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Coronavirus takes us back to the future of wartime food shortages

A 1943 ad for how to make do without potatoes.

I went to Target today for laundry detergent. I got so distracted by the empty shelves that I left without laundry detergent.

But I did get a huge pack of toilet paper! And, after looking with much dismay at the pasta-less pasta aisle and the bean-less bean aisle (except for pinto beans), I noticed a stock cart filled with unopened boxes. One box said “black beans” and I could’ve jumped for joy in a way that I have never jumped for joy at beans of any kind. A worker obligingly opened the box and handed me two bags of black beans. The meat section was cleared out for the most part, but I found a pork roast that will go nicely with a crockpot of black beans. And I found a package of hot dogs for our hot dog-loving dog and two lonely boxes of frozen waffles for my waffle-loving husband.

In other words, I’m learning to make do much like my grandmother did during World War II. Newspapers during the 1940s filled their pages with recipes to help housewives dealing with limited pantries.

I thought it would be fun to go back to the future by seeing what insight I might get from wartime recipes. Here we go.

If only I could buy meat …
Interesting …
If you can find bacon …

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