During the Second World War, as Canada struggled to provide its allies with food, public health officials warned that malnutrition could derail the war effort. Posters admonished Canadians to “Eat Right” because “Canada Needs You Strong” while cookbooks helped housewives become “housoldiers” through food rationing, menu substitutions, and household production. Ian Mosby explores the symbolic and material transformations that food and eating underwent as the Canadian state took unprecedented steps into the kitchens of the nation, changing the way women cooked, what their families ate, and how people thought about food. Canadians, in turn, rallied around food and nutrition to articulate new visions of citizenship for a new peacetime social order.
Ian Mosby is a historian of food, health, and nutrition in Canada and a postdoctoral fellow in the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University.
Both books [Mosby’s Food Will Win the War as well as well as A Small Price to Pay: Consumer Culture on the Canadian Home Front by Graham Broad, UBC Press 2013] are much needed additions to the historiography of Canada’s Second World War Experience. Too often have the daily lives of those on the home front been overlooked in favour of the stories of the men and women who marched away in khaki. Those who remained behind – 90 percent of Canadians – also had their worlds fundamentally transformed by war, as these books demonstrate. Specialists will certainly appreciate these works, but both are accessible and appealing to a general audience as well.