Food

The eating facilities in the camps were large mess halls with long lines and crowded tables. Group living tended to erode family solidarity, as teenagers escaped parental authority by eating with friends rather than family. The quality of the food was poor and milk and fresh meat were constantly in short supply. Inexpensive foods such as wieners, dried fish, pancakes, macaroni and pickled vegetables were served often. The diets of the camp inmates improved only after they began growing some of their own food.

Food (136)

136 items
Japanese American cooking (ddr-densho-37-593)
img Japanese American cooking (ddr-densho-37-593)
Original WRA caption: Gila River Relocation Center, Rivers, Arizona. Student Mary Sakai, former resident of Stockton, California, is shown putting sliced carrots in a double boiler in preparation for the drying process.
Japanese Americans making tofu (ddr-densho-37-153)
img Japanese Americans making tofu (ddr-densho-37-153)
Original WRA caption: Note: The markings on the blackboard, upper right, show the Japanese way of counting in fives to show number of buckets of beans processed. The bucket on the lower right contains soy beans which are soaked over night and then poured into this centrifugal "masher" which revolves at comparatively high speed. The white ...
Japanese Americans making tofu (ddr-densho-37-155)
img Japanese Americans making tofu (ddr-densho-37-155)
Original WRA caption: The precipitate is put into forms and pressed. Later it is cut into smaller cakes and kept in water as shown. Tofu is a kind of "bean curd" considered essential to the Japanese diet. Other pictures in this group show the various processes in the manufacture of this product. To preserve it is ...
Child eating in mess hall (ddr-densho-39-18)
img Child eating in mess hall (ddr-densho-39-18)
Original museum description: Photograph, black and white glossy of a little boy (girl?) ready to bite into a morsel of food at the Minidoka internment camp. There is a plate with two huge sausages and a roll. A coffee cup full of coffee and other plates and another coffee cup are in view. Windows have curtains ...
Farewell Dinner (ddr-hmwf-1-554)
img Farewell Dinner (ddr-hmwf-1-554)
"29-6-F, Jan 12 1945" as described on back, Farewell Dinner Shrimp Tempura-Abalone, Jim Yonemura, Masao Terakami, Okumoto, Ito, Harold Matsumoto, Tom Noritake, Mrs. Yoshiko Terakami
Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-139)
img Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-139)
"Mess 29-27, drying crew, heart mt, wyo, april 24 1943" as described on back, 1 sec f9
Postcard to Molly Wilson from Sandie Saito (September 28, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-11)
doc Postcard to Molly Wilson from Sandie Saito (September 28, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-11)
Postcard to Molly Wilson from Sandie Saito (September 28, 1942). It is postmarked October 1, 1942 from the Granada (Amache) Incarceration Camp in Amache, Colorado.
Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Miyeko Imamura (August 30, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-63)
doc Letter (with envelope) to Molly Wilson from Miyeko Imamura (August 30, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-63)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Miyeko Imamura (August 30, 1942). Envelope is postmarked August 31, 1942 from the Heart Mountain Incarceration Camp in Cody, Wyoming.
Japanese Americans eating in mess hall (ddr-densho-151-66)
img Japanese Americans eating in mess hall (ddr-densho-151-66)
Original WRA caption: Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Mealtime in one of the messhalls at this War Relocation Authority center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry.
Frank Isamu Kikuchi Interview Segment 10 (ddr-manz-1-5-10)
vh Frank Isamu Kikuchi Interview Segment 10 (ddr-manz-1-5-10)
Description of food in camp: "wholesome and adequate," but "awfully boring"
Messhalls in Tule Lake (ddr-csujad-26-23)
doc Messhalls in Tule Lake (ddr-csujad-26-23)
Report describing the mess halls of Tule Lake including: administrative organization, operations, personnel, duties, conflicts, wages, food procurement and distribution, food preparation, schedules, sample menus, dietary accommodations, food rationing and shortages, seating capacity, seating arrangements and systems, utensils, and incarceree attendance. The report analyzes workers and incarceree behaviors, status, mental faculties, disposition, religion, age, and gender ...
Cooperatively owned canteen (ddr-csujad-26-130)
img Cooperatively owned canteen (ddr-csujad-26-130)
Photo of people working and shopping inside a canteen. Goods are seen divided by type. Verso reads "cooperatively owned canteen." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_100
Memo from WRA Administrative Division re: war ration books, May 18, 1943 (ddr-csujad-26-40)
doc Memo from WRA Administrative Division re: war ration books, May 18, 1943 (ddr-csujad-26-40)
Memo advising recipient to relinquish war ration books due to living in a "group institutional user establishment." See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_03_08_003
Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 57 (ddr-densho-1000-118-57)
vh Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 57 (ddr-densho-1000-118-57)
Meals and mess halls: "there was a line for everything"

During this interview, Mrs. Kurosu alternately speaks in both English and Japanese. As a result, the English translation of the transcript contains [Jpn.] and [Eng.], which indicate whether the original dialogue was spoken in Japanese or English.

Letter to Dr. Keizaburo
doc Letter to Dr. Keizaburo "Kei" Koyama from Eva Koyama (ddr-one-5-38)
Letter dated Oct 5, 1942, to Keizaburo "Kei" Koyama from his daughter, Eva Koyama. In the letter Eva writes about life at Minidoka: Shin came to visit, school is starting soon, Mr. Mita's funeral, lunch, and Girl Scouts. Eva sends her regards to Dr. Tanaka and Mr. Ikeya.
Mess Hall Identification Card (ddr-csujad-29-24)
doc Mess Hall Identification Card (ddr-csujad-29-24)
Manzanar mess hall identification card. Block 20, Building 11, Apt. 4. Belonging to Ruth Hochi. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 4137_M03
Victim of the Japanese Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) (ddr-csujad-26-31)
doc Victim of the Japanese Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) (ddr-csujad-26-31)
An affidavit written to invalidate purported distortions and false accusations made against the author in two books published using research material collected by Rosalie Hankey Wax during de Cristoforo's incarceration at Tule Lake. The books are "Doing Fieldwork: Warnings and Advice" by Rosalie H. Wax and "The Spoilage" by Dorothy Swaine Thomas and Richard S ...
An Oral History with Seiko Ishida (ddr-csujad-29-11)
av An Oral History with Seiko Ishida (ddr-csujad-29-11)
Retired Kibei teacher recounts samurai parents' background and their immigration to Seattle, Washington; socioeconomic composition of Seattle's Japanese community; earlier teacher training; prewar stays in Japan as a child and as a tutor in a missionary family; experiences as a teacher in the wartime resettlement in New York; and postwar return to Los Angeles. This ...
Incarcerees having lunch at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-36)
img Incarcerees having lunch at Granada incarceration camp (ddr-csujad-14-36)
Incarcerees having lunch at Granada incarceration camp. August 20, 1942. Photo by Tom Parker. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: HMLSC_TOMO_f01
Hand over garden (ddr-densho-242-20)
img Hand over garden (ddr-densho-242-20)
Caption on front: "My V garden in v.g. Area The hand of Mike Aug. 1944."
API