Hunger and famine are big risks during war. Which food was responsible for saving the most civilians from famine during WWII?

I would expect this wonder food to be cheap, healthy yet abundant to be useful during war.

Cheap because civilians were poor. Healthy because health facilities will be inferior compared to peacetime. Abundant because there were so many people to feed.

What was this wonder food, if it existed in history? Not easy to find food that fit the criteria.

The answer should mention the country as different countries may have different preferences of food.

  • potatoes? fish was not rationed in Britain during the ww2 (though supplies dropped to 30%) – pugsville Dec 11 '16 at 10:53
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    Which country - it would have differed – user151019 Dec 11 '16 at 11:48
  • @Mark, any country will do as long as the country is mentioned in the answer. – curious Dec 11 '16 at 11:50
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    How do you define a "popular food staple"? A popular food in wartime France would be different than in England or Poland. During war, people learn how to forage for food stuffs very quickly in the country, forests beaches and so on. "Survival gardens" (hidden) would also be grown where possible. – Ken Graham Dec 11 '16 at 13:00
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    This question makes no sense. Staple food varies by country. It was certainly bread in Soviet Union, and rice in China. I vote to close. – Alex Dec 11 '16 at 16:07

Don't forget rationing. Prices under wartime conditions were artificial. Also the answer varied from country to country.

  • People were encouraged to grow their own food.
  • Germany looted the occupied countries to keep the German civilians calm. The Nazi leadership remebered the Turnip Winter which had contributed to the German defeat in WWI.

For the UK, bread and potatoes were never rationed. Meat, cheese, eggs, sugar, and most fats were rationed. People grew more food - almost all gardens were turned over to vegetable production - and ate somewhat less. The types of food people ate changed significantly: dishes would be based on vegetables, with small quantities of meat and fat for flavouring. Many people made stock from bones, jam from garden fruit and so on. The rationed diet was adequate and healthy, but dull unless you put in effort to make it interesting.

The Wikipedia article has substantially more detail.

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