Canada’s National Film Board presents “When Do We Eat,” part of the “Knife and Fork Series” created during World War II. This black-and-white film, made circa 1943, addresses the importance nutrition and its role toward a protective work day. “Old men, back to work after years of Depression,” it is said at mark 02:10. “Women quickly adjusting themselves to factory noise and heat. Boys, just out of school, taking on overnight the long hours of overnight. But the strain has been taking its toll of the nation’s health.” From a montage of factory scenes, the film takes the viewer to soldiers in the field at mark 02:47, and the realization that if soldiers need a balanced diet to remain productive, so too do the workers. “With new food limitations arising out of the war, the question of proper feeding demanded serious attention.”
At mark 03:30, the narrator explains that employers were being asked to review eating areas for employees, and asking the employees themselves to take note of what they are eating. “To throw over some of their old eating habits and see new value in wholesome food,” the audience is told, as the camera pans to a chart identifying such healthy foods as milk, meat, fruit, and vegetables. Specific dietary recommendations are provided starting at mark 04:00, as the film shows men and women enjoying such nutritious servings. The audience is also reminded of the importance of breakfast, with the viewer encouraged to consume one-third of their daily dietary intake every morning.
“Each day of long hours and strain is taking its toll of your health. Meanwhile, I wager the man at the local cafe would make something better than a snack for you, if you’d ask him, and if you got up 10 minutes early and had time to eat it,” the viewer is encouraged at mark 06:44. Workers are also encouraged to make breakfast the night before and then heat it up in the morning, or asking their wife to give them “a whipped up egg and milk, or some thin gruel. Something that would be kind to your stomach and protect you against the strain of working without food.”
“Going out, fortified with a good breakfast, is the first step in keeping with the health rules of the day…,” says the narrator near mark 08:00. “Food to start the day right and maintain skill and efficiency.”
Although some places of employment offer a cafeteria for lunch, the viewer is told, the majority of workers rely on a lunchbox and a meal prepared at home. “The lunchbox should contain one-third of the day’s food. A poor lunchbox will have mainly starch food. A good one will have something from three different food groups,” the viewer is told at mark 10:04, and include items such as meat, fish, cheese, eggs, milk, soup, pudding, fruits, and vegetables.
“Workers who take steps to guard their health by wise choice of food will be repaid in health, happiness, and increased earnings,” the narrator says at mark 11:13, as scenes of happy, healthy employees enjoying meals together fill the screen.
“Choosing good food when it is there before him. By so doing, the worker assumes his part of the responsibility. So he’s a good steady fellow. Still got money is pocket for a good time on Friday. Good husband material, eh girls?” the narrator asks as the film nears its end.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com