Friday, March 27, 2015

no more meatless days!

August 14, 1947 was a busy day on the global history front. British rule in India ended, as the subcontinent anxiously prepared to split into the new nations of India and Pakistan. In Germany, 22 former attendants at the Buchenwald concentration camp were sentenced to hang ("22 NAZIS TO DIE FOR ATROCITIES" screamed the Star's main headline). In Tel Aviv, violence between Arabs and Jews escalated, leading to fears, according to the Globe and Mail, of "the worst racial conflict in the Holy Land since 1939."

At home, Torontonians endured a week-long heat wave which was blamed for causing two deaths that day: a 60-year-old man who suffered heat prostration and was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Mike's Hospital, and another man who died at his home on Lauder Avenue. Temperatures hovered between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit around the province, and were accompanied by high humidity. The heat caused factories to close early. In Ottawa, government offices closed at noon. Low water pressure affected cities like Hamilton, Kitchener, and Peterborough. Dairy farmers near St. Thomas feared that dry pastures was responsible a 15 percent drop in milk production.

Amidst the gloom and doom, the front page of that afternoon's Telegram offered a ray of hope...to non-vegetarians, at least.



The next morning's Globe and Mail contained further details. While Canada had fallen behind on its commitments to supply Great Britain with millions of pounds of meat, the federal government felt the situation had improved enough that it was wise to let the Canadian public go hog wild again. It also appears the restrictions were primarily on red meat; eggs, fish, and poultry appear to have been exempt, disappointing those with cravings for thick steaks. 

Anyone who expected immediate gratification was disappointed.
There will be little meat served in restaurants today because most eating places prepare their menus ahead of time, Norman Kirby, a director of the Canadian Restaurant association said last night. He said that the serving of meat courses will become general next Tuesday [August 19, 1947].
Consumption of fowl is expected to take a drop of 10 to 15 percent, now that restaurants are out of the meatless category. According to several restaurant owners, the public has become accustomed to eating chicken and other fowl, and the drop in consumption may not be higher than 10 per cent.
I wonder if diners who grew used to eating chicken during the war may have helped play a role in the success of a Toronto restaurant which launched in the early 1950s--Swiss Chalet. 

With such a great headline like "NO MORE MEATLESS DAYS," you'd expect the lone front page picture on the Telegram to show a snappily-dressed diner tearing into a massive steak, a look of ecstasy covering their face.

Nope. 

OK, perhaps pictures of Ontario residents wilting in the heat? 

Nope, that was the next day's Globe and Mail.  

Pictures of Muhammed Ali Jinnah and Jawaharal Nehru to mark the birth of two new nations?

Nope, that was the next day's Star.

The Telegram, August 14, 1947
It's a "dog saves drowning man" story. Human interest triumphs! Perhaps Gale celebrated his survival with a nice, juicy, ration-free steak dinner. 

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