Today's post was originally intended for a few weeks ago, as a follow-up to a story about bacon in World War II. It has been waiting in my stash of 'spare' stories ( a stash now completely depleted, I have to say) and has come in handy this morning as I have been having too much fun this weekend to get around to writing!
On June 4, 1918 the British Food Ministry announced to a no doubt happy public that wartime rationing of bacon was to be eased until the 29th of the month.
‘Although bacon … is comparatively plentiful just now, its food value should be taken full advantage of and every effort made to prevent waste. The following hints as to how to make the most of the bacon ration are issued by the Ministry of Food.
1. Do not wash the pan immediately after frying bacon, or the fat which coats the pan will be wasted. The greasy pan can be used for frying cooked haricots, or sliced cold potatoes. A little fat bacon served with fried haricots or potatoes makes a good breakfast and saves bread.
2. The rind of bacon should be removed before cooking, and should be fried to melt the fat from it. The rind should afterwards be added to vegetable stock or soup to give flavour. Bones from bacon should be added to the stock pot or soup pan.
3. When bacon has been boiled it should be left to cool in the water in which it was cooked. In this way less fat is lost, and any juice which might otherwise be lost, catches the stock.
4. The liquor in which ham or bacon has been boiled should be allowed to become cold. The fat should then be skimmed off and clarified. From 2 oz. to 4 oz. of clear white fat can in this way be recovered from 1 lb. of fat bacon.
5. As vegetables contain very little fat, a little bacon added to a vegetable stew makes a nourishing and appetising dish. This is a particularly economical way of cooking a small quantity of bacon as the fat which comes from the bacon enriches the stew and is not wasted on the sides of the pan.
Recipe for the Day.
A feature on Economical Cookery from The Manchester Guardian of July 12, 1915 indicated that one way of achieving this goal was by making dishes that were ‘verging on vegetarian cookery and yet containing just such an amount of flesh food as will satisfy those who do not care to follow a non-flesh diet.’ Bacon is an optional flesh food in the following dish.
Baked Vegetable Marrow.
Vegetable marrow baked makes a dish which can be enjoyed by all. Take a moderate-sized marrow and boil it till half cooked (about ten minutes) without removing the peel or cutting it open. Drain it and remove the peel, then cut it open and remove the pulp and seeds and cut it into neat, rather small, pieces. Put these into a shallow pie dish, which should be lightly greased with butter, melt two ounces of butter and pour over the marrow, season it well, and cover over. Bake for about twenty minutes in a moderate oven. When cooked, cover the marrow with strips of bacon or a layer of cooked meat minced and seasoned. A very small quantity of meat is sufficient – a quarter of a pound is enough, and it may quite well be left out of this recipe altogether, tomatoes being substituted for the meat.