World War II and American Food Consumption
Whenever we talk about dining we associate it with more than simply eating to get by. We usually think of eating as an experience. Whenever we try a dish for the first time, we don’t eat it as some would do in an eating competition. Usually we stop and think of what exactly is in that dish; we try to ustnderstand what flavors are enticing our tongues and how we perceive the food in general. Once we come to a general understanding of whether or not it fits our taste buds, various food establishments all over the country make it a point to let their clients experience the food they eat. That is when we actually eat. A restaurant in Fort Lauderdale may specialize in a certain dish while a crawfish joint in Louisiana might specialize in something else but the concept now remains the same.
For some of us, it’s not about the food in particular but the people surrounding us. Sometimes we get together over lunch or dinner but we focus less on the experience of the food itself and focus more on what the people around us are saying. In either case, majority of us Americans would lean to either of the two, the people or the sensation the dish itself brings. One thing is for certain, we have come a long way from merely stuffing ourselves with the food we have just to get by to more of a culture of “foodies.”
It wasn’t always like this though, the food culture in America, believe it or not, is fairly new. We are just starting to see an emergence of new dishes and sub cultures that cater to the food industry itself, we have begun seeing more and more food critics and enthusiasts that add to the phenomena that is the food culture. But what caused this shift of perception? What caused us to see food as a medium for social and personal experience? In order to answer that, we must go back, to World War II.
In 1941, America witnessed the destruction of Pearl Harbor. Before that, Americans in general were hesitant to enter the war again as it did not fare well with the people after the WWI ended. The great depression of 1929 -1939 was heavily due to the war effort and the ties that the United States formed with European nations.
To cut it short, when the fires of war ravaged the Europe, their local economies fell and so did America’s. Reserves dried up and the nation experienced one of the greatest economic declines in history. After the depression, America recovered and people finally were able to put food on their tables again. But this was not to last. As the fog of war loomed over the horizon, Nazi Germany made the tripartite pact with the empire of Japan and Mussolini’s fascist Italy that would later on be named the Axis powers. Fast forward to 1941 and America saw themselves hungry for vengeance and justice. President Roosevelt made the declaration of War against the Axis regime.
American civilians were forced to contribute to the war effort, companies and suppliers shifted from the public market and into developing materials for the front lines. Rationing forced the ordinary citizens to again feed themselves to merely get by. As food started pouring more into military bases rather than the public market, the concept of a food surplus for the American citizen slowly became a distant dream.
After WWII, America spring boarded itself from being a regular country to becoming a global powerhouse. Along with Russia, America has become a superpower. With the economy booming and the nation capitalizing on the global market, produce has become what we now know as surplus.
American citizens can now benefit from the abundance of the economy and with that, bigger and tastier portions. Suppliers after WWII were gearing to look for new business ventures and thus conceptualized the idea of catering services.
Catering in Fort Lauderdale for example, have their roots in the post War era as Florida was a powerhouse of the war effort during WWII. Food joints shifted from simply dishing out pieces of meat that filled the American stomach to a more sophisticated and complex form of art. Food has transformed from being a necessity to an indulgence. Now we see people experimenting on new dishes and people giving critique to these dishes. The emergence of a food culture has finally sprung up and until now, we still see new innovations in the consumption and marketing of food.
With the emergence of a food culture and a booming industry centered on the consumption of food, people have grown to associate it with both personal and social experiences. It is the experiences that make people crave for more.
Tower Deli is a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale that proudly lives by that idea that the American palette has shifted and is looking for an experience that they will remember for years to come. Tower Deli catering and diner knows its roots and has upheld the tradition of catering to the American desire, to cater and give an experience that the American market craves for. For inquiries, you can call 954.452.8202. We are located at 2315 South University Dr. Davie, Florida 33324. We at Tower Deli stay true to our roots and look forward to the future of the food industry and healthy, filling American consumerism.