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

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.”