During World War II, Woman’s Day magazine included a section at the front of each month’s issue that was called the “Woman’s Day War Food Bulletin”. This section included information about current rationing issues and offered tips for canning, gardening, and shopping. The shopping portion included a list of plentiful foods and ways to cook them.
Victory gardens were in full swing by July 1943 and were providing families with food they could use in daily meals. Victory gardens were a great way to make sure families had fresh vegetables and fruits without using rationing stamps for canned products. This allowed each family to use points for other foods they needed. Canning the harvest also helped families make it through lean times. Recipes that helped a woman deal with the multitude of fruits and vegetables the gardens produced were helpful, especially when trying new vegetables for the first time, or when a staple was becoming boring.
Green beans were popular in gardens, and Woman’s Day had the home front housewife covered when it came to finding new ways to fix them.
Green Beans in Mustard Sauce
This recipe calls for 3 cups cooked green beans and asks that you keep 3/4 cup of your cooking water for the sauce.
1 1/2 tbsp bacon fat
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3/4 c undiluted evaporated milk
3/4 c vegetable cooking water
Add the flour and seasonings to the bacon fat in a saucepan, then gradually add the evaporated milk and water. Stir constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Add the green beans and stir until they are coated with the sauce mixture. Let them warm in the saucepan, and then they are ready to serve with your main dish.
A couple notes: I crumbled up 3 bacon strips and added them to the finished beans. I had an extra cup of green beans and added them. There seemed to be a perfect amount of sauce for 4 cups, so if you like less sauce on your veggies, consider adding more green beans.
The green beans were evenly coated. The sauce had a mild mustard flavor and was thick enough to cling to the beans as you lifted them with your fork. It had the consistency of a thick gravy. The bacon added a nice crunch and good flavor. These beans would be the perfect complement to pork chops, chicken, or a steak.
This dish could definitely be made with either fresh or canned beans, making it the perfect Victory garden recipe. It was quick and easy to make.