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TESTs OF ACCEPTABILITY OF EMERGENCY RATIONS NATALIE F. TOFFE Technical Assistant, Committee on Food Habits The treatment of food habits as but part of the total cultural complex has had further concrete application in some of the preparations now being made for feeding liberated countries. Str~ce its inception, the Committee on Food Habits has been compiling material on the crucial points of the food habits of some nationalities. It was felt that while certain foods there not essential for the maintenance of life, they had definite morale value and made the acceptance of strange foods less traumatic. As the factor of familiarity is important in cushioning the impact of new foods, familiar seasonings and traditional methods of cooking go far to absorb such shock. A new food can be cooked in an old way and thus adopted with a minimum of friction. Ad- justments in color and texture which may be made in manufacture or prepara- tion go far in increasing acceptance. A new aspect has been added by setting up tests of various concentrated foods which may be used in feeding liberated countries. Tests have been completed with two nationality groups Greek and Norwegian- and the reactions and suggestions carefully noted and organized for the use of relief agencies. For these tests, again the advice and aid of a trained person of suitable nationality background was invoked. Preliminary background material on the total picture was secured prior to the actual tests. Such factors as traditional diet, distinctions in food made by age, sex, and social condition, cooking and storage equipment and tech- niques, meal patterns, types of fuel available and used, resources for mass or individual feeding threw light on the problems which might arise. In planning for emergency feeding, consideration of supply and nutrition determines the original plan.* Then acceptability tests make possible ~ ~ minor alterations such as changes in color or texture and ~) the preparation of instructions in the foreign languages which will permit the standard ration to be adjusted to the traditional food habits of that area. * See minutes of the Liaison Session of the Committee on Food Habits on "Feeding Liberated Countries and Nutrition Education," January 23, ~943. lo4
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