Yesterday I introduced the weird, wild, wonderful world of Foods 1946
, but to really understand where 1946 was going, it's important to take a quick look at 1945.
Our friends at Wikipedia tell us that 1945
"was a common year starting on Monday. It is most widely known for being the end of World War II. It is also known as the beginning of the Information Age."
But just scan down a very brief list of events that 1945 contained...
America's President up and dies
Hitler and Goebbels kill themselves
The UN is founded
We see the first atomic bomb testing (quickly followed by the first horrible, horrible atomic bomb usage)
The second World War ends
The first ballpoint pen is sold (for $12.50... ouch!)
Ghandi shouts down the British Empire
We see the dawn of the cold war
The Nuremberg Trials begin
The Cubs are actually in the World Series
... 1945 was HUGE, people.Hot dog! Frozen meals are promised soon!
With all that in mind, the crazy investment optimism put forth in Foods 1946
seems well-founded. America had survived so much
by the time 1946 rolled around. 1945 was dramatic and terrifying. Who wouldn't be tempted to dip into some good, reliable, long-storage processed American food to welcome better days in 1946?
That's why Foods 1946
is actually a love letter to a young, optimistic processed foods industry. The good people of 1946 were looking to America's food industry to offer good, cheap, easy canned, frozen and otherwise manipulated foods to attack the very real monster gnawing at the periphery: famine.
Have a look at the following chart from Foods 1946
of average global caloric consumption as measured in the summer of 1945. (Click into the image for a closer view.)
You'll notice two things:
1. Half the listed world is starving (creating a handy market for American foods)
2. Americans are averaging
waaay more calories than they need*
Is it any wonder that most of the processed food companies featured in Foods 1946
are now international food processing behemoths?
And it any surprise that we're currently dealing with a national obesity crisis
? America started gaining weight in 1945 and hasn't stopped in over 60 years.
Tomorrow we'll explore yet more interesting discoveries contained in Foods 1946
(*Nutritionists generally recommend about 1500-2500 calories per person day, depending on the subject's weight and activity.)
Labels: 1946, agriculture, books, history, obesity