Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Cheese Ration: Digestible Dishes, 1941.

I have talked about rationing in Britain in WW II on a number of occasions in the past, but there is always more to explore on the subject. I am thinking of cheese today. Cheese rationing began in May 1941 and remained rationed until 1954 – nine years after the war finished. At its most severe, the amount allowed for most folk was an almost-negligible one ounce per person per week (vegetarians and workers in some industries got more.) Over the next thirteen years the most common allowance was four ounces a week, with a glorious period in July 1942 when it was the luxurious amount of eight ounces a week.

Methods of making the most of the cheese ration were regularly included in the Food Facts leaflets published weekly by the British wartime Ministry of Food, and in newspaper columns across the land. Today I bring you an article from The Manchester Guardian published a few weeks in advance of the formal beginning of cheese rationing.

Digestible Dishes

The cheese ration can be made to go much farther, and, incidentally, it will be more digestible of cooked or grated than if eaten raw. It should be remembered that cheese is a highly concentrated food as it takes approximately a quart of milk to make a quarter of a pound of cheese. As cheese contains natural protein of high value, to get the most out of the ration it should be used as a main dish on a meatless day. In warmer weather it can be well used in a salad. The following, eaten with brown bread and butter or margarine, makes a perfectly balanced meal of high nutritive value. At the bottom of a dish put some cold sliced potatoes. These should be well seasoned and mixed with some salad cream or oil and vinegar dressing. Put round the dish some heaps of grated raw carrot and tufts of whatever green stuff is available. While lettuces are dear, shredded cabbage makes a good substitute. Grate the cheese into a mound in the centre.
When cooking cheese, remember that great heat will harden it and render it indigestible. A nourishing dish for four people can be made with two ounces of cheese; it makes an excellent substitute for meat or fish. Grate the cheese and put in a bowl with three and a half ounces of breadcrumbs and a tablespoonful of margarine. Add a pint of milk just off the boil, salt and pepper, and two beaten eggs. A teaspoonful of made mustard can be added also. Mix all well together, put in a greased pie-dish, and cook in a very moderate oven until just set. Cheese turnovers are very savoury. Just stir the grated cheese into a very little thick white sauce and put portions on rounds of thinly rolled out pastry. Turn over and fasten down. Bake in a moderate oven and eat hot or cold. Here is a simple cheese toast. Take a breakfast-cupful of milk and blend a teaspoonful of cornflour with some of it. Boil the rest and add the cornflour to it. Stir, and cook for a few minutes slowly. Season with cayenne, salt, and a little made mustard. Stir in some grated cheese, and pour over slices of toast when the cheese has melted. Sprinkle more cheese over the top and brown lightly under the grill.
Potato cheese is an excellent dish. Boil the potatoes in their skins, peel, and cut into small chunks. Make some ordinary white sauce and stir in some grated cheese. Pour over the potatoes and bake in the oven for about half an hour. Stale slices of bread or bread and butter can be used up with cheese. Cut into fingers and place a thin slice of cheese on one finger. Cover with another piece of bread, press together, and dip in well-seasoned beaten egg and milk (use one egg to about a teacup full of milk). Fry in bacon fat or dripping until golden brown.

Previous posts on wartime cheese rationing can be found here:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cod Liver Oil, & the Food of the Shetlanders, 1872.

Today I bring you a small part of an article from The Food Journal: A Review of Social and Sanitary Economy and Monthly Record of Food and Public Health, Volume 3 (London, 1873.) The topic of Shetland: Its Manners and Diet was covered over two editions of the journal, and the author began by noting:

“Until within the last few years, Shetland was almost a terra incognita, and the visitors to its bleak and barren shores were few. The state of things is greatly changed; the number of tourists increases every year, and, indeed, Ultima Thule bids fair to be as regularly "done" as any other fashionable resort of the pleasure-seeking Briton. The absurd notions entertained respecting Shetland, its climate, and its people, are, as a consequence, rapidly vanishing, to be replaced by others more correct.”
The second part of the feature covered the fisheries and the food of the people.

