Wine and Wartime Foods: Meat Loaf

wartime propaganda about food waste

“Yes, wine does things for plain war foods,” a 1944 advertisement for the American Wine Advisory Board claims. “Don’t give up your friends!,” it continues, “Keep on having them over to your house. Remember–it’s good company, not party food, that makes a dinner!” But still the Wine Advisory Boards recommends one add a splash of wine to bland, wartime fare to enliven the party: “If you’ll make your meat loaf with a little red table wine, you’ll find it becomes banquet fare. It’s that way with other wartime dishes, too. With a touch of wine in the cooking, you can glorify the flavor of the plainest food.”

Below is a wartime recipe from the Wine Advisory Board for meat loaf. Use an inexpensive wine, and serve the finished dish with mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

Fancy Wartime Meat Loaf

To prepare it, you combine 3/4 lb. ground beef, lamb or veal with 3/4 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup Burgundy or Claret wine. Add 3 tbsps. chopped onion, 1 1/2 tsps. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning, 1 beaten egg, and 2 tbsps. butter or bacon drippings. Pack into greased small loaf pan, and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) 1 hour or until done. Serves 4 or 5.


Baumgarthuber, Christine. Fermented Foods: The History and Science of a Microbiological Wonder. Reaktion Books, 2021.

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