.”
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Sources: Greenbrier Independent, PBS, Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes, Library of Congress.