Cold War Nuclear Fallout Shelters’ Food For Survival Will Blow Your Mind
backyards. Community shelters were being constructed under municipal buildings to shelter those who didn’t have basements or backyards, or those who couldn’t afford to build one for themselves.ith the current COVID19 pandemic we face today, we know what it’s like to stock up in case of a complete lockdown. Although we’re fighting an invisible enemy, we should be thankful that bombs and nuclear attacks aren’t in the picture. Can you even begin to imagine what life was like for people who were in the middle of the Cold War in the 1950s? With tensions from the war escalating rapidly, children in schools were taught how to duck and cover in case of an atomic strike. To protect themselves and their families, people built fallout shelters in the basements and
It’s natural to think then that in order to survive a catastrophic nuclear attack in underground shelters, people had to stock up on food supplies to avoid starving. It was in 1955, during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration that the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) introduced an initiative called “Grandma’s Pantry”. Every family was advised to store a week’s supply of food and water, in case of a nuclear emergency. Approximately 1,000 Grandma’s Pantry exhibits were installed in stores by the government to encourage people to stock up on Hawaiian Punch, Campbell’s soup, Tang, Kellogg’s cornflakes, and candy bars. Fast-forward to mid-1961, during the Berlin crisis, President John F. Kennedy allotted over $200 million to construct public fallout shelters and even encouraged families to build private shelters.
By that time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had already developed an ideal “Doomsday food” which was nutritious and easy to prepare with long shelf life. Meet the bulgur wheat biscuit which was termed as the “All-Purpose Survival Cracker.” According to the then U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for civil defense, Paul Visher, bulgur biscuit’s shelf life was determined to be the longest as they were edible 3,000 years after being exhumed from an Egyptian pyramid. Bulgur soon became a staple ingredient in many kinds of cereal and biscuits and by the end of 1964, the nation’s biggest cereal and biscuit companies had manufactured over 20 billion survival crackers to prepare for the Cold War.
General Mills also introduced a granulated synthetic protein, that was packed in large white cans, and termed it as “Multi-Purpose Food.” While the government had introduced foods they considered ideal for fallout shelters, common people stocked up on canned vegetables, beans, preserved meats, canned fish, soup packets, peanut butter, cereals, canned juices, drink mixes, crackers and cookies. Apart from stocking up on conventional food items, author Barbara Curtis’s mom also managed to bake and store massive amounts of oatmeal, walnut and chocolate chip cookies to survive the impending catastrophe. Although the fears of the nuclear attack had reduced by the 1970s’, in 2006 workers who were conducting a routine inspection of the Brooklyn Bridge came across a stockpile of supplies from the Cold War.
Apart from medical supplies and water drums, workers stumbled upon 140 boxes containing over 350,000 survival crackers. Remember the bulgur crackers we were talking about earlier? Yeah, those. The then city’s transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, stated that the crackers tasted like cardboard with a nasty aftertaste that lingered in the mouth for hours!
During an emergency, what would you stock up your pantry with? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends!