Thursday, October 07, 2010

Changing the Recipe.

There is no doubt that the housewives of WW II had to be resourceful. Rationing was in force, to some degree or other, in all the involved nations, and ingredients for favourite recipes could not necessarily be obtained, or afforded. In Britain, the Ministry of Food was there to help, however, and every week for a decade, starting in mid 1940, they turned out a single-page ‘Food Facts’ leaflet full of good ideas and practical advice.

I have often featured recipes from these leaflets in previous posts, but today I give you the whole spiel from No. 406, issued in April 1948 - well after the war finished. Rationing did not cease completely in Britain until July 1954, and in many ways the situation was more difficult, as resources were diverted to the restoration of Europe. There is much to learn from this wartime attitude of ‘waste-not, want-not, and try to make it nutritious and tasty while you are at it’, methinks.

When you have to change your mind …
You can change the recipe too!

Sometimes you shop in vain for a certain vital ingredient, and have to change your mind at the last moment. So it’s useful to have a basic recipe all ready; one that can be varied two or three ways according to what you find in the shops.

Basic Recipe.
8 oz. sausage meat, 1 onion or leek (about 2 oz.) finely sliced, ¼ oz. dripping, ¼ pint boiling water, salt and pepper to taste, 1 level teaspoon mixed herbs, 4 oz. apple, diced, 8 oz.cabbage, shredded.
Divide the sausage meat into 8 portions and form into balls. Fry the onion or leek in the dripping for a few minutes, add the sausage balls and brown all over. Add the water, seasoning, herbs, apple and cabbage, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn onto a hot dish and serve immediately.

1.When you are unable to get sausage meat, this recipe is just as good with corned beef – to prevent the corned beef from breaking too much, dice it and add to the hot-pot only 10 minutes before serving.
2. Instead of onions you can use 6 spring onions chopped, or one clove of garlic finely chopped.
3. Instead of apple use 4 oz finely sliced carrot or two level tablespoons of apple chutney, or two tomatoes, sliced.
4.Instead of mixed herbs, use one level teaspoon dried parsley, or one tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley.

Basic Recipe.
8 oz plain flour and 4 level teaspoons baking powder, or 8 oz. self raising flour, ½ - 1 level teaspoon salt, 1 level tablespoon sugar, about 6 tablespoons milk and water, or water to mix.
Mix flour, baking powder if used, and salt. Add sugar. Mix to a soft dough with the liquid and shape into small balls. Drop into boiling liquid and boil for 15-20 minutes with the lid on. Serve with syrup.

1.Add ½ level teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, or mixed spice to dry ingredients. Serve with custard.
2. Cook in boiling sweetened fruit juice, stewed fruit, or diluted fruit squash and serve in the liquid in which they were cooked.
3. Use the recipe for the dumplings, roll out the dough into an oblong. Spread with 1 level tablespoon syrup, roll up like a Swiss roll and place in a greased pie-dish. Pour over ½ pint of sweetened fruit juice (or 4 tablespoons orange squash and 2 level tablespoons syrup made up to half a pint with water) and bake in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve hot with syrup.

Each recipe serves four and has been kitchen tested.

Quotation for the Day.

That's something I've noticed about food: whenever there's a crisis if you can get people to eating normally things get better.
Madeleine L'Engle


A Spooky Soiree said...

Firstly, let me say that your posts are always really fun to peruse! I see that you have a volume about pie out but I'm curious to know if you have/or have plans to compile a booklet of your favorite "old foodie" recipes?

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks luckyyjennyy - I have a booklet in the pipeline, based on old foodie posts!

SharleneT said...

Wonderful post, today, because it says what all cooks should do, regardless of period they are living in -- take a recipe and make it your own... as long as you understand the basics, variations are endless... I so appreciate all your hard work... come visit when you can...

The InTolerant Chef ™ said...

I have some wonderful vintage recipe brochures from WW2 that belonged to my Great grandmother. They are good, solid cooking, and you could whip them up out of practically nothing.