Thursday, March 31, 2016

Things to do with Apples.

I am spending a couple of days in a lovely little cabin in the bush just outside Stanthorpe, in south-east Queensland. The region is known as the Granite Belt, from its spectacular rocky outcrops, and it is an important region for the growing of cool-climate fruits and vegetables. It is especially well-known for its grapes (and wine) and apples. I intend therefore to feature the apple today, and grapes tomorrow.

I will start with the opinion of the author of yesterday’s featured book Prophylactic Feeding and Therapeutic Feeding (1909) - George Julius Drews.

Fruits are Nature's predigested foods. The APPLE is the king of fruits, because it is the most durably valuable and the most practical although it is not the most luxurious or luscious for the moment. Its special value lies in the fact that its better varieties, under, favorable conditions, can be kept all around the year. It has harmless stimulating properties. It is more nutritious than the potato and it is an excellent brainfood because of its large endowment of phosphorus. Let the children of all ages eat all the apples they crave. Those who eat apples freely are almost protected against all diseases, and especially jaundice, indigestion and torpidity of the liver, because it is very rich in sodium.

Apples were mentioned multiple times in the book, mostly as an ingredient in fruit salad, although there is also the following very minimalist idea:

Sandwiched Apples or Pears
2 or 3 oz. Apple or Pear slices sandwiched with, or only spread with,
1 ½ oz. Lemon Cheese, or Mock Cottage Cheese.

Next, a war-time hint from The Times (London) of December 2, 1940:

Never waste the peel and cores of your apples. Boil them in a little water, and you’ll have a delicious and very health-giving drink.

In the past, local ladies of Stanthorpe could have been expected to have a good apple-cookery repertoire - and it appears that they did.

From the Sunday Mail (Brisbane, Queensland) of 21 February, 1937:

The prize this week has been awarded to MRS. J. WILLMOT, of Dalvecn, Stanthorpe District, for instructions for making apple puffs flavoured with spice. This is a very economical recipe, but a delicious and tasty one.
Spiced Cider Puffs
Sift together ¾ lb self-raising flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a saltspoon each of cinnamon and spice. Peel, but do not core, a large cooking apple, and grate with a coarse grater into the dry ingredients till a paste can be formed (no other liquid is required). Drop in a frying pan in spoonfuls in hot fat; fry until a golden brown. Drain and roll in sugar, to which a little cinnamon has been added.

From the Sunday Mail (Brisbane, Queensland) of 23 February, 1930:

CHUTNEY.— One and a half pound apples, 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, 1 lb. raisins, 1 lb. brown sugar, 1 oz. mustard, 1 oz. pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 quart wine gar. Peel and. quarter the apples, and tomatoes, chop raisins (seedless) finely, boil all together, stirring well, for 2 hours over a slow fire or gas. — Mrs. S. (Stanthorpe).

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Banquet of Unfired Food (1909)

It was impossible to resist going back to our source of a few days ago for some more blog fodder. How could I resist a title like Unfired Foods and Hygienic Dietetics for Prophylactic Feeding and Therapeutic Feeding? As its title suggests, the book promoted raw food as a healthy eating option, and it included a significant number of recipes as well as several menus. But before we get to the details, please enjoy one of the front pages, which contained a mission statement of sorts:

Let it be understood
that this book
is written for those who


and to


those who


It is useless to study


without a foundation
in rational


I give you a suggested banquet menu from the book:

Served in 8 Courses.

Serve only one of the following dishes:
An apple cut into eight sections and arranged to represent a lotus.
An orange with the peeling turned down to represent a flower.
A banana stuffed with a few nuts and peeling replaced.

Serve about one ounce of one of the following foods for nibblers:
Pecan meats, carobs, chufas, dried olives (one-half ounce).

Serve one of the following health drinks:
A lemonade. Orangeade. Fruit frappee. Tamarade. Rhubarbade.
Fresh cider. Fresh grape juice. Near-milk.

Serve according to the convenience of the season:
A fruit salad, an herbal salad, a salad pie or a flower salad.

Serve a small dish of cereal foods as neatly as you can prepare them:
Brownfood. Honey flakes. Evaporated fruit flakes. Pound cake.
Fruit bread.

