In this age of excess, it's easy to forget that there was a time when people rallied around the idea of individual deprivation for the common good. What a nice surprise to come across this poster, which so neatly sums up some of my most basic beliefs about food, and realize it was created nearly a century ago.
Designed by Fred G. Cooper for the U.S. Food Administration in 1917, this poster and others like it were part of an effort to get Americans to voluntarily reduce consumption of certain staples during World War I. The effort led to the introduction of the original "Meatless Mondays" as well as "Wheatless Wednesdays," and helped the country avoid government rationing during the war.
It seems we've come full circle in the nearly 100 years since this poster was designed. Ideas that seem so modern — eat locally! use less meat! — are actually a return to the past, back to a time when food was more precious and powerful enough to win wars.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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