The Food of the People.
Every fisherman in Shetland is also a farmer, having five or six acres of ground, the produce of which supplies him with the greater part of the oatmeal he requires for himself and his family, and at the same time with fodder for his cattle. Each patch is cultivated by manual labour, the chief implement used being the tuiscar, or native spade, and in the vore, or labouring season, every member of the family capable of working, male and female, is pressed into the service. . The usual crops are black oats - the light-coloured or  Scotch kind, though much better and yielding more meal, not being reckoned so suitable to the climate – beans, potatoes, and turnips. As the Shetlanders sow the same ground year after year without intermission, the soil, naturally poor, soon becomes completely worn out, and they are obliged to recruit its exhausted strength by the imposition of fresh earth. This, which they call truck, is brought from the neighbouring scathold, or outlying and uncultivated district, with great pains and labour, and is formed into a kind of compost before being used. In consequence of this constant scalping, the ground for a considerable distance around each hamlet is as bare and barren as a stony desert.
The staple article of diet among the Shetlanders is fish, and so fond are they of it that they could eat it at every meal, and never wish a change. What they call the greyfish, or sillock, already alluded to, is the most esteemed. These swarm in countless numbers along the coasts, and whenever weather will permit every spare moment is spent in catching them. It is surprising how a man will sit on the rocks, or in his boat, on a cold winter day, regardless of the piercing winds and driving sleet, till he has filled his "buddie," and so secured the evening's meal and next morning's supply. In cooking these fishes the people boil them with potatoes, as it is supposed that a finer relish is thus imparted to the latter. The piltock, which is the sillock in its second year, is with all classes reckoned a great delicacy, especially when eaten cold with vinegar. Sillocks and piltocks are used fresh, or sour, or "blawn." The "sour" are semi-putrid, but are much liked notwithstanding. "Blawn" sillocks are those which have been dried for some time in the open air. Before they can be used they must be thoroughly soaked in water, and even then are very insipid. Great quantities of these are regularly prepared by every family for winter consumption, and hung in rows under the roof of their houses. The skate is also in great repute, and in summer it is common to see two or three hung up at every door, drying in the sun. Like the "blawn" sillocks, they need to be thoroughly steeped in water before they can be used. With plenty of butter they are very fine. The larger fish, such as cod and ling, are not much eaten, and the people imagine that they are not so good for the health as the grey-fish; but the chief reason doubtless is that the cod and others mentioned are reckoned the property of the tacksman, and to appropriate them would be little better than theft. Turbot is used in its season, and, among the very poorest, even the dog-fish is used for food, but only in the absence of everything else. The roe of the cod boiled entire is an excellent dish, and the same, mixed with flour, is formed into a paste called "slot," which is eaten fried with grease or suet. The cod is eaten with its own oil, and this dish, which the Shetlanders like very much, is called "fish and gree." Many a hearty meal is made of the heads and livers of the cod, after the fish has been prepared for salting.
In taking their meals, the Shetlanders do not arrange themselves around a table, but each person sits wherever he finds most convenient. The pot, with the potatoes, stands near the fire, and the fish is laid upon a square wooden platter with raised sides, called a "trough," and placed upon a small table. No knives or forks are used, but every one helps himself with his fingers, and holds a bit of fish in one hand and a potato in the other. In every house there is a pig or two, which the family either use for themselves or send to the market. The Shetland native pig is not an attractive specimen of its kind, and its flesh is not the best of pork, the quality by no means being improved by the feeding, which almost always imparts to it a fishy taste. The flesh of fowls is affected in the same way. These last are small, but are very tender when young. Beef and mutton are not extensively used among the lower classes in Shetland, but it is not uncommon for two or three families to join in having a cow killed at Martinmas for their winter's stock of provisions. This was until recently the invariable custom with the better classes, but now fresh meat can be had all the year round. The beasts intended for slaughter are entirely grass-fed, and generally from ten to twelve years old, at which time they are considered to be in prime condition. The meat is very fine, but shrinks considerably in boiling.
Tea is a favourite beverage with the Shetlanders, and the value of yearly imports is considerably more than the rental of the whole country. With a great many it is as much an article of extravagant dissipation as whisky is in other places. It is drunk without cream or sugar, and generally boiled. Sometimes a piece of lump-sugar is held in the mouth, which sweetens the tea as it is swallowed. The bread eaten with it is oat-cake, which is used in almost every house throughout the isles. Wheaten or bakers' bread has, however, lately begun to come into use, even among the peasantry; but formerly it was a thing scarcely ever seen in any family, and when it was procured it was enjoyed as a great delicacy. The Shetlanders also use oatmeal porridge, but not so much as the lower orders in Scotland. In winter, boiled cabbage, potatoes, and fish are commonly taken at supper.
The Shetlanders are not a drunken people, but although they are all very fond of a glass of spirits at times, they generally contrive to keep within due bounds. Their principal times for rejoicing are Old Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Johnsmas (St. John's day), and the foy, which every boat's crew has at the close of the haaf fishery. Even at such times it is very rare that there is much excess of any kind.
Owing to the exceedingly healthy nature of the climate and the temperate lives of the people, many of the Shetlanders attain a great age.

