• First Monday Menu: Stretched Hamburgers

    This menu is adapted from a menu in the August 1943 Woman’s Day magazine. It was in an article called “Low Point–Low Cost Chopped Meat Recipes” that included several menus with themes like “Summer Sunday Dinner”, “Canning Day Dinner”, and … Continue reading

  • Chocolate Mallow Pie

    I’m not sure what it is about this summer, but we are eating a bunch of marshmallows. We have been enjoying s’mores several times a week, last week we tried the ice recipe with marshmallows in it, and I didn’t … Continue reading

  • Sand Plum Jelly

    Sand plums grow wild on our ranch, and almost every year, we make wild plum jelly. Some years we have a large plum harvest, and other years we barely have enough to can a few jars. The weather plays a … Continue reading

  • First Monday Menu: July 4 Porch Supper

    Happy Independence Day! Here is a menu from the 1941 edition of The New American Cook Book. This will be my First Monday Menu for the month, just a couple days early. Note: We chose to make the potatoes and … Continue reading

  • Chiffonade Dressing

    I wanted to make something a little different for today’s post. I found a salad dressing recipe that I wanted to try, and it actually fit perfectly with the meal we were having. It was dark by the time we … Continue reading

  • Mexican Tamale Pie

    Today’s recipe is from the 1939 edition of Flavor’s the Thing by Florence La Ganke (Harris). This cookbook has a nice selection of recipes from around the world. The author included interesting facts about food in different countries and a … Continue reading

  • Escalloped Potatoes Hungarian Style

    Today’s recipe is from the 1942 edition of Short Cuts and Left-Overs by Hannah W. Schloss. Schloss felt that there had been enough attention on recipe books and household hints, but not enough on using leftovers in an easy and … Continue reading

  • Drop Sugar Cookies

    Monday I posted a cream sponge cake recipe from Honor Among Cooks, a 1941 cookbook composed of recipes collected by Mary Spahr. The recipe could also be used to make drop sugar cookies. We made a couple of additional adjustments … Continue reading

  • Cream Sponge Cake

    Today’s recipe is from the 1941 edition of Honor Among Cooks by Mary Spahr. The proceeds from the book were given to The American Friends Service Committee for Refugee Children. Spahr’s 1938 first edition booklet was a “Kitchen File” with … Continue reading

  • Victory Garden Plan

    Time to plant your Victory Garden? Here is a WWII era guide to help you on your way. Here are some tips for later this summer. Here is a closer look: Happy Victory Gardening!

First Monday Menu: Stretched Hamburgers

This menu is adapted from a menu in the August 1943 Woman’s Day magazine. It was in an article called “Low Point–Low Cost Chopped Meat Recipes” that included several menus with themes like “Summer Sunday Dinner”, “Canning Day Dinner”, and “Victory Garden Dinner” to help the home front housewife plan ahead. This hamburger recipe came from the “Supper on the Back Porch” menu. It was submitted to the magazine by Miss Sara Best of Chadbourne, North Carolina.

Stretched Hamburgers

  • 2 tbsp fat
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c crumbled dry bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 pound chopped meat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c left-over mashed potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley

Melt 1 tbsp fat in saucepan. Add flour. Add the milk slowly and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add bread. Cool slightly. Add other ingredients and mix well. Chill for 30 minutes. Shape into 8 patties, brown on both sides in remaining fat.

Results

We rounded out the meal with a tossed salad and cantaloupe. We put the patties on toasted buns. Everyone enjoyed the stretched burgers. I ate mine without any toppings to see how it tasted on its own, but other people who tried them added toppings like mayo, mustard, tomatoes, and so forth. They were very filling and really tasty. They didn’t taste exactly like a regular hamburger, but they made a really good sandwich.

The mashed potatoes made the patties fall apart while cooking. I think they still would have been good, but maybe not as filling, without the mashed potatoes. You might consider leaving the mashed potatoes out if you are planning on grilling them outside so you don’t have to worry about the patties falling apart.

The recipe did help stretch the meat. We also made regular hamburger patties for anyone who wanted them. With the same amount of meat, the stretched hamburger recipe made 9 patties and the hamburger alone only made 5. I think we also expect recipes that extend meat or sugar or flour to not taste good, and these stretched hamburgers prove that those recipes can taste just as good as the original versions.

