Victory Lunch Boxes, Part 2: Supplies for Packing

I hope this post finds you well. I know that the past few weeks have been challenging, and I know that the next weeks and possibly months have the potential to be even more so. I wish you peace and health in all of this uncertainty.

Since I am not venturing out to any stores, I’m going to stretch the lunch box posts out a bit while I plan for being rather isolated for a while. Today, let’s look at what supplies were needed for packing a satisfying lunch box. If you missed the first post in the series, you can find it here.

Our home front housewife has all of her grocery shopping done, and now she’s ready to pack some lunches. Let’s peek at some wartime advice to see what supplies she’ll need.

Attention Home Front Housewives:

Make a convenient cupboard a packing station. By keeping all of your packing supplies together you’ll save time when preparing lunches. You’ll also know at a glance when you are running low on things you use frequently. In addition to packing supplies, you can store commonly packed food items here. Make a space in the refrigerator for frequently used items that need to be kept cold.

What supplies should you keep on hand in your lunch box cupboard? Here’s a handy list to help you plan ahead.


  • bread board and bread knife
  • variety of other knives, graters, kitchen shears, peelers, and so on
  • something to carry the lunch in–more on that later
  • vacuum bottle
  • string, rubber bands, tape, or other fasteners
  • measuring tools
  • mixing spoons, spatulas
  • small bowls for mixing relishes, sauces, and sandwich fillings
  • both waxed and unwaxed paper cups with lids
  • wide mouth glass jars with lids–jelly or mayonnaise jars work well
  • waxed paper for wrapping foods
  • paper napkins
  • toothpicks
  • wooden utensils (metal isn’t allowed in certain factories)
  • small containers of salt, pepper, sugar
  • butter in a covered dish
  • any seasonings, sauces, relishes, spreads, dressings that don’t need to be kept cool

The Lunch Box

Whatever you choose for a lunch box should be lightweight and easy to use, but it should also be large enough to provide room for a satisfying meal. The carrier should have room for a vacuum bottle even if you are able to purchase beverages at work or school. Vacuum bottles are wonderful when you want to carry along a warm soup. These bottles come in different sizes to suit your needs.

A lunch box can be made of metal, canvas, cardboard, paper, fabric or plastic. In fact, most any material will do as long as you can thoroughly clean it often. Cardboard is the least desirable option as it needs to be replaced often and cannot be cleaned well. Paper bags can use a cardboard core to help keep items from getting smashed before lunch time.

Not that you have all of your groceries, and you have your lunch box cupboard well stocked, let’s take your favorite lunch box and pack up a lunch. That’s where we’ll start next time.

The images today are from Your Victory Lunch Box, published by Dell Publishing in 1943. I think they show the variety of supplies and the inside of a lunch box packing station perfectly. I especially like the color photo because it shows how several of the supplies have been used, as well as offers a look at how two kinds of lunch boxes might have been packed.

Until next time, stay healthy and safe!

3 thoughts

    1. Yes. The Thermos company was definitely around during WWII, but most books and articles of the time period that I’ve run across used “vacuum bottle”. I have seen Thermos used as a generic term for a vacuum bottle type container, but just not as often.

      Liked by 1 person

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