This course is optional.
Lentil surprise salad (small dish). One ounce of either lemon, cottage cheese, horseradish, cheese, cranberry savory cheese or cereal confections.

Serve a small dish of the following preparations for dessert :
Banana mousse. Berry sauce. Apple sauce. Plain dessert.

Serve the fingerbowl.
When so many courses are served each individual dish must be comparatively small. A menu of six courses is long enough for most festive occasions.

I was baffled by Near-milk and Brownfood. The former is explained, but the latter is not.

Near-milk is prepared like near-buttermilk, with the exception that in place of the rhubarb juice only pure water or orange juice is used. This milk is wholesome, delicious, appetizing, cooling and refreshing. All the infectious diseases, such as consumption, lumpjaw and several fevers which may be transmitted to man in cows milk are barred out of near-milk.

Soak in a cup 3/4 full of water
1 oz. Flax seed and beat it about every ten minutes during the course of one hour with a rotary eggbeater. Before beating the last time fill the cup nearly full with water and then let the seed settle. Meanwhile mix and rub into a cream
1 oz. Pignolias or Peanuts flaked exceedingly fine and
½ oz. Rhubarb Juice. Put this cream into a cup and add
3 ½ oz. Rhubarb Juice and beat it briskly with a rotary beater and then add

3 ½ oz. Flaxseed fluid and beat it again briskly. Now pour it through a large tea strainer, stirring the while, to keep it from clogging. Serve in a glass with a teaspoon or rye straw. At your option you may add a half ounce honey (teaspoonful). 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Feasting like an Irish Chieftain.

It seems like a long time since I discussed an old food word. I have found a beauty for you – and am only too sorry that I did not discover it in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

The word is cosher. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means “to feast; to live at free quarters upon dependants or kinsmen.” The etymological explanation of the word is that it is a “phonetic representation of Irish coisir feast, feasting, entertainment.”
The first known written usage of the word in English, as given by the OED, is:

1634–5   Stat. Ireland 10–11 Chas. I c. 16   If any person or persons..shall cosher, lodge or cesse themselves..upon the inhabitants.

The related word coshering is “Irish English” and can refer simply to ‘feasting.’ The first reference given by the OED is earlier:

1577   R. Stanyhurst Treat. Descr. Irelande viii. f. 28/2, in R. Holinshed Chron. I   Their noble men, and noble mens tenauntes now and then make a set feast, which they call, coshering, whereto flocke all theyr retayners, whom they name followers... In their coshering they sit on straw, they are serued on straw.

Coshering also refers more commonly to a much broader practice than simply feasting:
The practice or custom, claimed as a right by Irish chiefs, of quartering themselves upon their dependants or tenants.

c1571   E. Campion Two Bks. Hist. Ireland (1963) ii. viii. 111   The Irishe impositions of quinio and lyvery,..cocheringes, bonnaght, and sutche like.

This last use is of course identical to the English progress or ‘official journey, tour, or visit made by a monarch, church dignitary, or person of noble birth or high office’ in which the local manors or towns en route were expected to provide all food, accommodation, and other requirements to the important personage and his usually large retinue – and be grateful for the honour.

The noun cosher, not unsurprisingly, came also to suggest someone who takes advantage, or is otherwise unscrupulous. There is a piece of nineteenth century Irish legislation called An Act for the suppressing of Cosherers and Idle Wanderers which I must get hold of, and see what it can add to our story!

Naturally, we must have a potato recipe for an Irish story. I have previously given you Eliza Acton’s ‘genuine Irish receipt’ for boiling potatoes. Today I have for you a recipe for ‘Irish’ potatoes – which from the era and source are so called to distinguish them from sweet potatoes.

Irish Potato Hash.
This is excellent made of equal quantities of Irish potatoes peeled, sliced thin, and put to stew in very little water; when they are half done, add as much cold pickled beef, minced very fine, or cold boiled salt mackerel (a little onion and parsley may be put in with the Irish potatoes if liked): a large tablespoonful of butter; pepper and salt to taste. Serve hot. This should be just moist. Mash the potatoes and mix them well with the meat.

Mrs. Hill's Southern Practical Cookery and Receipt Book (1872)

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Ancient Easter Tradition of Sugar-Cupping.

