What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?

Source: U.S. National Archives, Records of the Office of Government ReportsWhile making a cherry pie last night (more on that later), I listened to a great NPR podcast - How Uncle Sam Helps Define Define America's Diet. The podcast previews the "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?" exhibit that just opened at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and includes an interview with head curator, Alice Kamps.

The exhibit traces the influence that the government has over American's diets beginning with the Founding Fathers and their efforts to bring new foods to the United States and continuing through Michelle Obama's White House vegetable garden.

We have no plans to be in the D.C. area this summer, but if you do this would be interesting to check out. I spent some time at the National Archives doing research for my senior thesis and I was overwhelmed by the materials they have there - it is an impressive place.

In the meantime, you can preview the exhibit and check out some of the propaganda the government has used over the years to promote "healthy" eating on the exhibit's website. I love that the food group poster on the left adds that "In addition to the Basic 7... eat any other foods you want."  And vitamin donuts?  Mmm....

 The Doughnut Corporation sought endorsment from the Nutrition Division of the War Food Administration for its Vitamin Doughnuts campaign. Source: U.S. National Archives, Records of the Agricultural Marketing Service

In 1943 the War Food Administration, which produced this poster in 1944, took over—and dramatically expanded—the federal school lunch program. Source: U.S. National Archives, Records of the Office of Government Reports