Second World War: Margarine Mistrust and Fun Facts

Nebraskan shares interesting tidbits about margarine and other facets of life during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

Several years ago, following the death of my parents, I was going through their possessions and found a number of various kinds of ration books from the Second World War. That brought back memories of what things were like in those days. I was a high school student then. Gas was one of the things that was rationed, and a family was happy to get three gallons a week with an "A" stamp to get around town. No long family trips.

My parents were farmers, so we were allowed more gas than city or town people. Another item that was in short supply was tires, but farmers were encouraged to raise all the crops they could, so it was easier for them to get tires, too.

For people in town, a substitute for butter called margarine was available. At that time it wasn't very desirable, as it was white in color and resembled lard. A couple of brands came with a little packet of yellow coloring enclosed, which you had to mix into the margarine yourself. At least by doing that it looked as if it would taste better.

Another thing that was almost impossible to buy was nylon hosiery. One manufacturer even came out with a thick tan liquid with an applicator - you could paint your legs to look as if you had nylons on. They even included a pen so you could draw on a seam down the back of your leg. When the War ended and nylon wasn't needed so much for parachutes, I was working in a department store. I can remember the long lines of women waiting to buy nylons when they became available again.

I can't recall anyone complaining. In those days everyone was very patriotic and willing to do without if it was necessary to win the War. I wonder if that would be the same today?

Elinor Jensen

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