The famous Victorian chef, Alexis Soyer was well aware of the common prescription of cod-liver oil by the medical men of the day – although clearly the hardy folk of the Shetlands would have had no such need. In his book A Shilling Cookery for the People (London, 1854) Soyer noted:

Being aware of the immense quantity of cod-liver oil taken by delicate persons, now-a-days, and the great benefit derived from its use, I asked the medical officer present his opinion of its efficacy.  Nothing can be better," was his reply, "in many cases. But," said he, "many patients cannot take it, being of such an unpleasant taste, more especially children, and as we in this establishment use the second quality, from motives of economy, it is doubly unpleasant." I myself tasted some, and must say that I found it anything but relishing.
After bidding adieu to the doctor, I and my host left, and while returning to my hotel, I thought that something could be done to alter the present unpleasant way of administering it. Accordingly, upon reaching home, I sent for the following:—

103. One pound of fresh cod-liver; I then peeled and steamed two pounds of nice floury potatoes, then cut the liver in four pieces, placed it over the potatoes, and then steamed them, letting the oil from the liver fall on the potatoes; I then made some incisions in the liver with a knife, to extract the remaining oil, afterwards dishing up the liver, which was eaten with a little melted butter and anchovy sauce. The potatoes were served up with a little salt and little salt and pepper. Both dishes were found extremely good.
The following is another way of extracting the oil of a cod's liver, with the aid of that abundant article, rice.

104. Rice and Cod Liver.—Boil half a pound of rice in two quarts of water. When nearly done, remove three parts of the water; then put over your rice a pound of cod's liver, cut in large dice. Put the saucepan in a slow oven for about thirty minutes, by which time it will be nicely cooked. Then take the liver out, which serve as above directed. Stir the rice with a fork, and serve it; if allowed by a medical man, add a little salt and pepper. If no oven, cook the liver and rice on a very slow fire, for otherwise it would burn, and be unwholesome as food.
Of course you can easily see what a blessing such diet as this must be to a person incapable of taking the oil by itself, as, by mixing it with the food, it entirely loses that rancid quality for which it is proverbial.

105. Tapioca and Cod Liver.—Boil a quarter of a pound of tapioca till tender in two quarts of water; drain it in a cullender, then put it back in the pan; season with a little salt and pepper, add half a pint of milk, put over one pound of fresh cod liver, cut in eight pieces. Set your pan near the fire to simmer slowly for half an hour, or a little more, till your liver is quite cooked. Press on it with a spoon, so as to get as much oil into the tapioca as possible. After taking away the liver, mix the tapioca. If too thick, add a little milk, then boil it a few minutes; stir round, add a little salt and pepper, and serve. If you have a slow oven, use it in preference to the fire; but if you are without an oven, here is another good way of cooking it:

106. Put three inches depth of water in a largish pan; then put the pan containing the tapioca in the above-mentioned pan; let it simmer till quite done. It will take about an hour. By adopting this plan, all fear of burning is obviated; afterwards remove the liver, which serve as at No. 103.

107. Sago, or semolina, may be done the same way, and by adding an egg, it will make a delicate pudding; or by cutting the liver in small dice, you may add it to your pudding, putting in a little more milk to make it moist; then add a couple more eggs, well beaten, and mix; putting it in a basin, previously well buttered; then let it simmer in a stewpan for half an hour, or till set; then turn it out on a dish; sauce with a little plain melted butter, anchovy, or parsley and butter.

A little stringent food, such as the above, will be found to be very refreshing, even to persons in good health.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

A Picnic on the Cusp of War.

A scant two weeks before Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, The Times (of London) included a feature article (in the section clearly aimed at women) entitled “Luncheons for the Moors: Ideas for Menus.”

One could have skimmed the newspaper and barely been aware that war was looming. Three short paragraphs half way down the first column on page 7 reported the need for more volunteers in the eventuality that children may need to be evacuated from London; about half of page 9 was given over to “World Peace” and events in Europe; and in a few column inches on page 11 under the header “Critical Days” it was noted that there were “many signs of heightened tension in international affairs.”

