During the fall of 1946, the American Women's Voluntary Services produced a program for WNYC titled “How Does Your Kitchen Fare,” aimed at helping housewives to make nourishing and economical meals, despite post-war food shortages. The AWVS, founded by Alice Throckmorton McLean, was modeled after the British Women's Voluntary Services. During the war years the organization aided the war effort by sewing garments for servicemen, the members were also trained in "first aid, air raid and war gas work, home nursing and evacuation procedures." (The New York Times, Oct 20, 1940)
In the years following the second World War, food shortages were faced worldwide. Though food scarcity was far more severe in Europe and Asia, Americans were also affected. In a letter to President Harry Truman printed in The New York Times and signed by "scores of women," the author wrote: "As mothers we protest the conditions now prevailing in the food markets. It is not fair to the growing generation to deprive them of the necessary food for their well-being." (October 11, 1946)
The series How Does Your Kitchen Fare tackled different aspects of "menu planning to help the homemaker solve her food problems." In this episode, originally broadcast on November 15, 1946, host Ann C. Cunningham welcomes Margaret Follin Eicks, Woman's Editor of the New York World Telegram, who speaks knowledgably about the "fuller-bodied soups," which can fulfill the role of main course, rather than just appetizer.
Mrs. Eicks provides several excellent recipes, including both New England and Manhattan clam chowder, beef stock, split pea soup, and even lentil soup with frankfurters and horseradish whipped cream! She also makes suggestions for adding personal touches to canned soups, though advises listeners to never serve canned soup to guests without first sampling it.
And check out this "titillating" recipe from Mrs. Samuel Zemurray of New Orleans:
Juice of 8 grapefruits
4 peeled grated raw beets
Cook together for ten minutes.
One pint of white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer ten more minutes and serve hot.
Be sure and let us know the results if you decide to take Mrs. Eicks' advice and try this recipe out!
Audio courtesy NYC Municipal Archives collection.