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Entertaining in Wartime

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In the wake of wartime consumer restrictions, the draft, and questionable news from the front, Americans were in desperate need of light hearted distraction and social interaction. With a great deal of food and raw materials being rationed, how did industrious American homemakers manage to entertain without compromising the needs of their families? Well, they had to get creative. Humor, informality, and a little imagination were the keys to successful wartime entertainment. The Ladies Home Journal, Betty Crocker, and various other publications all offered party ideas, menus, and activities designed to be easy on the pocket book and on ration points.

Betty Crocker, in the pamphlet “Your Share” suggested Hobo Parties complete with tattered cloths and a menu of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pickles, and other easy things.  The centerpiece should be a stewing kettle over a fake fire made with crumpled red paper.  Décor included tin cups and plates.  After supper all could sit around the open fire and tell stories or sing old-time songs. Fun, easy, and economical.

Share your memories of wartime entertaining and parties at our Kitchen Memories site today!

Post by Anna Wysuph, Education Intern at The National WWII Museum

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