In view of the imminent inevitability of war in Europe at the time, the tone and tenor of the piece seems rather surreal today. Was the focus on the concept of a leisurely 3-course lunch on the moors (after a bracing walk, of course) a determined celebration of all that was good about England, in spite of the situation evolving in Europe? Was it outright denial that the Best of Times was about to devolve into the Worst of Times? A simple example of a British stiff upper lip and carry on regardless? An offering of “bread and circuses” to the masses?  

Here is the piece: may you enjoy it in all its evocative, nostalgic glory:


“Young people enjoy the scramble of a picnic on the moors, but after perhaps a hard morning’s walking older men would often be glad of a leisurely and ordered meal. It is also economical, for the housekeeper knows just how much to provide for each course. If the meal is carefully thought out beforehand, it actually takes up little room and can be packed in one side of the usual large leather pony bags, the other side being kept for drinks, glasses, and so on. This is an important consideration where there is no road near the trysting place.
The only extra that is wanted for a “course” luncheon is an additional set of plates, but these can be had in aluminium quite inexpensively, and are so thin and light they take up hardly any room. The second set should be only “cheese” size. These are for the sweet and cheese courses, but “dinner” sized ones will be more easily balanced for the meat course, when both hands are wanted for knife and fork.

Everything should as far as possible be in rectangular packets to save waste of space in packing. Bright biscuit tins can hold any course that is in small portions, and for the two main ones, the enameled oblong tins of luncheon baskets are best. The hostess should have a good eye for a “terrain” where everyone can sit in a rough circle and pass things without having to get up.

The bag should be put down beside her and she should, if possible, unpack it herself, placing each packet in its proper order. Every parcel should of course be carefully labelled. She will want only one person to help her by giving out plates and another to take round knives, forks, and spoons, the dishes themselves being handed to her nearest neighbor and passed on when he has helped himself. The drinks naturally will be in the charge of the host. The first course should be something that can be eaten in the fingers. Here are some ideas for menus:-“

I have chosen menu Number 2 for you today: stuffed eggs, cold lamb with mint jelly and salade russe followed by pain d’apricots, and a “black” gingerbread to serve with the cheese and butter course.  As an alternative to the salad, a cold curry of vegetables might be served, in which case it was suggested that the mint jelly be omitted, as “the strong flavours would not agree.”

Naturally, the article included a couple of recipes:

Stuffed Eggs.
Hard boil the eggs, cut them in two crosswise, take out the yolks, pass through wire sieve, mix with a very little thick whipped cream, salt, pepper, and a dash of Worcester sauce, fill the eggs, put the two halves together and twist up in greaseproof paper. Pack in tin and warn guests to open the parcels carefully.

Pain d’Apricots.
It is a pleasant and refreshing sweet.
Take 2 lb. of fresh or bottled apricots stewed and then passed through a sieve. Add four leaves of melted gelatine and see that the mixture is sweet enough. Pour into the enamel box to set. Serve this with a pot of Devonshire cream, which can easily be had by post and will keep fresh for a day or two.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Twelfth Cake in Rhyme.

After sundown on January 5th is ‘Twelfth Night’, the eve of Epiphany. There has been a long tradition of special cakes to mark the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and today I bring you a rhyming recipe from The Huddersfield Chronicle and West Yorkshire Advertiser (West Yorkshire, England), Saturday, December 21, 1867

To two pounds of flour – well sifted – unite
Of loaf-sugar, ounces sixteen;
Two pounds of fresh butter, with eighteen fine eggs,
Add four pounds of currants washed clean;
Eight ounces of almonds, well blanched and cut small,
The same weight of citron slice;
Of orange and lemon peel, candied one ounce,
Or a little less, perhaps, may suffice;
A large nutmeg grated; about half an ounce
Of allspice, but only a quarter
Of mace, coriander, and ginger well ground
Or pounded to dust in a mortar
An important addition is cinnamon which
Is better increased than diminished –
The fourth of an ounce is sufficient. Now this
May be baked four hours until finished.

Other recipes for food for Twelfth Day can be found in previous posts:
And Twelfth Night Cider Punch is here:

Monday, December 05, 2016

Innovative Ideas for Christmas Pudding (1863)

For a brief while in the mid-nineteenth century, the London Lady’s Newspaper and Pictorial Times carried a series of “Culinary Monographs” by a Maître Jacques in its section on “Household Economy and Domestic Science.” The monograph in the edition of January 10, 1863 was on “Christmas Fare,” so is very pertinent to the encroaching season. Maître Jacques included his instructions for cooking the turkey, but I have not included this today.