I would definitely make these again. The cantaloupe and salad were perfect complements to the burgers. This time of year the cantaloupe is extra juicy and sweet here. We often buy local cantaloupe and have it with nearly every meal. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see it again here before summer is over.

Let me know if you have a favorite “stretch” recipe. I’d love to try it.

Chocolate Mallow Pie

I’m not sure what it is about this summer, but we are eating a bunch of marshmallows. We have been enjoying s’mores several times a week, last week we tried the ice recipe with marshmallows in it, and I didn’t realize until just now that today’s recipe also has marshmallows in it.

Marshmallows have quite a long history. The first known marshmallows were eaten by the Ancient Egyptians. Over the years they have been used as both a sweet treat and for medicinal purposes. By the early 1900s, they were being sold as candy and used in a variety of recipes. A home front housewife would have used marshmallows frequently in her cooking, especially when making desserts.

This chocolate pie uses marshmallows both in the pie filling mixture and as a decorative topping. The recipe is from the 1941 251 Superb Pies and Pastries cookbook published by the Culinary Arts Institute.

Chocolate Mallow Pie

  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 3/4 lb marshmallows
  • 1 baked pastry shell
  • 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 6 marshmallows, cut into halves

Mix cocoa and water to a smooth paste and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Cool, then add vanilla and salt. Heat milk, and add marshmallows. Fold over and over until marshmallows are about half melted. Remove from heat and continue folding marshmallows until smooth and fluffy. Chill about 15 minutes, then combine with cocoa mixture and chill about 25 minutes longer, stirring twice. Pour chocolate marshmallow mixture into pastry shell and chill until firm. Arrange slices of banana on top of pie in criss-cross pattern and decorate with halves of marshmallows. Makes one 9 inch pie. You can use pineapple strips in place of the bananas.

Results

My daughter and I decided to decorate the pie a little differently than the recipe called for. I wish I would have thought to buy or make whipped cream for it because I think that would have looked nice on top, as well. The pie was very bitter. My husband likes bitter chocolate, but even he thought this pie was too bitter to enjoy. Unless you enjoy your chocolate pie this way, I’d keep looking if you are in the mood for a new chocolate pie recipe.

I hope you are safe and well. See you in August.

Lemon Marshmallow Ice

It’s been so hot here. I wanted to try to find a cold treat to keep us cool in the triple-digit heat. There are many ice recipes, but I had never seen one with marshmallows before. I decided to try it out. This recipe is from the 1941 Montgomery Ward Cold Cooking: It’s Easy cookbook.

Lemon Marshmallow Ice

  • 24 marshmallows
  • 5/8 c water
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp grated lemon peel
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Melt marshmallows with water in a double broiler. Add lemon juice, grated rind, and salt. Let partially freeze. Fold egg whites into mushy fruit mixture. Freeze. Stir again when the mixture is partially frozen. Serves 6.

Results

This didn’t turn out like I expected. There definitely wasn’t enough for 6 modern sized servings. If I make this again, I’ll probably double or triple the recipe. There were at most 4 servings with the recipe as it is.

The consistency was somewhere between melted ice cream and marshmallow fluff. It wasn’t bad, it just was different than I thought it would be. The mixture never froze–it stayed the texture of melting ice cream. It was in the freezer for more than a day, so freezing time was not a factor.

The ice was very lemony. In fact, if you are not a fan of strong lemon flavors, you might consider making adjustments to the amount of lemon juice needed. I thought the strong lemon was fine, and I enjoyed the combination of lemon and marshmallow. A couple of my testers felt the lemon was way too strong. The ice is also very sweet, almost to the point where it isn’t refreshing.

I think my quest for a cool treat will continue. August temperatures usually show no mercy here, so I’ll keep looking. Do you have an ice recipe that you love? Let me know.

Until next time, stay safe and cool.

Canning: How Much Do You Need?

My family has been canning this past week. My husband has been canning different things with my kids. I love that this has turned into a family affair. He made several kinds of jelly with my second oldest daughter, and salsa with my youngest son. Canning, and cooking, are things that the entire family can enjoy. My two youngest daughters, ages 3 and 6, help cook almost every day.

I’ve been doing research on canning in the war years, and I came across this page in the July 1943 issue of McCall’s. This is what they say a family of four will need “from now until next summer”. We are a family of nine. I can’t imagine how much my family would need!

