Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hard Times, Interesting Ideas.

The government’s call to the women of America to reduce the use of wheat, sugar, and meat during WW I was supported by the publication of numerous pamphlets and booklets advising on how to cope with the restrictions. Community organisations, church groups, and newspaper editors took up cause with great enthusiasm, and added their own cookery books and recipe columns to the expanding pile.

Many of the recipes, it must be said, are not particularly innovative or exciting. Most are simple substitutions of oat, barley, soy or other flours for wheat, and syrup, molasses or honey for sugar in familiar, everyday recipes. The average American male probably found the substitution of cheese, eggs, and beans for beef and pork a slightly greater challenge to patriotic sentiment, but given that the restrictions were voluntary, not expected every day, and not too harsh, the whole experience cannot have been too painful.

I suspect that for some women - at least, the ones who liked cooking – the exercise might well have provided an interesting challenge.  Some of the recipes that appear in wartime cookery books show a very creative edge indeed, with some interesting combinations of ingredients. Necessity, after all, is the Mother of Invention.

I give you a random selection from Two hundred and seventy-five war-time recipes (1918)

Cheese Gingerbread.
1 c molasses
⅓ c cheese cut in small pieces
½ c water
2 c barley flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp soda
½ tsp ginger
Heat molasses and cheese in a double boiler. When cheese is melted remove from fire. Add other ingredients. Bake 15 minutes in muffin tins.

Peanut Butter and Spaghetti.
3 c hot boiled spaghetti
¾ c breadcrumbs
¾ c peanut butter
1 ½ c milk
Mix and fill baking dish, cover with crumbs and brown. Serve with tomato sauce. Very the milk according to the dryness of the crumbs. Season.   

Bean and Turnip Puffs.
1 medium yellow turnip, cook and mash, add
1 c. cooked lima beans
1 egg
1 tsp salt
¼ c. double milk sauce
2 tbsp fat
Bake in greased cups.

1 comment:

Ferdzy said...

Gad. When I think what the southeast Asians do with peanuts and pasta, I could just cry.