Skinless frankfurtersSpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library

History buffs and frugalistas alike will enjoy this exhibition of old food posters from World Wars I and II, on view at the National Agricultural Library until September 10, then moving over to the USDA building. Created by Cory Bernat, the posters preach everything from the virtues of canning and meat alternatives, to the sins of wasting food: all good advice in today’s challenging economic climate.

Check out the earnest, well-meaning, and frequently wacky propaganda the government put out during this tumultuous time in our country’s past.

Like skinless frankfurters — the no-waste food! We’re not sure how much hot-dog casings waste, but … OK. The tips on stale bread remain quite useful: homemade “meat extender” is a big improvement over “pink slime“!

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School garden armySpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library

No dinner for you, Barbara Sue and Bobby, until you finish that watering and hoeing!













Cottage cheeseSpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library

Cottage cheese — the tofu of World War I.












Plenty of foodSpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library

Rationing is rational: the Ever-Normal Granary will provide, never fear.

In case you’re wondering, this is not a magical grain supply, but a system for stabilizing grain prices. Now, we have government subsidies to perform that function.











Michigan's bean brigadeSpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library

Presumably the uniform for this WWI brigade included beanies, and they rode pinto ponies….












FishSpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library

Skip the meat, and feast on fish that “feed themselves?” As opposed to those fish that are always demanding PB&J?











Potato postersSpecial Collections, National Agricultural Library“Spud the Kaiser!” The Staack and Luckiesh grocery in Iowa created this store-window display using U.S. Food Administration posters.

War poster with immigrantsSpecial Collections, National Agricultural LibraryHey immigrants, do your part: No bread for Italian grandmothers!













hen posterSpecial Collections, National Agricultural LibraryDepartment of Duh: The Fed does the math for citizens in 1917 — eggs in the hand are worth more than your chicken in someone else’s pot.













War poster about fatsSpecial Collections, National Agricultural LibraryThe War Food Administration sent packages of these signs directly to butchers and meat dealers. Imagine what a good lipo clinic could accomplish today …