NOVEMBER 6, 1942
LONDON—I didn't have space to tell you an amusing coincidence which occurred at a railroad station the other afternoon. Three American soldiers were standing near our compartment door. I asked them where they came from and the first one answered: "Pine Plains, Dutchess County, New York, right near your home." The second one said, "I'm from New York City. You know my mother—she's Mrs. Slevin, president of one of the New York City women's democratic clubs," and the third one said: "Where's Tommy Qualters now? He and I worked together and we often did guard duty at Nahant near your son's home." All three boys looked cheerful and well. I used to notice in the old days whenever I travelled abroad that meeting a friend from home was cause for rejoicing, but now every American soldier I see is a friend from home and I want to stop and talk with him, whether I know him or not! When I find we really have some point of contact it gives me a warm feeling around my heart for the rest of the day.
Another thing I left out was my visit on Tuesday morning to the Ministry of Food. It was one of the most interesting things I have done since I have been in London. Lord Woolton had arranged an exhibition of the development of their work which was intensely interesting and I hope to bring back with me some of the posters and pamphlets, for I am sure many people will be interested in them.
Every morning at eight-thirty they give a radio talk for the housewives of Great Britain, giving the facts about food. They run kitchens in the building where dietitians work out the best possible way of using the foods which are available, and every week they bring a housewife from some part of Great Britain and she cooks in their kitchen and carries back to her community the knowledge she acquired. The housewife present came from Glasgow and was making delicious oatmeal cakes. One of their cooks showed me how she prepared an entire meal in an hour in one big boiler, which is a saving of fuel. The Ministry of Food sees to it that hot school lunches are served for every child; that factory canteens are established in which every worker gets a hot meal in the middle of the day, and there are British restaurants all over England where for a reasonable sum any citizen can get a really good meal. They showed me also the organization which is called "The Queen's Messengers." British War Relief in America has furnished many of their canteens which go out to the blitzed areas immediately after there is news of any disaster. They also have emergency shops to set up in the communities where all the existing shops are bombed out; water wagons, and all the other necessary things which make it possible to look after the people of a town until some semblance of order can be restored. The work of the Ministry of Food is two-fold—furnishing immediate care in an emergency, and the long-term feeding of the people of Britain.