Episode 14: So What Did World War II Change, Really?

Historians Myke Cole and Anastacia Marx de Salcedo help us track what changed in combat and cuisine.

Ep 14: Mar 9, 2020

It’s called “the deadliest conflict in human history” for a reason — World War II engulfed the lives of soldiers and civilians in a way those in the United States have not experienced in a near capacity since. 

In the final episode of our season exploring the experience of service during World War II, authors Myke Cole and Anastacia Marx de Salcedo join to help us make sense of it all: What changed the most when it comes to combat and cuisine? What part did our veterans play in moving the world forward? And where can we most find ourselves in this history?

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Eric Coldwell engineered the interview with Anastacia for this episode. Thank you to all the engineers who have contributed to recordings with veterans this season, and the organizations that have connected us with them. You can find all of the veterans’ episodes here.

Behind The Episode:

  • Check out this Washington Post article for fascinating stuff on amped up military foods like Zapplesauce and some good MRE Jokes, and this Wired story for how the military jacks up caffeine cuisine.
  • The retort pouch changed the trajectory of military cuisine. Read up about this plastic marvel in Science Direct and this brilliant NY Times article from the 80s.
  • We didn’t get to include in this episode all of the weird/cool/harsh stuff we learned about the history of the draft. This Library of Congress blog post compiles some particularly fascinating tidbits.
  • Curious about the demographics of the military? Read up at the Council of Foreign Relations, The Washington Post (on how the attack on Pearl Harbor united us more than the fall of the World Trade towers, specifically), and the National World War II Museum.

About Myke Cole

Myke Cole has translated a life in intelligence, the military and law enforcement into a career as a TV personality, historian, and novelist. On the screen and on the page, he takes you where the action is.

As a security contractor, government civilian and military officer, Myke Cole’s career has run the gamut from Counterterrorism to Cyber Warfare to Federal Law Enforcement. He’s done three tours in Iraq and was recalled to serve during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  He recently joined the cast of Hunted on CBS as part of an elite team of fugitive hunters.
All that conflict can wear a guy out. Thank goodness for fantasy novels, comic books, late night games of Dungeons and Dragons and lots of angst fueled writing.

Find more at his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Myke Cole’s novels are like crack: they’re highly addictive.” – Buzzfeed

“Cole leverages his real-life military background to create a believable depiction of conflict in space with an emphasis on authentic characters.” – Kirkus

A teaser of Myke in the episode, sharing what has changed about patriotism in the military between World War II and today. Listen to the full episode for the whole story.

About Anastacia Marx de Salcedo

The Author of Combat Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You EatAnastacia Marx de Salcedo is interested in the things that are hiding in plain sight, often buried in voluminous, bureaucratic documents or jargon-filled industry journals. In a previous incarnation, she called herself a food humorist—until that moniker elicited too many blank stares at parties. She’s worked as a public health consultant, the publisher of a newsmagazine, and a public policy researcher. She was born in New York City, graduated from Columbia College, and lives in Boston. Habla español.

Find more at her websiteTwitter, and Facebook.

Combat-Ready Kitchen reveals in abundant detail how military necessity has spawned food-technological invention and many of the processed foods that crowd our supermarket and kitchen shelves.

—HAROLD MCGEE, author of On Food & Cooking and Keys to Good Cooking

A funny bit with our veterans and Anastacia on how military cuisine was pretty lousy during World War II.

1943 War Office training film on “How to Behave in Britain” for U.S. troops


(click on images to enlarge, and click here for all veterans’ episodes)