There is no doubt that coffee-rationing took an emotional toll of the American populace during World War II, just as tea-rationing did for the people of Britain. The lifting of coffee rationing in the USA was a boon to newspaper columnists as well as consumers, and some rose to the occasion by suggesting ways to celebrate the return of the country’s favourite beverage. The following article from the Troy Record (Troy, New York) of September 3, 1943 gave some ideas on how to host a celebratory Coffee Party, and even included some recipes which used coffee as an ingredient.
(As a personal aside: those who know and love me will no doubt smile at the reference to drinking from a giant cup – even though mine is filled with tea.)
Celebrate Coffee's Return With Party in Its Honor.
Everybody’s celebrating the elimination of coffee rationing. Most people have taken out the biggest coffee pots they own, and are brewing coffee to the full capacity of them. Others are replacing demi-tasses with the old “mother-in-law” cups – those hug, oversize coffee cups whose name originated from the idea that if a disagreeable mother-in-law was provided with a large enough cup of coffee she’d be too busy drinking it to do much talking during breakfast!
But how about holding a very special celebration of the return of coffee? Have a novel Coffee Party. One of the saddest things about rationing was that you weren’t able to give your guests all the coffee they wanted to drink. What better way of marking the increased supply than inviting some friends to partake of the bounty? Everybody needs relaxation these days, to compensate for long, hard hours spent in the line of duty – whether that “line” is an assembly line or just the clothes line where you’re hanging up more home-washed clothes than ever before!
Coffee Guest of Honor.
Prepare for your party by getting some of the “props” in order. Most fun, of course, during these hot afternoons and evenings, is an outdoor affair. Set up a long table in your backyard, on the lawn, or on the porch. Take out and dust off your largest coffee service and put it in the “guest of honor” spot right in the center of the table.
Then set your table for self-service. Hot or cold, coffee takes top honors in popularity … so be prepared to serve it either way. A large bowl of coffee ice cubes and tall glasses, granulated sugar and cream at one side of the coffee service will take care of requests for iced coffee. Draw the freshly-made, hot coffee from the urn and pour it right over the ice cubes. To make coffee ice cubes, freeze freshly-made coffee in the ice tray in your refrigerator. The, when the hot coffee is poured over the cubes at the time of serving, the drink is not diluted by melting ice. And what a beverage that iced coffee is! Cooling, refreshing and stimulating all at the same time!
At the other side of the coffee service, have your china cups for hot coffee. But do coffee the credit that is its due. Make it strong, fresh, and delicious. Your little coffee party will be a success. It’s bound to be, because coffee has a way of encouraging conversation and bringing people closer together. And, besides that, your guests will be so delighted that there’s cause for having such a party in the first place that everybody will be in the mood to have a fine time.
Try Coffee Recipes.
Coffee will almost make a party all by itself these days, but of course you’ll want to serve something with it. to carry out the theme, bring out those favorite coffee-flavored recipes that you’ve been able to use less frequently during rationing. Cakes, cookies, pies – there are unusual recipes using coffee flavoring for all of them.
Here are two other coffee-flavored recipes to add to your collection: Coffee Chiffon Pie and Spiced Coffee Muffins. These recipes have been fully tested, of course, and both will contribute greatly to making your coffee party a very pleasant affair.
Coffee Chiffon Pie.
1 tablespoon of gelatin
1 ¼ cups cold coffee
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks, well beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Soften the gelatin in ¼ cup coffee. Add ¼ cup sugar gradually to beaten egg yolks. Add coffee and salt and blend. Cook over boiling water 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add softened gelatin and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Chill until mixture begins to thicken. Beat remaining sugar gradually into beaten egg whites, and fold into coffee mixture. Pour into 8-inch pie shell made with corn flake or graham cracker pastry, or into a baked pastry shell.
Spiced Coffee Muffins.
1¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon or allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ¼ cups fine dry breadcrumbs
¾ cup cold coffee
⅓ cup molasses
1 egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons melted shortening
Mix and sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Combine crumbs and coffee. Add molasses and beaten egg. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Add shortening. Mix well and bake in small muffin tins in moderately hot oven (425 degrees Fahrenheit) about 25 minutes. Yield: Two dozen small muffins.
Having been weaned on Navy coffee, this is very interesting to me. When I was still at home, we had a fifteen cup pot, which my mother brewed twice a day - for the three of us!
Sugar, of course, was worth its weight in gold, and one of my earliest memories involves watching my grandmother remove specks of dirt from a bowl of sugar. My grandfather worked for the B&O, and one day during the war, as they were unloading bags of sugar, one split open. All the men grabbed lunch boxes, paper sacks, took of their hats, and scooped up the sugar off the ground to take it home.
My grandmother would take out a bowlful of sugar and shake it side to side, to bring the dirt to the top. She would flip it into a small dish, but there was always a bit of sugar with the dirt, so that was what they used to sweeten the coffee, as the dirt sank to the bottom.
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