The appeal for conservation of wheat in America during World War I turned out to provide a propaganda opportunity not to be missed for the temperance movement. Recipes for dishes featuring wheat substitutes appeared in great numbers in newspapers and government publications, and one of the popular and easily available alternatives suggested was barley. Of course, we all know what else is made from barley, don’t we?
In the regular W.C.T.U (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) column of the Iola Register (Iola, Kansas) of July 15, 1918 the additional economic argument for prohibition as contributory to the war effort was given under the header Effect of the Liquor Trade on Cost of Household Necessities. It read, in part:
…. On down through the year, our so called free people have been tyrannized over by a monster of selfishness and greed, the liquor traffic, a master which needed not the destruction of mind, body and soul in its made desire to gain power and accumulate wealth … But how, you may say, does the liquor traffic affect the high cost of household necessities, and I answer, the money that goes to buy liquor should be used in the purchase of food and fuel, and the material that is used to produce whiskey and beer should be used for food and fuel. … As a business measure, prohibition has been a creator and saving agency of the money of Virginia. … We will concede that bread is the “staff of life” and if the three billion pounds of food stuff used in making beer or other malt liquors in the United States during the year ending June 1917, don’t you think the price of flour would have been considerably less?
The author (F.W.) went on to quote many facts and figures on the usage of sugar and other goods now needing to be conserved, and the huge amounts of coal required by the brewing industry. She concluded with:
… and may we in the words of one of our W.C.T.U slogans “Bake the Barley into Bread and Bar it from the Bar.”
The Fitchburg Daily Sentinel (Fitchburg, MA) of July 27, 1918 included several recipes which, to judge by the header, were undoubtedly provided by the W.C.T.U.
Bake the Barley into Bread and Bar it from the Bar.
(Sent by Mrs. E. D. Boyle, wife of Governor Boyle of Nevada to The Union Signal.)
¾ cup shortening
½ cup strained honey
½ cup corn syrup
½ teaspoon of soda in ¼ cup of hot water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups barley flour sifted before measuring. To the sifted flour add a pinch of baking powder.
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts or dry rolled oats.
[Detailed method instructions were not included – it was assumed that housewives would make the cookies according to the usual method.}
Barley as a Breakfast Dish.
Wash well one cup of pearl barley and put it in four cups of cold, salted water and boil slowly until cooked, then turn into a dish. For breakfast take as much of the barely as required and heat in boiling milk. This makes an excellent substitute for mush. The barley will keep for several days before the milk is added and is good for thickening soup, or, with milk and egg added, fine barley fritters may be made.
Barley Spoon Bread.
One-fourth cup salt pork cut in ¼ inch cubes, 4 cups boiling water, 1 cup barley meal, 2 or 3 eggs. Cook salt pork in saucepan until slightly brown, add water, and when boiling, sprinkle in barley meal, stirring constantly. Cook in a double boiled one hour. Cool, and add well-beaten eggs. Turn into a greased dish and bake in a moderate oven 45 minutes. Makes two loaves.