I have discovered another ancient English Easter food custom that I want to share with you today. It seems to be localized to a small area in Derbyshire, and according to the following article, was already in decline in the first few decades of the nineteenth century.

Sugar Cupping
In the Peak of Derbyshire.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Tideswell, Derbyshire, March 31, 1826.

Sir,—The pleasure and instruction I have derived from the perusal of your interesting miscellany, induce me to offer to your notice a custom in this neighbourhood denominated Sugar-cupping, which, like similar remnants of the "olden time," is gradually running into disuse.
Last Sunday, being Easter-Day, I walked to the "Dropping Tor," the rendezvous of the "sugar-cuppers," but, owing to the extreme inclemency of the weather, no one was there, nor was it, I believe, once visited during the day. From frequent inquiry of the oldest persons in the neighbourhood, I can learn nothing but that, on Easter Sunday, they were used, when children, to go to the "Dropping Tor," with a cup in one pocket and a quarter of a pound of sugar in the other, and having caught in their cups as much water as was desired from the droppings of the spring, they dissolved the sugar in it, and drank it. The natural consequences resulting from the congregation of a quantity of "young men and maidens" followed, and they returned home, I was anxious to discover some jargon repeated by the youthful pilgrims, as an invocation to the saint of the spring, or otherwise; but I could not collect any thing of the kind. I conjecture this custom to be peculiar to this part. If yon, or any of your cop. respondents, can furnish more satisfactory information respecting it, some of your readers will not regret I have troubled you with the hint.
With respect, I am,
Your obedient servant,
A Peakril.

How fascinating is that! Again, as with the Good Friday tradition of North-West England which was the feature of my story on that day, it seems likely that the tradition has very ancient roots, even if the profligate use of sugar itself must have been relatively recent, given that sugar remained expensive in Britain until the eighteenth century.

The recipe for the day is from the sugar-cupping county, and seems like a fine way to use your quota of sugar:

Derby or Short Cakes.
Rub in with the hand one pound of Butter into two pounds of sifted Flour:- put one pound of Currants, one pound of good moist sugar, and one egg; mix all together with half a pint of milk, - roll it out thin, and cut them into round Cakes with a Cutter;- lay them on a clean Baking-Plate, and put them into a middling-heated oven for about five minutes.

Cook’s Oracle, William Kitchiner (1823)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fig-Sue for Good Friday.

I came across a charming – but sadly, now defunct – Good Friday food tradition recently, and wanted to share it with you today.

My source was The Remains of John Briggs (1825), in the chapter Westmoreland As It Was.

It would formerly have been counted extremely profane, not to have dined, or at least supped upon, fig-sue, on Good Friday. This was made of ale, figs, and wheat bread. It may not be amiss to note that this fig-sue is a perfect cure for coughs and colds, if taken at bedtime.

I then came across this little snippet, which reveals a Scottish connection:

Customs of Scotland: ‘Fig-one’ is a mixture consisting of ale, sliced figs, bread, and nutmeg for seasoning: boiled together, and eaten hot like soup. The custom of eating this on Good Friday is still prevalent in North Lancashire, but the mixture is there known as ‘fig-sue,’ the origin of which term I am unable to make out. The dish is a very palatable one.
                        W.P.W. (Notes and Queries, 1864)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known written reference to the name is to be found in 1851 in a glossary of Cumberland (a historic county of England, now part of Cumbria) and the word is a corruption of ‘fig soup.’

The association of the fig with Easter in the North-West England is further reinforced by the fact that Palm Sunday in Lancashire used to be also called ‘Fig Sunday,’ and Fig Pie was the traditional food. I would love to know a little more about this particular association. I suspect it has very ancient roots.

In the seventeenth century, figs were a feature of the Good Friday dinner at Brazen-nose [now Brasenose] College in Oxford, England, if we are to believe the following:

It was formerly the custom, at Brazen-nose College, for the scholars to ave almonds, raisins, and figs, for dinner on Good Friday, as appears by a receipt of thirty shillings, paid by the butler of the college, for ‘eleven pounds of almonds, thirty-five pounds of raisins, and thirteen pounds of figs, serv’d into Brazen-nose College, Mar. 28th, 1662. – Pointer’s Oxon. Acad. P.71
Times Telescope (1826)

That is all I have for you at present, on figs at Easter, but I will certainly put the topic on my list of thing to look into further.