Below the image, I’ve included the amounts listed in case the print in the photo is difficult to read. Many of the fruits and vegetables listed here would come from a Victory Garden. Housewives would also can onions, carrots, pickles, jams, and a variety of other things. I remember my grandma’s basement storage pantry being filled with an enormous variety of different canned foods.

You can look forward to more about canning in the coming weeks. To round out this month, I’ll have a recipe for a cold treat later this week, and we’ll look at advice from the July 1943 issue of Woman’s Day aimed at helping the home front housewife conserve fabric.

Vegetables: 10 pints peas, 4 pints greens, 12 pints beets, 8 pints corn, 12 pints string beans, 14 pints lima beans, and 28 quarts tomatoes.

Fruits: 10 quarts sour red cherries, 5 quarts raspberries, 5 quarts blueberries, 5 quarts blackberries, 15 quarts peaches, and 5 quarts pears.

Sand Plum Jelly

Sand plums grow wild on our ranch, and almost every year, we make wild plum jelly. Some years we have a large plum harvest, and other years we barely have enough to can a few jars. The weather plays a big part in how many plums we harvest, and we have to compete with the animals who live on the ranch that enjoy the ripe plums, too.

The plums vary in size and color. The best ones are the size of a small cherry and are a deep red. Those are the ones that are sweet and juicy. The smaller and more yellow plums are quite tart. The sweet ones are great eaten fresh off the tree, but the tart ones still are amazing in jelly.

Picking sand plums is an uncomfortable chore. The trees are bushy and packed closely together, often with the best plums hidden in the middle of the thicket. Picking season is usually hot with temperatures reaching well over 100°F during the day, and the spiders, snakes, and insects that use the trees as shelter are usually not thrilled to have human company. Wild plum jelly is such a treat, though, that we brave all of that for another batch that will hopefully last us until the following year.

This year, most of the plums were too small to work with. We were able to pick enough to make 10 jars of jelly. Considering that during drought years we sometimes don’t have any plums at all, this is enough to make us happy.

Canning is something I want to explore in depth later on. I’ve done a lot of research about canning during WWII. I want to include some of that research here, but today I want to just share our most recent canning project.

I collect WWII propaganda posters, and this is one of my favorites. I like how canning ties us to generations of people who canned before us. I remember spending days at my grandma’s house when I was young while my mom, aunts, and grandma canned vegetables they grew in their gardens. My grandma had a closet in her basement that was lined with cans of all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Women in World War II canned foods from their Victory Gardens, often with the help of other women in their communities. These threads that tie us all together are important parts of who we are today.

Do you can? What foods do you can? We enjoy jelly and salsa, and are branching out to include more things in the future. I’ll round up some canning recipes for later in the year when many folks are harvesting their garden crops and preparing to can them for the months that follow.

I’ll see you here Monday. Right now, I am off to eat some more of this delicious jelly.

First Monday Menu: July 4 Porch Supper

Happy Independence Day!

Here is a menu from the 1941 edition of The New American Cook Book. This will be my First Monday Menu for the month, just a couple days early.

Note:

We chose to make the potatoes and the strawberry shortcake from this menu. I’m including the tomato aspic recipe so you can have all three.

Tomato Aspic

Potatoes Au Gratin

These potatoes take longer than 25 minutes to bake. At 25 minutes the dish is still very runny. We left it in the oven and watched it carefully until it solidified. Even then, when we served the potatoes, there was still a lot of liquid left in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Strawberry Shortcake

You’ll note that the recipe number on the menu and this recipe are different. Number 2999 sends you to recipe 964. There are suggestions for orange, strawberry, banana, currant, grapefruit, and huckleberry shortcakes, and they all refer back to this shortcake recipe.

Results

Even though the potatoes seemed to be sitting on top of a layer of liquid, they were easy to serve without being runny. You could lift the potatoes away and leave the liquid in the dish. They were cheesy, but I think you could easily add more cheese if you like your potatoes to be super cheesy.

The strawberry shortcake was tasty, but it was like eating strawberries on a biscuit with whipped cream. The shortcake was soft and crumbly. I think they would have been excellent spread with honey or jam. I prefer my strawberry shortcake with a softer cake like sponge cake, pound cake, or angel food cake. We add sweetened strawberry juice and the softer cakes soak the liquid up better. I know that this shortcake is a much more traditional shortcake than what I usually eat, and it was still very good. I’m glad we tried it.