Upon reflection I withdraw the Monograph upon Plumb Puddings. Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle, and the single item of plum-pudding is scarcely important enough to have an entire paper devoted to it. A few notes may, however, be acceptable, and I may contrive to eke them out possibly with something about other Christmas fare.

In the first place, it is a misnomer to speak of plum-pudding as an “old English dish,” or as in any way belonging to “Old English fare.” None of the olden books contain any mention of it: indeed, I very much doubt whether plum-pudding,” in any thing like its present form, can claim a greater antiquity than a hundred years. Our forefathers of old had, indeed “plum-porridge” and “furmenty,” with plums and spices put into them: but these did not bear so close a resemblance to the genuine article as did the mixture of the Chinese cook, who made the pudding strictly according to the recipe, but omitted the cloth, and served up the well-boiled mess, like thin mash, in a tureen.

The following recipe for “plumb porridge” may serve to give the reader an idea of what our ancestors delighted in. It is extracted from “A Collection of Receipts in Cookery,” published at the King’s Head, in St. Paul’s Church-yard, in 1746.

“Boil a large leg of beef to rags, and make as much broth as will jelly when cold; when ‘tis enough, strain it: let it stand to be cold, that you may take off all the fat, then put it over the fire again; and to every gallon of broth put near a pound of currants, and half-a-pound of raisins, clean wash’d and pick’d: stew also two pounds of prunes, and when they are plump’d, take out the fairest to put in whole, and pulp the rest thro’ a cullender, an wash the stone and skins clean with some of the broth: take also the crumbs of a penny white loaf grated, to every gallon: and to four gallons you may put about two nutmegs, the weight of that in cloves and mace, and the weight of all in cinnamon: let all the spice be finely beat and grated: add salt and sugar to your taste: when the fruit is plump ‘tis enough; but just before you take it from the fire, squeeze in the juice of four or five lemons, and throw in the peel of two: four gallons will require a quart of claret, and a pint of sack, which must be put in with the fruit.”

It must, indeed, be obvious to anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the schools of cookery, that plum-pudding is not even purely an English dish; but that it is one of the results of that system of mixing a large number of ingredients which our cooks have taken from foreign parts. Beauvilliers, and more recently, “le grand Carème,” give recipes which, if not exactly plum-pudding, bear a very strong genetic likeness to it. Carème gives what looks like a capital recipe of this kind, in which he includes apricot jam: and I am not prepared to say that this is not a wrinkle worth having.

I have seen perhaps hundreds of recipes for plum puddings, varying from the shouting puddings of the workhouses (so called from the fact that the plums are so far apart that they have to shout at each other to be heard) up to the “very rich plum-pudding” of Miss Acton and “Meg Dodds,” and I have experimented a little in this way myself, introducing innovations which are not, as far as I am aware, to be found anywhere in print: some at the suggestion of experienced and inquiring friends, and others at my own suggestion.

One of these is the introduction of vanilla into the pudding. This was hinted at to me by a friend, an eminent chemist. It is a real discovery, and cannot, of course, be found in any of the old books: for the delicious flavour of the capsule of the vanilla orchid, has not been long known to cooks. My chemical friend extracted the flavour by steeping the pod in pure alcohol, and he found the extract very useful in flavouring creams, chocolate, &c; but he confessed to me that when he tried it in plum-pudding, the flavour, somehow or other, nearly, if not quite, disappeared. I went another way about this year (as will be seen by the subjoined recipe) and I am happy to say I succeeded perfectly. My chemical friend happened to be present at the eating of the pudding and his strictly logical mind accepting that event as proof of the fact, he roared out, after the first mouthful, “Why, you have managed to keep the vanilla in!”

Another novelty (as I take it to be) was an adaptation of a suggestion by Carème. I refer to the substitution of biscuit-powder for bread-crumbs.