As the recipe for the day, I have a most strange and unappetizing idea from a book with the rather ominous, but intriguing, title of Unfired Foods and Hygienic Dietetics for Prophylactic Feeding and Therapeutic Feeding (1909) by George Julius Drews.

Cream of Fig Soup
1 oz. Dried Figs, mince and soak them 4 to 6 hours in
2 oz. Tepid Water. Then add to this
1 oz. Pignolias or Peanuts flaked
¼ Teaspoon Fennel or Anise seed ground (optional) and

4 oz. Tepid Water, not scalding. Beat and serve in a bowl heated in boiling water.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Essence of All Easter Dinner Menus (1898): Part III.

Today we finally discover the components of the composite Easter Dinner Menu discussed in the posts of the previous two days. As you will remember, it is a construct of the work of the editors of The Hotel Monthly (Vol. 6; Chicago in 1898), based on their analysis of thirty-seven hotel menus from across several states.

Continuing from where we left off yesterday:

When we started to build a menu based on the figures above given, we found, as we progressed, that it compared very closely with that of the Kimball House production, which latter we produce herewith as THE COMPOSITE—the current idea of what constitutes a consistent American menu for a festival dinner.

Blue points
Olives             Salted walnuts          Radishes
Crème Victoria         Consomme Renaissance
Bouchees a l'Andalouse
Pompano a la Chambord
Roast loin of beef, Perigordine
Browned new potatoes        Cauliflower
Spring lamb, mint sauce
Asparagus                  New peas
Sweetbreads a la Montebello
Croustade of fresh mushrooms
Roast squab a la Rouennaise
Lettuce and tomato
Strawberry shortcake
Creme Victoria
Macaroon Charlotte Russe             Rhubarb pie
Assorted cake
Neapolitan     Nuts
Camembert               Roquefort

From the classic American cookery text of the time, The Epicurean, by Charles Ranhofer, published in New York in 1894, I give you:

Sweetbreads à la Montebello
(Ris de Veau à la Montebello).
Blanch until firm to the touch some medium-sized sweetbreads that have been in soak for a few hours, then drain, refresh and pare by suppressing all the sinews and fat. Lay them in a sautoir lined with slices of fat pork, sliced onions and carrots and a bunch of parsley, moisten to half their height with beef-stock (No. 194a), let this liquid fall to a glaze and then remoisten; cover with a buttered paper and finish cooking in a slack oven. After they are done, pare and set them in oval tin rings, two and a half by five-eighths of an inch in diameter and half an inch high; let them cool off in these under the pressure of a weight. Cut up the parings into small three-sixteenths inch dice; also some mushrooms and truffles; fry a chopped shallot in butter, add to it the mushrooms, the truffles and the sweetbreads, also a little velouté (No. 415), then season; when this preparation is cold, use it to cover one side of the sweetbreads, having it well rounded on the top, cover over with a layer of cream forcemeat (No. 75), and dredge the surface with finely chopped red tongue; place the sweetbreads on a buttered baking pan, pour melted butter over and the sweetbreads in a slack oven for twenty minutes; serve a Montebello sauce (No. 502) separately.

Sauce à la Montebello
(Sauce à la Montebello).

Prepare one pint of thick bearnaise sauce (No. 433), and incorporate into it three gills of well reduced tomato sauce (No. 549), then strain the whole through a very fine sieve, and dilute it with two gills of champagne.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Essence of All Easter Dinner Menus (1898): Part II.

The Essence of All Easter Dinner Menus (1898): Part II.

Today I continue the story I began yesterday, which was an article in The Hotel Monthly (Vol. 6; Chicago in 1898).  You will remember that the editors of that journal took it upon themselves to analyse the components of the Easter dinner menus of thirty seven hotel menus from across several states. Two menus were given in their entirety in the article (the shortest and the longest) and I repeated them in my post.

From where we left off yesterday ……..

