In researching a story set in the U.S.A. during World War II, I came across a slang term for food procured through the black market (not rationing stamps). Now I can’t find where I read it.

In the instance I read, I believe it was a term for a side of beef, but I also believe it could be any food (later, I may stand corrected on that). I’m unsure if the word began with the letter “B,” but it may have.

Does anyone here know what was the slang term in the U.S.A. during World War II for black market (i.e., illegal) food? Thanks.

  • Sounds like bootleg. Jan 28, 2020 at 22:53
  • It's a bit afield ... but does contraband sound right?
    – jimm101
    Jan 28, 2020 at 22:59
  • But the USA did not have food rationing. So how can there have been a black market? There certainly was rationing and a black market in Britain. I don't know if there was a name for such food - but the people who operated it were called "spivs".
    – WS2
    Jan 28, 2020 at 23:21
  • 1
    @WS2 Yes, there was rationing in the US during WWII.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 29, 2020 at 0:35
  • 1
    I second @YosefBaskin. Bootlegging, while usually associated with alcohol, can apply to anything made or distributed illegally. This article uses the term specifically in conjunction with meat. Jan 29, 2020 at 3:09


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