I just noticed this on the Reddit boards and thought I would share. The ban on sliced bread shows just how much of a dictatorship the American public was living under during FDR’s reign of terror.
During 1943, U.S. officials imposed a short-lived ban on sliced bread as a wartime conservation measure. The ban was ordered by Claude R. Wickard who held the position of Food Administrator, and took effect on January 18, 1943. According to the New York Times, officials explained that “the ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping than an unsliced one if it is not to dry out.” It was also intended to counteract a rise in the price of bread, caused by the Office of Price Administration‘s authorization of a ten percent increase in flour prices.
In a Sunday radio address on January 24, Mayor LaGuardia suggested that bakeries that had their own bread-slicing machines should be allowed to continue to use them, and on January 26, 1943, a letter appeared in theNew York Times from a distraught housewife:
- I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that’s ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!
On January 26, however, John F. Conaboy, the New York Area Supervisor of the Food Distribution Administration, warned bakeries, delicatessens, and other stores that were continuing to slice bread to stop, saying that “to protect the cooperating bakeries against the unfair competition of those who continue to slice their own bread… we are prepared to take stern measures if necessary.”
On March 8, 1943, the ban was rescinded. Wickard stated that “Our experience with the order, however, leads us to believe that the savings are not as much as we expected, and the War Production Board tells us that sufficientwax paper to wrap sliced bread for four months is in the hands of paper processor and the baking industry.