The British wartime Ministry of Food published an enormous volume of advice directed at the nation’s housewives who were forced to cope with rationing of many basic foods. Newspapers repeated much of this advice, and also sought ideas from readers which then appeared scattered, or in columns, throughout their pages. The Times of London was no exception, and in 1942 printed a series of single recipes - some of them sourced from Ministry of Food publications, most unacknowledged. A couple of these caught my eye because they featured potatoes, and another because it is quite unusual.
Potato Cheese Pancake.
1 ½ lb. of potatoes; 4 oz. cheese; one tablespoonful of margarine; salt and pepper. Boil the potatoes in their skins, drain and mash them. Melt the margarine in a frying pan, mash the potatoes straight into the fat, then make a thick layer of the cheese on top. Cook over a very low heat to brown the bottom of the pancake, then put underneath the grill to melt the cheese and crisp it into a crust. Serve with a green salad.
War-Time Recipe Number 10, published in The Times on 24 July 1942.
Potato Madeira Cake (or Pudding.)
4-5 oz. raw potatoes, 8 oz. flour, one teaspoon baking powder, two tablespoons sugar (or one of sugar and one of golden syrup), 1 ½ oz. margarine or cooking fat, one level tablespoon household milk used dry, one teaspoon vanilla or almond flavouring, and one teaspoon powdered ginger.
Rub the fat into the flour and baking powder. Grate the raw potatoes and mix at once with the sugar, or sugar and syrup, the milk powder, and the flavourings. Add to the flour and use enough cold water to mix to a creamy dough. Put into a well-grease cake tin and bake in a moderate oven for 1 ½ hours. Split and spread with plum jam if desired.
By putting the same mixture into a greased basin and steaming for 1¼ hour, a light and spongy pudding is obtained which can be served with stewed plums.
War-Time Recipe Number 14, published in The Times on 5th September 1942
The following recipe is quite unlike any others I have seen for the time, and I will be interested to hear your comments. I guess it would be quite difficult to reproduce today, in the absence of cans of sausage meat. The air-travel connection is interesting too.
Spiced Meat Round.
A good travelling alternative to a sandwich, the spiced meat round served to passengers in British Overseas Aircraft is easy to make and also good coupon value. Put the contents of a tin of pork sausage meat into a basin, first removing the jelly. Mix the meat and fat thoroughly together, add a pinch of herbs, if liked. Add 1 lb. self-raising flour and rub into the meat gently with the tips of the fingers. Add cold water to the jelly to make up to 7 oz. with a good pinch of salt. Mix this thoroughly into the paste. Roll out just over ¼ inch thick, cut into 4in. rounds, glaze with processed egg dissolved in water, bake in a hot oven. Split when cold and fill with sliced cucumber, tomato, raw cabbage, or any filling, or eat plain. This is sufficient for 20 portions.
War-Time Recipe Number 11, published in The Times of 14 August, 1942