War Food Administration - Fact Sheet on Onions, May 1944

War Food Administration - Fact Sheet on Onions, May 1944


- 2 -

Areas of Production: Spring crop onions are produced mostly in Texas and California - Texas being by far the most important producing area. The early spring crop is grown in the southern part of the State and the late spring crop in the northern part. Louisiana and Georgia also produce onions for commercial movement.

Varieties to be Stressed: During the latter part of May and early June the principal variety on the markets will be Yellow Bermuda, followed in importance by the Crystal What Wax and several other varieties. Onions of small sizes are classed commonly as "boilers."

Price Situation: The ceiling price on onions to May 15 was established at $2.65 per 50-pound sack, f.o.b shipping point, and from May 16 to June 15, at $2.55 per sack. These prices were maintained until the early part of May, when, owing to heavy shipments, the price at shipping points and also in the consuming markets began to decline. The price May 10 at Texas shipping points was $1.50 to $1.75 per 50-pound sack of Yellow Bermudas, and by May 16 had dropped to $1.10 to $1.25.


The chief virtue of onions is their flavor. The French begin meals with a group of appetizers which they call hors d'oeuvres, the Italians serve a course called antipasto to begin their meals. While in our own South for family-style service, chopped onion, sliced tomatoes, green peppers, and vinegar are served to eat with turnip greens, black eyed peas, string beans, and other hot, cooked vegetables. This custom is perhaps a "convenience" adaptation of the French and Italian custom of serving appetizers to begin a meal. Whatever the idea, the habit of serving onion to whet the appetite for less flavorful foods is nutritionally good.

All good cooks appreciate the value of onions in preparing tasty meals. For some dishes onions are needed only for flavor, for some dishes onions are the chief ingredient, and for other dishes onions are the whole show. Liver with onions is a favorite. Steak smothered with onions is another well-liked dish. Onions enhance the palatability of meat loaf, hash, poultry stuffing, hamburger dishes, and stews. What would Thanksgiving dinner be without onions creamed or in turkey stuffing? Onions help salads and sandwiches. In fact there's many a spot on the menu where "adding onions makes a good dish a better dish."


If the steak is a very lean porterhouse or sirloin, brown it on both sides in a little suet; then remove from the pan. Brown 1 to 1 ½ quarts of sliced onions in the same pan. Then put the steak back, cover with the onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put a lid on the pan, and cook slowly for about 15 minutes.

If the steak is from the round, rump, or chuck, pound flour into it first, cut it into serving pieces, brown it in fat, add water to cover, and cook slowly


State Archives of Florida: Series 419, Box 20, Folder 6


This memorandum was distributed by the War Food Administration, a wartime agency of the United States government tasked with conserving the nation's food supply during the war emergency. Its purpose was to increase consumer demand for onions nationwide at the precise moment these crops were coming into the market so they could be consumed without waste. Such precise item-by-item food marketing was a common practice for the War Food Administration during World War II. The memorandum discusses strategies for encouraging more people to use more onions in their meal planning, and it includes several recipes using onions, including smothered steak with onions, scalloped liver and potatoes, stuffed onions, French fried onions, scalloped onions and peanuts, and cabbage and onion salad.