Each of these thirty-seven bills of fare was dissected and the component parts of all of them assorted; thus each particular kind of food was grouped, affording a means of ascertaining, by count, its popularity or relative importance as compared with other foods listed on the different cards. From ninety-five to a hundred per cent., it was discovered, listed beef, a punch or ice of some kind, ice cream, fruits, cheese and coffee, indicating that these articles are practically indispensable to the complete menu, so far as the general idea of the bill of fare architects is concerned, A surprising feature is the small number of articles in general use, scarcely a bakers dozen of any one kind of food being drawn upon more than twenty times in the aggregate.
In the following list showing results obtained, the figures accompanying each article signify in how many of the thirty-seven bills of fare it appears:

SHELLFISH - Oysters 20; clams 7.
RELISHES - Beginning with the most popular and grading downward; olives, radishes, tomatoes, salted almonds, pecans, peanuts, lettuce, cheese straws, cucumbers, young onions, pimolas, celery, stuffed mangoes, caviar, gherkins.
SOUPS - Consommes 29; creams 11, sea turtle 1o; miscellaneous kinds 11.
FISH - Shad 10; pompano 7; trout 5; miscellaneous 17.
MEATS - Beef 35: lamb 31; ham 6; miscellaneous meats such as suckling pig, calves head, tongue, goose, gosling, etc., not more than one or two of a kind.
POULTRY- Chicken (including capon) 19: squab (including pigeon) 9; turkey 6; domestic duck 3.
ENTREES - Sweetbreads 15; mushrooms 8. Other entrees of frogs, terrapin, lobster, shrimps, soft shell crabs, oysters, shad roes, etc., ranging from 8 downwards.
SWEET ENTREES - On a majority of the cards.
VEGETABLES - Potatoes 37. Other vegetables from greater to less degree in about this order: asparagus, peas, beans, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, beets, spinach, oysterplant, etc.
GAME - Wild duck 13; snipe 3: pheasant 2; chicken, plover, quail, grouse each mentioned only once.
SALADS - Dressed lettuce 13; lettuce and tomato 9; shrimp 4; chicken 4: Russian 3; lobster 2, tomato 2 and one each only of Jardiniere, Easter, cucumber, Dumas, Brussells sprouts, renaissance, sweetbread, watercress, celery and truffle mayonnaise.
PASTRY—Puddings 16.
Pies—Rhubarb 14; lemon 8; cherry 5; apple 5, orange 5; apricot 4; pineapple 2; pumpkin, vanilla, mince, peach, cocoanut.—A dozen cards with no pie.
Strawberry short cake 17.
Ice cream and cake 36; coffee 37; fruit 37.
CHEESE—Roquefort 17; American 15; Edam 1o; cream 4; Neufchatel 3; camembert 2; Swiss 2; brie 2; gorgonzola, imperial, sage, stilton, Old
[Scattered through the different cards were a number of dishes with unintelligible fancy names, whose composition can only be guessed at, and for that reason are not considered in this presentation.]

This shows a preference for
Oysters, consommes, cream soups, turtle soups, shad, pompano, beef, lamb, chicken, squab, sweetbreads, mushrooms, wild duck, lettuce and tomato salad, rhubarb pie, strawberry shortcake, Roquefort and American cheese.

While looking through the different cards with a critical eye (before dissecting them) we had set aside that of the Kimball-House at Davenport, Iowa, as, in our opinion, a model. When we started to build a menu based on the figures above given, we found, as we progressed, that it compared very closely with that of the Kimball House production, which latter we produce herewith as THE COMPOSITE—the current idea of what constitutes a consistent American menu for a festival dinner.

I confess to not having had the slightest idea what a pimola was when I read this article. It must be an American term. A pimola is apparently simply an olive stuffed with pimento (sweet red pepper.)

Here are the instructions for some rather more substantial stuffed olives:

Stuffed Olives for Garnish.
Take 1 lb. of large and round olives; remove the stones with a cutter, and blanch for three minutes in boiling water. Drain, and fill the hollow in each olive with some Chicken Forcemeat, mixed with some d’Uxelles.
The Royal Cookery Book, by Jules Gouffe (1869)

To be continued ….

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Essence of All Easter Dinner Menus (1898): Part I.

The Essence of All Easter Dinner Menus (1898): Part I.

An edition of The Hotel Monthly (Vol. 6) which was published in Chicago in 1898 included a most interesting analysis of menu items at Easter dinners provided by hotels across the country. From this the editors developed a ‘composite’ menu of what a modern American hotel should be expected to provide on the day. I thought it was a very intriguing idea, and wanted to share it with you. The article is long, and I propose to spread it over my posts for the next three days.

