Monday, July 28, 2008

America.Coffee. The War.

Juy 28 ...

President Roosevelt announced the end of wartime coffee rationing on this day in 1943 in the USA. So, in the dark coffee-restricted days, how had the populace managed?

The ‘nationally famous home economist, dietitian, and nutrition expert’ Prudence Penny gave a lot of hints on ‘Long Drinks On Short Rations’ in one of her wartime cookbooks (Coupon Cookery, 1943). She gave some remarkably good suggestions - for a totally fictitious person (I wonder if she is friends with ‘Betty Crocker’?).

Coffee-Saving Ways.

Buy coffee one pound at a time. Keep tightly covered. Preserve metal lids and use them instead of the past-board ones that come with the jar.
Keep coffee in dark, cool place, preferably in the refrigerator.
Use the right grind – the one suited to your coffee-maker. Use regular grind for steeped and percolated coffee; use drip grind for the drip method and use fine grind for the vacuum type pot.
Measure both coffee and water accurately and make only as much as you need.
Experiment: you will find you can use less coffee by steeping or percolating the coffee a little longer; in the Cory or Silex pot, let water remain in contact with coffee in top of bowl for slightly longer than recommended by the manufacturer.
Warm cups by rinsing out in hot water.
Scour, air, and clean coffee-makers regularly.

Stretched Coffee.
Many people whose coffee ration is simply not adequate, are successfully mixing one pound of coffee with one pound of unrationed coffee-like beverage, such as Fiego, Soyfee, or any one of several others and using it identically as coffee.

And to go with your stretched coffee, why not try one of Prudence’s cakes?

Honey Chocolate Cake.
½ cup shortening
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon double action baking powder
¾ teaspoon soda
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup sour milk
¾ cup honey

Cream shortening and brown sugar thoroughly.
Add well-beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients, add alternately in thirds with the milk, mixing each time until smooth.
Add the honey last and mix lightly. Add flavouring; pour into well-greased 9 inch layer tins.
Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Quotation for the Day ...

"After a few months' acquaintance with European 'coffee' one's mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with it's clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed." Mark Twain, in A Tramp Abroad.


srhcb said...

Chicory was a common coffee extender, and is still popular in the American South.

It was also used as a sustitute for coffee in prisons, where the aggitation potential of caffeine would be undesirable.

(to me, this would constitute "cruel and unusual punishment")

srhcb said...

Twain's "A Tramp Abroad" contains several curious parochial comments on food. One of the oddest, on the list of American foods he missed, was the entry for "Mashed Potatoes, Ketchup". Whether these were meant to be eaten together or not is open to speculation. (I hope "Not")