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100 years ago today in Spokane: Bankers’ banquet draws wartime critique

From The Spokesman-Review archives, Sept. 20, 1917. (SR achives)
From The Spokesman-Review archives, Sept. 20, 1917. (SR achives)

Spokane was not sufficiently Hooverized, in the opinion of a guest of honor at a banquet of Spokane bankers.

In other words, Spokane still liked its steak and its white bread.

Dr. A.C. Miller, a member of the Federal Reserve board of Washington D.C., pointedly noted that the banquet did not exactly follow the Herbert Hoover rules for wartime food conservation. The rules called for eating less meat and less bread and wheat products.

The banquet in the Davenport Hotel’s Elizabethan Room featured juicy steaks and white bread.

“I have been Hooverizing for three months in Washington,” said the guest of honor. “And yet tonight, I have seen every pledge I have made to Mr. Hoover violated.”

Dr. Miller, it turned out, was a personal friend of Herbert Hoover. He took Hoover’s food recommendations seriously.

It did not, however, prevent Dr. Miller from actually eating the steak and the bread.

“I admit I fell tonight,” he said. “But it is apparent that the appeal of hungry Europe is not as poignantly felt in the Northwest as it is in the East, 3,000 miles closer to that continent. This has been forcibly called to my mind tonight. I do not desire to appear critical, discourteous or unappreciative, but feel guilty when I saw those thick, juicy steaks and the piles of butter and white bread. We are bringing ourselves to do without these things in the East, but not because we can’t afford them. We forego the things that we like when we go to our breakfast table in the morning because we feel a moral obligation to do without things which are so vital to the welfare of our allies and our own armies in the field.”

The toastmaster of the event took it in good humor. He said the Spokane bankers believed that Dr. Miller had been so thoroughly Hooverized in the East that he needed steaks to “fortify” him before returning home.

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