Food is a weapon

Back to food…

Tonight I had a delicious dinner at Angelica Kitchen in the East Village, a place I discovered when I first moved to New York and was living nearby. The restaurant is a vegetarian staple in the city that’s been open since 1976. I tried one of the specials tonight – The Bean-52’s (yes now I have this in my head too): Savory quinoa-vegetable croquettes featuring sautéed butternut squash, carrots, celery, onions & parsley; topped with tarragon tofu cream & served over heirloom ayocote negro bean sauce. Yum. Unfortunately in my excitement I forgot to get a picture but it tasted fantastic and was a perfect dinner for my gluten free week.

But what really inspired me to write a post tonight was the 1943 war poster in the bathroom at Angelica. It made me think about how attitudes to food have changed.

In the war, ensuring people got enough fresh food and vitamins were top priorities for the government. Importing and exporting food wasn’t easy and citizens were encouraged to grow their own food, preserve what they could and minimize food waste. The government took the extra initiative to ensure people were educated about how to can, store, dry, freeze, pickle fruit and vegetables. I love the Vit-A-Min Go game in this article that explains how to eat a Victory diet: Food is a Weapon: Nutrition Programs Fight for Victory. Nutrition played a vital role in improving the population’s health, reducing disease and keeping up morale in a challenging environment.

I spotted a similar poster a while ago in another of my favorite places, DigInn (formerly The Pump). I believe this messaging was originally used in World War I.

The message in both posters is simple and definitely relevant today. We should all be trying to prevent food going to waste on a daily basis, especially considering the huge food mountains and imbalance in the world. I wish today’s health leaders were as determined to prioritize food education as they were when they had a wartime agenda.

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