Thirty-seven Easter Dinner Bills of Fare Boiled Down into One,
Which is the Essence of All.

Most of us have seen what is called a composite photograph, wherein the images of several faces are combined into one, forming a type of the whole.
While looking through the Easter bills of fare that came to our desk the past month, it occurred to us that it would be quite interesting if, by any means, we could evolve a composite of them, and thereby present to HOTEL MONTHLY readers the consensus of opinion as to what a modern American plan holiday bill of fare should be.
So we set to work to do this. We received in all thirty-seven dinner bills of fare from the following hotels: [list omitted]
The number of articles listed averaged about thirty-eight to the menu. The smallest bill was this one from the Carroll at Vicksburg:

Anchovies sur canape
Consomme Princesse          Cream of cauliflower
Salted almonds         Sliced cucumbers
Broiled pompano, maitre d'hotel
Potatoes Sarah
Prime cut of beef                  Spring lamb, mint sauce
New potatoes            Green peas
Supreme of chicken with truffles
New asparagus
Frogs' legs, d'Uxelles
Stuffed tomatoes
Orange sherbet
Roast pheasant, bread sauce
Guava jelly
Lettuce, French dressing

Cherry tarts                Charlotte russe
Strawberry short cake         Lemon meringue pie
Fancy cakes               Vanilla ice cream
American and Roquefort cheese               Crackers

The largest was this one from the Russell House of Detroit:

Canape, Weddington
Blue points    Little neck clams
Consomme, Dubarry                       Clear sea turtle, Royale
Cheese sticks                         Salted almonds
Radishes        Sliced tomatoes        Lettuce           Young onions            Pimolas
Fresh mushrooms Bordelaise
Broiled lobster, ravigotte                Carolina roe shad, Joinville
Cucumbers                Potatoes, surprise
Boston capon, Perigord
New asparagus, Mousseline                       Haricot flageolets
Roast prime beef, demi glace
Mashed potatoes
Roast duckling, farcie, with baked Russets
Bermuda potatoes                Artichokes, Hollandaise
Spring lamb, mint sauce
Green peas
Sweetbreads, pique, Montebello
Supreme of chicken a la Renaissance
Compote of fruit, Macedoine
Philadelphia squab, au Cresson
Sweet potatoes         Corn fritters
Fresh shrimps, mayonnaise           Salade, a la Russe
Boned turkey, en Bellevue
Steamed fig pudding, brandy sauce
Cherry pie                 Vanilla cream pie
Charlotte russe                     Champagne jelly
Ice cream in form                 Assorted cake
Nuts and raisins
Toasted crackers
As the recipe for the day, I would love to have given you Potatoes Sarah, but the dish has eluded me so far. Instead, please enjoy Cream of Cauliflower Soup, from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, published in 1896.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup.
4 cups hot White Stock II. or III.               ½ bay leaf
1 cauliflower                                                  ¼ cup flour
¼ cup butter.                                               2 cups milk
1 slice onion                                                  salt
1 stalk celery, cut in inch pieces                 pepper
Soak cauliflower, head down, one hour in cold water to cover; cook in boiling salted water twenty minutes. Reserve one-half flowerets, and rub remaining cauliflower through sieve. Cook onion, celery, and bay leaf in butter five minutes. Remove bay leaf, then add flour, and stir into hot stock; add cauliflower and milk. Season with salt and pepper; then strain, add flowerets, and reheat.

[White Soup Stock II is a made with a veal bone, White Stock III is “The water I which a fowl or chicken is cooked makes White Stock.”]

Second installment of the story tomorrow – the analysis of the menus!

Monday, March 21, 2016

What To Do with Leftover Corned Beef.

What To Do with Leftover Corned Beef.