1 lb. best muscatel raisins carefully stoned and chopped a little on the board; 1 lb. currants washed and picked; ¼ lb. candied lemon-peel: ¼ lb. candied citron; ¼ lb. sweet almonds blanched and chopped fine; 1 lb. suet, picked and chopped fine; ½ lb. biscuit powder; 1 ¼ lb. of sugar; nutmeg and mixed spices to taste; half a teaspoonful of carbonate of soda; 8 eggs well beaten; a gill of old ale. Then take a little milk in a saucepan and put into it half a pod of vanille [sic]. Let it simmer on the hob with the lid closed until the pod is quite soft. Take out the pod and mince it small with a sharp knife, and put it into a mortar with a little of the milk and bray it until reduced to a paste, which return to the milk and pour into the pudding. Just before putting the pudding on, give it a good stir and mix in a full quartern of  good brandy. Boil if for eight hours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Saving Day Hints, and Hints for Fussy Eaters, 1932.

Today I bring you another story from one of my favourite sources – the scripts of the United States Department of Agriculture Radio Service program ‘Housekeepers’ Chat.’  

Here is the script, (‘For Broadcast Use Only,) – including recipes of course - of the program of September 26, 1932:

Subject: “Saving Day Hints.” Information approved by the 
Bureau of Home Economics, U.S.D.A.


The lady around the corner made a call on Uncle Ebenezer and me yesterday afternoon, and she confessed the food sins of her family.

"My husband has a prejudice against most vegetables. He just doesn't like them. My brother lives with us, and he is a vegetarian and won't touch meat. The two children are just as bad. One of them won't drink milk, and the other dislikes eggs. With a family like mine, food bills certainly are high. No matter how hard I try to economize and plan simple and sensible meals, my husband complains that our food costs too much."

Uncle Ebenezer looked very serious and shook his head as he listened to our caller.

"Prejudices about food certainly are expensive," he agreed. "Pampered tastes and finicky ways need a good fat purse."

The food experts and nutritionists, who are helping out these days in our problem of household economy, agree with Uncle Ebenezer. Whims and fancies about food, refusing this and disliking that, they say, are some of the ways to make the food bills go sailing up into the stratosphere.

Of course, if you have all the money you want to spend on food, or if you don't care how much you spend, these prejudices aren't so serious. If you understand food values and have the money, you can humor prejudices and indulge preferences and still feed the family a well-balanced diet. But trouble sets in when you need to be thrifty, when you want to keep your family well, yet must feed them at small expense. Then you can't afford food prejudices.

One good way to overcome food dislikes is to get all members of the family to take an interest in the facts about food. Facts often drive out prejudices. You remember that the time was when many people scorned cabbage and prunes, called them "boarding house food" and felt that their families deserved better fare. And the time was when liver was a very humble food. A friend of nine used to say that liver was only fit for feeding cats. But times changed when the nutritionists began to experiment and discover the facts about food values. We housewives began to hear how rich cabbage was in vitamins — especially raw cabbage. And we began to hear that oven, the humble prune had great virtues. Liver became a food celebrity overnight when we learned its value for treating anemic people and for supplying us all with good red blood.

So if you want to feed your family well at low cost, banish prejudices from the house. To save yourself trouble and expense, let the youngsters learn early to eat every food you serve them.

All during the past week, I've "been collecting ideas for economy Monday, jotting down little notes so I could remember helpful things my friends have been telling me. And I'm ready today to exhibit my collection to you.

To begin with, I have some vegetable saving ideas. Some people waste vegetables without even knowing it. Take celery. That's one of our good fall vegetables.

"If you're really thrifty," says my Next-Door Neighbor, "you never throw away a bit of celery. You use both the tender stalks and the large outside stalks, you use the heart and use the leaves. Hot a bit of the whole bunch goes to waste."

Of course, the tender hearts and the white root never go to waste. They're the delicate part of the bunch, and you eat them “as is” But what about the rest of the bunch that isn't so good for eating out of hand?

The tough outside stalks you can use for soup or you can cut them up, boil them and serve them in cream sauce. Or stew the celery up with tomatoes and serve it as a combination dish. Carrots and celery diced and cooked together make another good combination.

Celery leaves are excellent for seasoning soups, stews and sauces. So don't throw the leaves away. If you can't use them all at the time, just dry them and put them away in a jar. They'll be ready then for seasoning any time during the winter.

Peas are another good vegetable sometimes wasted. I don't mean the young and tender green peas. I mean the peas in your garden that have grown middle-aged or somewhat elderly so that they are too hard and tough for serving just cooked and buttered. What do you do with them? My neighbor cooks hers until tender, presses them through a sieve and then uses the pulp for cream of pea soup.