One of my teenage sons kept the shortcake intact and made a strawberry shortcake sandwich with the strawberries and whipped cream as a filling. Another son ate his with the shortcake in one piece, but most of us broke the shortcake up as instructed in the recipe. It’s a versatile recipe that can be served a variety of ways.

I hope you all have a happy holiday today. Stay safe!

Chiffonade Dressing

I wanted to make something a little different for today’s post. I found a salad dressing recipe that I wanted to try, and it actually fit perfectly with the meal we were having. It was dark by the time we ate, so my pictures aren’t the best. I planned on taking better ones this morning, but we ate all of the dressing last night. (Spoiler—it was really good!)

The recipe is from the 1940 edition of Jessie Marie DeBoth’s Cook Book. I like my copy because you can tell it was well-loved. The name Dorothy Louise Whittingslow is inscribed inside the front cover. Most of the pages have evidence of cooking on them, and I love thinking about Dorothy Louise making the same recipes that I am making today.

Chiffonade Dressing

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped red pepper (sweet)
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 tsp minced onion

Combine ingredients and chill thoroughly. Beat or shake before using. Very good on plain salad greens.

Results

We tripled the recipe and it only made two small jars of dressing, so keep that in mind when doing your meal planning. This was a colorful, attractive dressing. If I make this again soon, I’ll take better pictures because this is truly nice to look at with all of its colors and textures. I agree with the recipe that this would be best on plain salad greens. The dressing really stands out when there’s nothing to compete with its flavor.

I loved the addition of eggs to the dressing. The paprika and pepper gave it a little spice. I found the amount of vinegar was perfect–it wasn’t too strong. It does separate quickly, so a good shake before each person’s salad is a good idea. The recipe is fast and easy to make, so you can quickly whip up a fresh batch when you need it.

There are some interesting salad dressing recipes in this cookbook, including some ideas for taking the store bought dressings that are already in our refrigerators and making them fancier. I think I’ll try some more in July. I’ve been eating salad more frequently and it’s nice to have more options when it comes to dressing.

Do you have a favorite salad dressing? Let me know if you try this one.

Have a great week!

Mexican Tamale Pie

Today’s recipe is from the 1939 edition of Flavor’s the Thing by Florence La Ganke (Harris). This cookbook has a nice selection of recipes from around the world. The author included interesting facts about food in different countries and a list of holidays you could celebrate with recipes from the book.

Results

Tamales are very popular when I live, and we also run across the occasional tamale pie. I was interested in seeing how a 1939 recipe would compare to what we typically eat.

This tamale pie was rather bland. For today’s taste’s I would would change the recipe to suit your needs. Several of my taste-testers added salsa or hot sauce. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t have much flavor. Tamale pies also usually have more breading in them, so I was surprised by the lack of it in this dish. It was also a little mushy. My three year old that eats anything you put in front of her didn’t finish her first bite.

I can see why this recipe might have appealed to the home front housewife. In certain parts of the United States, tamale pie might have been a new kind of dish, and it would have been a mild introduction to Mexican food. I think that since we live in an area where tamales are eaten frequently, are often homemade, and are quite a bit spicier, this recipe was a tough one for my family to enjoy.

Do you eat tamales often? Or tamale pie? Do you have a favorite tamale pie recipe? I’d love to try it.

Baked Bananas

I had several leftover bananas from making a Father’s Day banana pudding, so I decided to look in the 1942 Short Cuts and Left-Overs cookbook for new ideas on how to use them. I found a recipe that was fast and easy and tried it out.

Baked Bananas

Remove one section of the skin. Put fruit into pan. Sprinkle each banana with lemon juice and a little brown sugar. Bake until tender in hot oven.

Notes: This cookbook doesn’t list cooking temperatures and often doesn’t have ingredient amounts. We baked these at 350°F and guessed at the amount of lemon juice and brown sugar.

Results

We baked these until we were worried the peel would burn. The bananas were tender but not mushy and there was a sweet syrup inside the peel. This isn’t a pretty dish, but it would make a nice after school treat or a quick dessert. We ate ours right out of the peel, but you could slice or mush the fruit and put it on a sandwich with peanut butter or use it as a sundae topping.

We eat a lot of bananas in our house, and it’s always nice to find a new way to prepare them that’s quick and easy. Let me know if you try these.

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