Monday, March 30, 2009

Foods that will win the War, and maybe the Recession too?

A nice WW I book from the USA might serve to help us with some modern food “issues.” With a few minor changes to the text, Foods That Will Win The War (1918) could be addressing today’s economic climate, health and nutrition theories, and ethical concerns.

“Food will win the war, and the nation whose food resources are best conserved will be the victor … Our government does not ask us to give up three square meals a day - nor even one. All it asks is that we substitute as far as possible corn and other cereals for wheat, reduce a little our meat consumption and save sugar and fats by careful utilization of these products. This book is planned to solve the housekeeper's problem. It shows how to substitute cereals and other grains for wheat, how to cut down the meat bill by the use of meat extension and meat substitute dishes which supply equivalent nutrition at much less cost; it shows the use of syrup and other products that save sugar, and it explains how to utilize all kinds of fats. It contains 47 recipes for the making of war breads; 64 recipes on low-cost meat dishes and meat substitutes; 54 recipes for sugarless desserts … ”

Not only have its authors planned to help the woman in the home, conserve the family income, but to encourage those saving habits which must be acquired by this nation if we are to secure a permanent peace that will insure the world against another onslaught by the Prussian military powers.”

It presses home the timeless message that a little effort, made by a lot of people, a lot of times, can add up to a big change - a general message we could apply to a whole lot of modern environmental issues, perhaps.

“A little bit of saving in food means a tremendous aggregate total, when 100,000,000 people are doing the saving. One wheatless meal a day … would mean a saving of 90,000,000 bushels of wheat, which totals 5,400,000,000 lbs. Two meatless days a week would mean a saving of 2,200,000 lbs. of meat per annum. One teaspoonful of sugar per person saved each day would insure a supply ample to take care of our soldiers and our Allies. These quantities mean but a small individual sacrifice, but when multiplied by our vast population they will immeasurably aid and encourage the men who are giving their lives to the noble cause of humanity on which our nation has embarked.”

Here is one recipe from the book that manages to do a lot with not much (note that the corn syrup would have been the regular, not the high-fructose kind!).

Wheatless, Eggless, Butterless, Milkless, Sugarless Cake

1 cup corn syrup
2 cups water
2 cups raisins
2 tablespoons fat
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups fine cornmeal, 2 cups rye flour; or, 3 ½ cups wholewheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, or, ½ teaspoon soda

Cook corn syrup, water, raisins, fat, salt and spices slowly 15 minutes. When cool, add flour, soda or baking powder, thoroughly blended. Bake in slow oven 1 hour. The longer this cake is kept, the better the texture and flavor. This recipe is sufficient to fill one medium-sized bread pan.

Quotation for the Day.

The first time I ate organic whole-grain bread I swear it tasted like roofing material.
Robin Williams

UPDATE: Cath, at The Canberra Cook, has made this cake. You can find her post HERE.  It looks good!


Cath said...

It turns out that this is surprisingly good!

Here's my attempt at it:

Aqua, of the Questioners said...

Hi, I'm visiting via Cath. Maybe you'd be amused by my attempt to reconstruct a historic recipe last December.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Aqua - that was a great experiment: how did the final item taste? was it really dry? chewy?