Yesterday I gave you a story about the rural Meat Pie Scheme in wartime Britain, and I included several pre-war pie recipes of great rich meatiness. The meat-pie reality during the war was of course quite different because of the strict rationing regulations in force. The Ministry of Food was in charge of determining and implementing rationing, and went to great lengths to assist the housewife in managing within the system. To this end, they produced weekly Food Facts leaflets containing hints and recipes, and I have used many of these in this blog over the years. From time to time they also published display advertisements to promote specific foods or tackle the more controversial regulations. These featured fictional individuals who gave their opinions or pleaded their case on these issues, such as the plump and jolly ‘Mrs. Merry.’ Here she is on the topic of American canned pork meat, in the Times of 3rd March, 1942:
‘Take my case’
says Mrs. Merry
“My old man will have his joke about my fairy figure”, says Mrs. Merry. “But what chance do I have of getting my weight down when there’s food like this for the asking! American pork-sausage meat is the best bargain I ever tasted. For only 12 points you get this lovely great tin of it – a pound and a half of pure pork, in its own fat and gravy. They can call it sausage meat if they like, but its all pork, every bit of it, and the way I use it is in pies and pasties. In every tin you get some beautiful clean pork fat, separate from the pork-meat, and wonderful for making the pastry. It’s a real blessing, this pork-sausage meat and me and Merry would like to say thank you to someone.”
è That’s really nice of you, Mrs. Merry. Of course you’re right – and we are all of us grateful to our American allies for sparing us this pork meat, as well as to the brave men who bring it to us over the ocean, You haven’t told us just how you fancy your pork pie or your pasty, but you’ll be doing wonders if you beat these two recipes!
Fillets of Pork. Leek Sauce.
Flake ½ lb. pork-sausage meat (with the outside fat removed), then mix in ½ lb. mashed potato and one cupful crisp breadcrumbs. Season well with pepper and salt adding a pinch of sage if liked. Then bind with a thick sauce made from the meat juices taken from the can and made up to 1 teacup measure with a little vegetable stock and 1 tablespoon flour plus a little of the pork fat from the tin.
Divide into nine or ten sections, shape into finger rolls, coat in more crumbs, and fry or bake till heated through and crisp-coated, with a light greasing of pork fat for the frying pan or baking-tin.
These are delicious by themselves, but if you have a leek or leek stock to spare, serve it with a leek sauce made with ½ pint of cooking milk and leek stock, 1 oz. flour, and ½ oz. fat, with good seasoning, 2 small leeks, cut small and cut in a very little water, provide the flavour.
Small pork pies, or homely pasties, are quickly made and fuel-saving too. Remember to use the pure fat from the can of sausage for making the pastry, and if they are to serve as substantial meals for packet-lunch or fire-watch, see that the filling really has the necessary nourishment. Here is a substantial one to use:- Chop finely or mince 1 leek, or leek green. Place these in a saucepan with ½ teaspoon hot fat from can to cook slowly for ten minutes. Then add grated carrot, six ounces of forked-up pork sausage (fat removed), ½ teacup of breadcrumbs and 1 dessertspoon of gravy powder, with enough vegetable liquor or water to loosen. Mix well, then cook slowly, stirring to keep clear of the pan, for ten more minutes. Add cook seasonings of salt and pepper, then cool down for use in pasties (enough for six hearty ones and you’ve still got half your can of sausage meat for tomorrow).