Archive for Sunday, January 21, 2018

World War I in Lawrence: Restaurants observe meatless and wheatless days

January 21, 2018

Editor’s note: Local writer Sarah St. John compiles reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence 100 years ago during World War I.


Food conservation efforts continued through the winter, with citizens encouraged to abstain from red meat every Tuesday and from all wheat products every Wednesday. Not only private citizens, but public restaurants, were urged to comply, and daily updates in the Journal-World publicized which eateries were observing the days.

An article from Jan. 16, 1918, included the following: “With the exception of the Supreme Cafe, every eating place on Massachusetts street, together with Bricken’s Cafe and Lee’s College Inn, has pledged itself to observe the meatless and wheatless days as asked by the government Food Administration.”

After this public shaming, the manager of the Supreme Cafe announced on Jan. 18 that his restaurant would also be complying.

The newspaper further reported that a number of places had been observing the meatless and wheatless days in spite of the fact that they had not been individually requested to do so by the state food administrator, concluding, “The owners of the various eating places appear to be more than anxious to make Lawrence a leader among the cities of the state. So far as is known here this city is one of the first in the state to observe the meatless and wheatless days so uniformly.”

The specifics of the days were spelled out as follows: “A meatless day means a day on which no beef, mutton, pork or any of their products including animal fats of any kind shall be served. On wheatless days no wheat shall be served to the public as far as it is possibly practicable.”


Steve Jacob 4 months ago

I always think what would happen now if things in the past our repeated. Can you imagine meatless days, ration stamps, gas lines, draft lottery now? When the city was without most internet for a couple off days we where near a riot.

Tony Peterson 4 months ago

It would be even worse now because there are a lot of people under the age of 35 who can't cook because they never learned how and would be lost without food they could pull from the freezer and stick in the microwave. I'm a child of children of the Depression and learned early on how to make the best of what you have on hand.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months ago

Steve you are exactly right. We don't even want to pay for our wars now. Let's just get a tax cut and have a war. Unless they have a relative in the military they hardly know or care what our troops are doing. Just give them a "Support the Troops" bumper sticker, and let them whine about football player kneeling during the anthem, and wrap themselves in the flag, but pay for the war? Sacrifice something?: Forget it. Let's bring back the draft, and the kid's of the rich people who make money from war go first.

Bob Smith 4 months ago

"...Unless they have a relative in the military they hardly know or care what our troops are doing..." Speak for yourself. That doesn't describe many of the Americans I know.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months ago

Then why aren't you willing to pay taxes to pay for the wars we've been fighting? And to pay for the vets who come back physically and mentally damaged? Your hypocrisy is showing.

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