When people think of the home front during a world war, the rationing of food and gasoline immediately come to mind. But rationing was a feature of World War II, not World War I. Herbert Hoover as head of the United States Food Administration was able to get Americans to voluntarily reduce their consumption by 15% of certain food stuffs deemed vital to the success of the war effort. He issued a reminder card indicating the suggested meal planner for each day: “Sunday—One meal Wheatless; one meal Meatless; Monday—All meals Wheatless, one meal Meatless; Tuesday—All meals Meatless; one meal Wheatless; Wednesday—All meals Wheatless; one meal Meatless; Thursday—One meal Wheatless; one meal Meatless; Friday—One meal Wheatless; one meal Meatless; Saturday—All meals Porkless; one meal Wheatless; one meal Meatless.” The main focus of the U.S. Food Administration was to encourage reduced consumption of essential grains, fats, and protein at home so that they could be used abroad in the war effort. Of lesser significance was encouraging individuals to assist farmers in production with the creation of home garden plots for growing vegetables and the raising of chickens and hogs in areas that could allow it without violating existing health and sanitary ordinances.
The U.S. Food Administration issued several informational bulletins instructing interested individuals and communities on how to raise pigs “without offense to their neighbors and without violating existing sanitary ordinances.” The “Practical War-Pig Plan” was based upon a successful model created in Ohio. The bulletin urged the created of a pig club of interested persons “then secure a suitable piece of property near the city and stock it with feeder pigs.” The pigs would be fed garbage collected from the members or supplied by the town or city. Once the pigs reached market size, the hogs would be slaughtered and the owners would either keep the meat from their hog or give/sell it to someone else. In this way, an additional supply of pork was created and much of the local garbage was fed to the hogs. At one point, 225 cities across the country were participating. A whole generation of children grew up accustomed to hogs as family members or neighbors long before Arnold Ziffel entered the American mainstream.