Meat & Romance on the Home Front

One afternoon I was cleaning out a closet and found an old box that my mother left at our house when she moved out of her apartment a few years ago. It’s turned out to be a time capsule of what she was up to during WWII.  (The only souvenir my father brought back from his time in Guadalcanal was a raging case of Malaria).

Cover of “What to Do in an Air Raid” pamphlet, 1942

“What to do in an Air Raid” pamphlet pages 4 & 5

Mom in Sherwin Williams “World” magazine

Members of Mobile Blood Bank #1. Photo taken at Corn Products International. Mom is in the center, bottom row.

Brochure. Title says it all! In addition to the Red Cross reference material, there were dozens of corporate sponsored pamphlets and brochures similar to this devoted to meal planning and frugality.

Red Cross “Canteen Girls” marching in Flag Day parade, Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, 1942.

Mom offering coffee from the Red Cross Mobile Canteen, Chicago, IL Sept 1943.  Parking lot of Soldiers Field facing west.

Mom is third from the left.

Mom (far left) was a member of the Red Cross Speaker’s Bureau

Although she was trained to cook during a disaster, mom’s cooking proved to BE a disaster during my childhood. 🙂

5 Responses to Meat & Romance on the Home Front

  1. Steve Katz says:

    I hope this email reaches you.

    I am looking at the following link in the National Provisioner dated 1916 that reflects two ads one for S. Oppenheimer and the other for Oppenheimer Casing Co.


    What is the difference between these two companies?

    Thank you.

    Steve Katz

    p.s. My grandfather Meyer Katz was President of Rival Packing Company, best known for its product Rival Dog Food. The company was sold in 1956 to Associated Brands, whose founder Nathan Cummings became best known for the subsequent reorganization of his grocery brands company into Consolidated Foods, now Sara Lee. Rival was sold in the mid 1970s in 1974 to Nabisco which closed its pet food division and the brand in 1978.

    Harry D. Oppenheimer was a founding principal of Rival Packing Company, and remained an officer and Director with Harry I. Hoffman (of J.S. Hoffman Company in the cheese and meat — including canned meat — business in Chicago and New York) and Meyer Katz until Harry D. Oppenheimer’s death in 1953. Seymour Oppenheimer (son of Harry D. Oppenheimer) also became a director of Rival Packing Company in 1936-1954. In 1955, Edward H. Oppenheimer ( Harry D. Oppenheimer’s older son) assumed director role that Seymour had occupied and and represented the Oppenheimer family interest until Rival was sold in mid-1956 prior to the death of Meyer Katz in August 1956.

    Harry Hoffman of Chicago-based J.S. Hoffman, and Meyer Katz earlier of Chicago-based Acme Packing Company (1915-1921) and also of J.S. Hoffman Company (1921-1933) became partners in Rival Packing beginning in 1931 and 1933.

    The synergies between Rival Packing Company and J.S. Hoffman are reflected in people and places and focus, particularly involving those with national brand experience in the canned meat packing business.

    In 1931, the Rival Packing Company business address moved from its registered 1020 West 36th Street Chicago, Illinois address (the address of Harry D. Oppenheimer’s casing company) to the 322 West Illinois Street, Chicago building that was the J.S. Hoffman headquarters.

    Focus on dog and later cat food began as early as 1931-1932. Manufacturing and canning took place in leased facilities in Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District from 1935-1940, when the Rival Packing Co business and manufacturing plant was built and established at 4500 S. Tripp Avenue also in the same Central Manufacturing District. A new Rival Packing Company plant built in 1971 in a Western Chicago area known as Bridgeview, Illinois.

    The earlier history, and Harry O. Oppenheimer’s business history is of particular interest if you know it.

    Thank you.

    Steve Katz

    • jacullman says:

      Hi Steve, sorry for the long delay in responding. Jim Oppenheimer just emailed me. He’d like to get in touch with you about your questions and the history of the casing biz.

      The message field on my blog didn’t capture your email address. You can reach Jim at: or if you prefer to send me your email, I can forward it to him.



  2. victualling says:

    Quite a treasure trove. I’m marveling over Meat & Romance.

    • jacullman says:

      Hi Jan, Thanks! There is so much more. Just haven’t had time to do much with it. Most of the recipes are pretty awful by today’s standards. Of course they had to make do with whatever was available because of rationing. Obviously folks stateside were light years better off than family friends in England. How in the world did restaurants stay in business in those days? It must have been a challenge.

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