As for beets, haven't we mentioned before that the thrifty housewife makes her beets go double whenever she can? If you have young beets with fresh unbroken leaves, serve the beet tops for one meal as greens and on another day serve the beet roots.

Here is a point about buying potatoes for economy. Buy smooth potatoes and you'll avoid the waste of catting out eyes, specks and imperfections such as are often found in knobby potatoes. If you want potatoes for baking, choose a kind that is dry and mealy. Waxy potatoes hold their shape well for salad and for frying.

Keep some small onions on hand to use for seasoning. Oftentimes when a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons or so of chopped onion, you don't need to bother to measure. You can just cut up one of these small onions and let it go at that.

Now here are five little helpful odds and ends of information. I'll just have time to give them to you before the menu.

Idea No. 1. To prevent your rug from curling and slipping, sew a triangular piece of corrugated rubber under each corner, pieces of rubber left from an old inner tube might do for this purpose.

Idea no. 2. If you have a new wooden drainboard in your kitchen, apply waterproof varnish to keep the wood from becoming water soaked and dark in color.

Idea no. 3. Oilcloth wears much longer if you first pad your table smoothly with newspapers.

Idea no. 4. Rubber aprons help save laundry work.

Idea no. 5. A rubber plate-scraper, sometimes called a “squee-gee”, is very helpful to the thrifty housekeeper. It makes its way around any mixing bowl much more closely than a spoon, so removes the last bits of cake batter, whipped cream, salad dressing or melted chocolate.

Now for the menu, another economy menu. The main dish is baked tomato with shrimp. Something new for the family. Then, fluffy boiled rice buttered; Panned cabbage; whole wheat bread and butter; and for dessert, Stewed fresh pears with lemon. Hot tea for grown ups.

Here’s the recipe for baked tomato with shrimp. Eight ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 cup fine bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
6 firm, ripe tomatoes
1 cup shrimp (canned)

I'll repeat that list of eight. (Repeat.)

Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the pepper and onion for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the bread crumbs and the salt and pepper. Cut a slice from the stem end of the tomatoes and very carefully remove the pulp so the skin is not broken, and drain the pulp. Combine the seasoned crumbs, the tomato pulp, and the shrimp which has been rinsed in cold water and cut into even pieces. Add more seasoning if necessary and mix well. Fill the tomato cups with the mixture and sprinkle a few buttered crumbs over the top. Bake in a moderate oven until the tomatoes are tender and the crumbs are brown. Serve from the dish in which cooked.

Tuesday: “Hints for the Home Decorator.”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving, Pearl Harbour, 1945.

Thanksgiving, Pearl Harbour, 1945.

Today, in honour of the brave men and women in the military who put their lives on the line for us, I give you the Thanksgiving menu from a WW II US Navy submarine chaser.

U.S.S. PC-1138
22 November, 1945

Celery and Ripe Olives
Cream of Tomato Soup
Vegetable Dressing
Giblet Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Fruit Cocktail
Pie        Plum Pudding
Nuts     Candy
Cigars and Cigarettes.

The recipe I have chosen for you today comes from the General mess manual and cookbook for use on board vessels of the United States Navy (1904.) Plum pudding has remained essentially unchanged since medieval times, so I feel confident that the version made by the cooks of the U.S.S. PC-1138 during WW II would have been very similar to that prepared for the military men of the previous ‘War to End All Wars.’

The manual notes that:

The following recipes have been deduced from a series of experiments made with articles of the Navy ration. Only such as can be easily followed with the usual facilities found on board ship are given. Where time and space will permit more elaborate dishes may be prepared, but it is here the aim to aid inexperienced cooks in the proper preparation of the stores supplied by the Government.
The quantities of the ingredients given in all recipes are those required for one hundred men.

Plum Duff

Soak 25 pounds of stale bread in cold water and drain dry. Add 25 pounds of sifted flour, 5 pounds of suet chopped fine, 3 pounds of raisins, 5 pounds of sugar, 4 pounds of currants, 2 pounds of prunes, 3 tablespoonfuls of salt, 1 teaspoonful of ground cloves, 1 tablespoonful of ground cinnamon, and 1 wineglassful of vinegar, and mix all thoroughly with cold water. Turn the bags inside out, drop them into boiling water, render out slightly, and drop into dry flour, dredging them thoroughly. Turn the bags flour side in and fill them with the pudding, securing the opening firmly, drop into the copper in which water is boiling and cook for at least two hours. If there is sufficient time, the pudding will be improved by boiling three or four hours.