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Can you imagine feeding a family of seven during war rations in the early 1940s? That was the situation with my great-grandparents, Dell and Hildegarde Stringham. As a result, they learned a lot. World War II food storage class.
Their eldest child was my grandmother, and she emphasized telling all of my family about her experiences with food stockpiling during World War II. Food storage is an important part of our family history and we have learned a lot from it.
my great-grandparents story
It was prepared by Dell and Hildegarde Stringham long before preparation mattered, long before the media made a documentary about it. In fact, there was a food stockpile before it was even called a ‘food stockpile’.
It all started in 1939 when Dell, who owned a cannery in the 1930’s, approached a church leader. Dell was a member of the local church’s charity committee, and as a member of this committee, the church leader suggested stockpiling extra food at home.
There was hope that other community members would follow their example.
In 1939, the United States had not yet entered World War II, so it seemed that food storage or emergency preparedness was not immediately necessary as we think it today. (This was long before rationing, too. Britain did not ration until January 1940, and the United States did not follow it until 1942.)
In 1939, the idea of saving food might have seemed strange, but when the United States was totally embroiled in war, it turned out to be very good advice.
In the spirit of learning from history and passing that knowledge on to others, here are five things I can learn from my great-grandparents’ wartime food storage adventures.
5 Food Storage Lessons from World War II
Lesson 1: You can’t have too much.
Grandma said “My father brought sugar, equivalent to five hundred pounds of flour, and piled it up in the room above our garage. And in the basement I put a canned case of canned food and bought other things. . . So my mother put some fruit (like raspberry) in her bottle. Canned fruits (peach, pears, apricots, cherries) and canned vegetables (corn, beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, etc.) and tuna, salmon, [and] Corned Beef. Throughout the war, there was no shortage of food in our house..”
note: The important point here is that you can’t have too many. of the right food! The lesson is to stock up on food that lasts very long and can be used in a variety of ways. That’s why cooking from scratch is an important skill to learn.
Lesson 2: Stock up on food stockpiles now, not after the rations start.
“When the war began and rationing began with the use of metal for weapons and canning for soldiers, the mother [Hildegarde] We had to go to school and tell them what we ate. Women were standing in line and talking [the officials] There were 2 cans of soup and 1 can of tuna. And the mother told her list. She said everyone was gasping for breath and causing a great commotion. But it was all legal and I didn’t stock up.“
Read more: Building a food storage supply means storing that food properly. Learn about foods that must be repackaged for long-term storage, proper storage methods, and the 6 enemies of food storage.
Lesson 3: Sometimes it’s a good idea to not advertise exactly how much you have at home.
During this period, the concept of “fairness” took a very large place in the public consciousness. Perhaps some people didn’t think it was “fair” that the Stringham family had so much food in the house, even though they had the same ration cards as everyone else.
They could afford to help others, but if food had been confiscated or stolen, neither themselves nor others would have survived.
Read more: Here are some ideas for storing conspicuous supplies.
Lesson 4: Money you don’t have to spend on food can be spent on other needs.
Wartime food stockpiling wasn’t just about food. It was also about how you could secure funds for the things you needed but couldn’t grow, craft, or barter.
Hildegard had five children. Thanks to her arrangements, she was able to use some of her ration cards to buy shoes for growing children at a time when shoes were a luxury.
Think about the different kinds of needs that you can use that money for. Medicines, for example, when home remedies are not enough.What can we learn from the Second World War era when it comes to food storage? Click to Tweet
Read more: Here are some ways people could make money during the Great Depression.
Lesson 5: The best way to learn the contents of stored food is to store and use it.
“We’ve discovered that there are things that aren’t right. The weevil got into the flour. We should have put it in a metal can. Alternatively, stack a sack of sugar on the floor and a sack of flour on top of it, alternating between sugar and flour to prevent weevils from migrating to all sacks. [When] We went to use some flour, we had to sieve the flour, and instead of turning the wheel, we tap the sides of the sieve to let the flour pass through the sieve and the weevil stays in the sieve. And we ended up dumping too many canned wheat flour in the garden. – Wheat in cans can be stored much longer.”
Read more: For additional lessons on living in difficult times, read our collection of survival wisdom from the Great Depression.
Learn more about food storage
Storing food can be complex when you start searching for and getting information from all sources on the internet, books, YouTube videos, and social media.
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You will learn:
- exactly what to stock up,
- how to identify what the family will eat,
- And plan how the food will be combined to create delicious homemade meals that can be enjoyed even in critical crises.
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In a world of chaotic preparation, this course Survival Mom Taught HimselfProvides clear, focused, and needed help to mothers who want to prepare their family for emergencies.
Learn more about this class this link.
Does your family history have any stories of wartime food storage? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
This article was originally published on April 6, 2018 and has been updated.
Beth Buck lives in Utah with her husband and three children. She has a Middle East Studies/Arabic degree, a black belt in karate, a spinning wheel, and a list of hobbies that are too long to list here.