Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bacon Week: Part the Fourth.

We go to Britain during World War I, for today’s bacon-focussed story. The importance of bacon to the British psyche (and nutrition status) is really underscored by an article in The Times, of Tuesday, Apr 16, 1918. An announcement had been made by the Food Ministry that supplementary bacon rations to manual workers were to begin, thanks to the arrival of increased supplies.

‘At present all classes of men, and some women, engaged on industrial or agricultural work are receiving the same additional allowance, but in view of the probable necessity of further developments of rationing according to occupation, the following grading has been arranged:-
Class F . – Men engaged in mines, quarries, metal manufacture, shipbuilding and ship-repairing, gas and coke manufacture, transport workers, navvies, boiler stokers, and fireman.
Class E. – Men engaged on heavy bodily work in agriculture, forestry, and fishing.
Class D. – Practically all men engaged in bodily labour, except where, in the case of jewellers and watchmakers, their work, though manual, is essentially sedentary. This class includes postmen, policemen, firemen, coastguards, and men employed on sanitary services, roads, gas, water, and electricity supply.
Doctors and surgeons in general practice, and veterinary surgeons, also come in Section D.

For a wartime recipe for bacon, we go a little further back in the same newspaper ( February 22, 1917) to a feature entitled Economy In Cooking: Further Recipes For The Thrifty. The recipe is from a leaflet put out by the Association of Teachers of Domestic Science of recipes. I wonder what my Canadian readers and friends have to say about its ‘authenticity’!

Canadian Stew.
¾ lb. butter or haricot beans (soaked in boiling water with a little soda, overnight and boiled till soft, without salt)
1 lb. salt pork or fat bacon, cut into dice
2 tablespoonfuls of golden syrup
1 good teaspoonful of mixed mustard
2 teaspoonfuls of salt
1-3 teaspoonfuls pepper
Some warm water
Mixed together to make sauce.
Method: put in casserole or covered stew jar a layer of beans, then pork, and so on, till used up. Pour sauce over, enough to cover but not to make the beans float, cover and cook for four hours in slow oven. When cooked there should be no liquid, only thick moisture. If necessary, mix a little golden syrup and water, and add while cooking. This is nice served with cold beetroot.

Quotation for the Day

Dr. Murchison, the late eminent physician, was wont to declare that bacon fat or ham fat was worth a guinea an ounce in the treatment of wasting diseases.
P.E.Muskett, The Art of Living in Australia (1893)


Unknown said...

My Grandfather - a Yorkshire farmer ate fat bacon for breakfast every day of his life - and I mean 'fat' - all fat, no lean at all...and he lived well into his 70s.

defined benefit plan said...

I wish i could eat all this bacon all the time. but I don't want to take a chance for later on in life

SometimesKate said...

I do love bacon! But that recipe is pretty much a recipe for baked beans, minus the onions and tomato sauce. Though honestly, it's probably a more authentic version. I read in something that they had a horrible onion shortage in Britain during WWII. Which would be tragic for me, as onions are my favourite vegetables.