In October 1947, Australia was asked to launch a food-growing scheme to help post-war Britain. Britain was to take all surplus grain, dairy products, nuts, and other crops, once the logistics of transport and storage were worked out. In return, Britain would pay by increased exports.
Australians were already familiar with the idea of conserving food for the ‘homeland’ because ‘Food for Britain’ had been the catch-cry of the austerity campaign during the war years themselves. According to one of the Australian government posters - ‘Food for Britain and Meat Rationing go Hand in Hand.’ Naturally therefore, writers of cooking columns for housewives stepped up to the challenge and provided recipes for meatless meals and meals using ‘food we persist in calling “offal.”’
‘Mrs. Lancaster’s Cookery Book’ column in The Sydney Morning Herald of 1 July 1947 focussed on ‘Meat without Coupons.’
The eponymous Mrs. Lancaster started out by noting:
Meat dishes with limited coupons are still a problem, especially if you’re Food-for-Britain conscious. It’s a great help to know the value of food we persist in calling “offal.” Tripe, liver, hearts, brains, and kidneys can be used in dozens of interesting ways
She then went on to give a number of recipes for offal (or variety meat, if you prefer.) Here are my choices from the article:
Braised Mock Duck.
You need: One ox heart or four sheep’s hearts; 4 cups stock or water; 3 or 4 carrots; 2 onions; 2 bay leaves; 2 sage leaves; 3 cloves; 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar; 1 teaspoon sugar; salt and pepper to taste; 8 pickled onions; 1 teaspoon soy sauce; 2 tablespoons dripping or lard.
Remove tubes from heart and cut into neat squares. Wash well in warm salted water to remove all traces of blood. Wipe dry and roll in a little flour, then fry in the dripping until brown. Chop the 2 onions and fry these after the heart. Place remaining ingredients into a pan except pickled onions and carrots. Cover with stock and simmer about 1 ½ hours or until almost tender. Add pickled onions and diced carrots, and cook until both are tender. If sauce is too thin, thicken with a little cornflour.
Casserole Sheep’s Tongues.
You need: Eight sheep’s tongues; 1 bay leaf; 1 small onion; ½ cup brown sugar; 1 teaspoon dry mustard; 2 tablespoons vinegar; ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 ½ cups water; 2 tablespoons seeded raisins; 1 tablespoon plain flour.
Cook tongues with bay leaf and onion until tender, adding salt to fresh tongues. Remove skin and split in two, discarding the roots. Put in fireproof dish. Mix flour, mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice into a paste, and add water. Stir over gas until thick. Add sugar and grated rind, and simmer a few minutes. Add raisins, cover tongues, and cook in moderate oven ½ hour.
You need: One set brains per person; 1 tablespoon cooked diced carrots; ¾ cup cooked peas; 1 dessertspoon diced and fried bacon; 1 teaspoon chopped parse; 1 tablespoon white sauce.
Wash brains and soak in cold water to which is added a little vinegar. Remove membrane, and wash well. Cover with cold water, add a sage leaf and a slice of onion, and simmer until cooked. Drain well. Chop into neat pieces and add to sauce with remaining ingredients. Heat thoroughly and serve on buttered toast as a luncheon dish.
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