Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dark Times For Coffee Drinkers...!

The rationing that was experienced during the terrible conflict of World War 2 touched nearly everyone in the United States!

So many things were in short supply that people had to become very creative. Since the ending of that particular war, we have been very lucky not to have experienced the kinds of shortages that were the norm back then. If we did, I wonder if we could once again become as creative.

Nov 29, 1942:
Coffee rationing begins

On this day in 1942, coffee joins the list of items rationed in the United States. Despite record coffee production in Latin American countries, the growing demand for the bean from both military and civilian sources, and the demands placed on shipping, which was needed for other purposes, required the limiting of its availability.

Scarcity or shortages were rarely the reason for rationing during the war. Rationing was generally employed for two reasons: (1) to guarantee a fair distribution of resources and foodstuffs to all citizens; and (2) to give priority to military use for certain raw materials, given the present emergency.

At first, limiting the use of certain products was voluntary. For example, President Roosevelt launched "scrap drives" to scare up throwaway rubber-old garden hoses, tires, bathing caps, etc.--in light of the Japanese capture of the Dutch East Indies, a source of rubber for the United States. Collections were then redeemed at gas stations for a penny a pound. Patriotism and the desire to aid the war effort were enough in the early days of the war.

But as U.S. shipping, including oil tankers, became increasingly vulnerable to German U-boat attacks, gas became the first resource to be rationed. Starting in May 1942, in 17 eastern states, car owners were restricted to three gallons of gas a week. By the end of the year, gas rationing extended to the rest of the country, requiring drivers to paste ration stamps onto the windshields of their cars. Butter was another item rationed, as supplies were reserved for military breakfasts. Along with coffee, the sugar and milk that went with it were also limited. All together, about one-third of all food commonly consumed by civilians was rationed at one time or another during the war. The black market, an underground source of rationed goods at prices higher than the ceilings set by the Office of Price Administration, was a supply source for those Americans with the disposable incomes needed to pay the inflated prices.

Some items came off the rationing list early; coffee was released as early as July 1943, but sugar was rationed until June 1947.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to even think about such a shortage of coffee and sugar! I can do without a lot of things, but I do NOT want to have to go without my morning coffee!

You would think nationwide shortages of certain items would be reason enough for folks to stock up, but I guess some lessons have to be learned all over again before they sink in! That's really sad!

For the present, I have plenty of coffee and I'll be more than happy to share it with my friends. Grab a chair here in the kitchen and I'll get the cups!


Sixbears said...

War is hell.

None of the natural plant coffee substitutes in my area have any caffeine. What good is that?

Maybe that's why I order green coffee 30 -35 lbs at at time and roast my own. In a crisis, the last thing I want to do is suffer caffeine withdrawal.

This morning, I'm going with a Peruvian/Colombian blend.

Ben in Texas said...

Good Grief, They'd have to shoot me if they rationed my coffee!! My Doc may would wrire me a prescription for it cause she's the one that told me to drink it of my migraines.
I do remember a sugar shortage back in the 80's was it? Then I was closer to Mexico and went across and stocked up down there. Till they cut that out on the Mexican side

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Could not live without my coffee! I always have a good stock on hand.
Funny you should mention the ration books-I still have a few of mine left - wonder if they are worth anything?
It's warm out this morning - coffee on the patio? I'll bring the apple pie!

linda m said...

Can't live without my cup of coffee to start my "engine" every morning. Tea just isn't the same. I'll be over for a cup of coffee shortly (haha, I live in WI).

Rae said...

Those were scary times. I hope we don't have to relive them ever again, but if things stay on the same track as they are now, it is possible. Makes me wonder how some people will fare.

JoJo said...

I guess I should start buying more of it like I used to. But it has gotten so expensive. I don't buy Starbucks beans anymore because of the price. I would hate to think I would have to start drinking soda for the caffiene or suffer the bad headaches from withdrawal. Sugar never use and it last so long in my house is a wonder it doesn't get bugs. Can sugar get bugs? LOL

SHARON said...

Coffee is the only 'vice' I have left. But, I have cut back from 10-12 cups a day, back in the 80's to about 2 regular cups in the morning. Tea just doesn't cut it. Went off of Soda a couple of years ago. Have maybe a glass or two a month. America runs on coffee.

Bob from Athens said...

I guess I am one of the few that doesn't drink coffee, I tried several times. Only way for me to drink it was about half and half sugar and coffee. Your article mentioned recycling rubber hoses, good luck on even finding any of those today.

TROUBLEnTX said...

OMG,,never thot about sugar going out of date! hahahaha, Everything else seems to have, in my pantry. Only keep it for my cousin, and he wouldn't know the diff,,,,lololol.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

I like coffee when I'm hunting. Nothing warms you up like a good cup of hot coffee. Thanks for the story and have a great Tuesday.

Billy Bob said...

Ummmmm, coffee. Yeah boy howdy, got to have my coffee. But I drink more than most people do. Two cups won't even get both my eyes open. I can imagine what it would be like if it was rationed now days. My God, zombies.

Gorges Smythe said...

Im think I've got a few of the old ration stamps somewhere. My father-in-law used to fill his thermos before he came home from the factory where he worked so his wife could have some. She was pregnant with my wife at the time and craved it. My wife has always drank coffee as if it were water. I have to wonder if there's a connection.