Avid fans of Dakota Datebook may recall that Edwin F. Ladd, born in 1859, was an important personage in the history of food production and consumption. He had studied chemistry, and eventually taught the subject at the North Dakota Agricultural College and Experiment Station, now NDSU, in Fargo. He became president of the school in 1916, remaining there throughout the struggles of World War I, leaving the post when he was elected to the US Senate in 1921. He was also State Food Commissioner from 1902 to 1921.
The Wolford Mirror published several articles by Ladd, including one on this date, urging people to help in one little way to “win the war:” to forgo wheat, and eat corn, barley, oats and rye, instead. As well as potatoes—there was an abundance of potatoes.
The United States Food Administration was hoping to save 90,000,000 bushels out of Americans’ normal wheat consumption to send across the seas.
One article stated:
“The United States will rush soldiers to France as fast as possible … North Dakota boys are already there. It is believed that a million American soldiers will be in France by spring. The task of getting enough food to France and England is even now taxing the available shipping facilities to the utmost. Every nook and cranny of every ship is filled to capacity. Every American soldier added in France means one more mouth to feed and adds to these difficulties.”
These propagandistic articles included recipes from the Food Administration highlighting other grains and starches, such as Potato War Bread. Another recipe featured corn flour biscuits called Corn Dodgers, made with corn meal, salt, fat, and boiling water. Once combined and cooled, the biscuits could be formed—and were good with gravy or butter, according to the article.
Along with victory gardens, scrap drives, rationing and war bonds, it was the way to eat in time of war—when people were trying to help in any way to aid their loved ones fighting so far away.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
The Wolford Mirror, January 24, 1918
The Wolford Mirror, January 17, 1918