Tamale Pie has been on the American culinary scene since the early 20th century. Depending on whether or not the country was at war and meat was rationed, some recipes contained meat and others did not. The company that became Guest Services surely would have served one or more versions of tamale pie in its government cafeterias in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. The recipe used today is titled “1940s Tamale Pie.”
America was at war in the early 1940s and our company saw an explosion in demand: In 1942 alone, 14 cafeterias were opened. Due to the war, the company experienced food shortages and had difficulty acquiring equipment and staff to meet its growing needs. But we rose to the occasion, and despite the challenges Washington’s workforce was well fed and the war was won in 1945. That same year, the company’s name was changed from the Welfare and Recreational Association of Public Buildings and Grounds to Government Services, Inc., which more closely reflected the nature of our business: to provide food service and recreational activities for federal workers and residents of the District of Columbia.