I think it is entirely possible that some of you may have corned beef leftover from St. Patrick’s Day lurking in your fridge. I thought some ideas for using it up might be useful, and it seemed to me that an interesting time period and region to find such hints would be World War II in Britain. Rationing was in force during the war and for many years afterwards and although the exact rules changed regularly, meat was one of the chief items controlled over that period. The Food Facts leaflets put out every week by the wartime Ministry of Food were an amazing source of ideas for the economical use of all foods, and I was confident that corned meat would feature regularly. I was not wrong. Here are my selections from the leaflets:

From Food Facts No. 26, in January 1941:

Potato and Corned Beef Pancake.
When you are offered corned beef instead of your usual cut of meat, do you know how to make it into a substantial dish? The great point is to keep it moist and utilize its fat to the best advantage. Here is a suggestion from America.
Mix lightly one breakfastcupful of chopped corned beef with the same quantity of diced cooked potatoes, and season with pepper and salt. Pour into a pan ¾ to 1 gill milk or household stock and a teaspoonful or so of clarified fat or dripping. When warmed, turn in the meat and potatoes, spreading them evenly. Flick another two tablespoonfuls of fat over the top. Place a plate over the pan and allow the pancake to cook slowly for about half an hour. A thick delicious crust will form on the bottom. Fold the pancake across and serve it up on a hot dish with sprouts or any other cooked green vegetable.

From Food Facts No. 76 of December, 1941:
Haricot Beef.
Soak ½ lb. small haricot beans for 24 hours, then cook for 1 hour. Slice 1 lb. corned beef and shred one small cabbage. Put the beans, meat, cabbage and a chopped leek, if possible, in layers in a fire-proof dish, with a few peppercorns and a little salt sprinkled between. Mix one tablespoonful mustard and 1 tablespoon gravy thickening, with ½ pint vegetable stock, and add to the dish.
Cover closely and cook in a slow oven for about 45 minutes.

From Food Facts No. 92:

Corned Beef Mould.
Time: Preparation 15 minutes.
Ingredients: 2 to 4 oz. corned beef, 4 oz. soaked bread, 6 oz. mashed carrot, mock horseradish (4 tablespoonfuls grated swedes, 1 ½ teaspoonfuls mustard, 1 ½ tablespoonfuls vinegar), chopped parsley, pepper and salt.
Quantity: for 4 people.
Method: Mix the swede, mustard, vinegar together, and add the other ingredients. Press into basin and leave with plate and weight on top for about 4 hours. Turn out, cut into slices, and serve with potato salad and watercress.

In early June 1945, the Ministry of Food announced that canned corned meat imported (from America) to augment meat supplies, was to be more expensive. The Times reported the news in its edition of June 3:

The retail price of imported canned corned met is to go up to 1s.8d. and the wholesale price to 1s. 3 ½ d. a pound. From June 10 butchers will receive 1-7th of their ration supplies in the form of corned meat. The Ministry of Food states that customers should not be compelled to take more than 1-7th of their ration in corned meat, averaged over a reasonable period. Those who wish to take more may do so.

The Ministry of Food’s Food Facts No. 259, published later that same month, made corned beef a feature, as would have been expected.

Making the most of Corned Beef.
That “cut” off the joint isn’t all loss by a long way. You get some Corned Beef instead on each Ration Book – and it’s all good solid nourishment. Many people like the touch of variety Corned Beef gives to the family’s food.
Serve it with salad as a trouble-saving and refreshing hot weather meal. And try one of these appetizing suggestions for hot dishes, which make a little Corned Beef go a long way.
Beef Charlotte (Enough for 4)
Ingredients: 4 oz. corned beef, 4 oz. breadcrumbs, ½ lb. tomatoes, 1 teaspoonful Worcester sauce, 1 level teaspoonful salt, ½ level teaspoonful pepper.
Method: Mix the breadcrumbs and seasoning well together, roughly chop the tomatoes, saving some nice pieces for the top. Flake the meat. Arrange the ingredients in layers in a fireproof dish, beginning with the crumbs, then add tomato, then the meat, and ending with a layer of crumbs garnished with slices of tomato. Sprinkle a few shreds of margarine over the top, and bake the charlotte in a moderate oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot with gravy and vegetables.
Corned Pasties (Enough for 4)
Ingredients: 9 [?] oz. shortcrust pastry, 4 oz. cooked diced mixed vegetables, 4 oz. corned beef, diced, chopped parsley, seasoning.

Method: Make the pastry and cut into four large rounds. Mix together the other ingredients and place some in the centre of each pasty round. Fold over, damp the edges and press together. Bake in a hot oven about 20 minutes.