Today’s menu comes from the March 24, 1944 issue of The Family Circle. In 1944, the magazine was still a weekly publication distributed at grocery stores across the United States. Each issue included lots of advertisements for products commonly found at the local supermarket, some short fiction, Hollywood news, and lots of recipes. I pulled a menu from this issue and made it last night.
The menu is from an article titled “Julia Lee Wright’s All-Through-The Day Meal Plans”. There are several to choose from, and they are divided into plans for housewives who “stay at home all day” and plans for women “who work and keep house”. The entire day’s meals are planned and several recipes are included. I chose one aimed at a woman who both worked and was a housewife. I wanted to see what WWII era time-saving meals were like.
Here is what Dinner called for:
Stuffed Hot Dogs
Potato Salad (made the night before)
Buttered String Beans
Pickles or Relish Plate of Raw Vegetables
Toast or Toasted French Bread
Hot Gingerbread (packaged mix or combine the ingredients the night before)
Stuffed Hot Dogs
1 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 c. thinly sliced celery
1 tbsp melted shortening
1/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp poultry seasoning
12 hot dogs
6 slices bacon
Combine bread crumbs, onion, celery, melted shortening, and milk in a small mixing bowl. Add seasonings and toss lightly to mix. Slit hot dogs lengthwise on one side and fill cavities with stuffing. Wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around each hot dog and fasten with toothpicks. Bake in a shallow pan at 425° for 20 minutes or until hot dogs are heated and bacon is crisp.
Mary Jane Gingerbread
The menu didn’t include a recipe for gingerbread, and our local grocery store doesn’t have packaged gingerbread mix, so I found a recipe in Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes.
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 beaten egg
1/4 c. molasses
1 c. sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove, scant
1/4 tsp nutmeg, scant
1/2 c boiling water
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the beaten egg and molasses. Sift the flour with salt, baking soda, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Mix well. Add the boiling water and mix. Bake in a deep pan 30-40 minutes at 400°. Serve hot with whipped cream.
The recipe also includes notes that suggest cooking this batter in a waffle iron and then using two waffles and whipped cream to make a shortcake.
We followed the suggested menu. We had buttered green beans. toasted French bread, potato salad, and pickles.
The hot dogs are good but greasy. They remind me a bit of a Chicago dog. Be prepared for greasiness, though. I might make these again without the bacon, or make the bacon separately so there’s not so much grease. The stuffing is really tasty and makes hot dogs a little more interesting than just eating them on a bun with ketchup or mustard.
The gingerbread is the star of this menu. I love this recipe. The gingerbread is springy and spicy. We added some homemade whipped cream and served the gingerbread while it was still warm. It was perfect. The recipe is also quick and easy. You might have everything on hand to make it without making a trip to the store. This would be a pleasantly surprising after school snack or dessert.
The article states that working and managing a home means that you need meals that are quick to prepare while also remaining healthy and nutritious. Remember, the home front housewife was fighting a battle in her kitchen to keep American citizens healthy and able to do their part for the war effort. Quick didn’t mean she could slack on her war duty.
This menu is pretty fast to prepare. Stuffing and wrapping the hot dogs did take some time. The menu points out places where a housewife can prepare for tomorrow’s meal today. That adds extra work at night, but you can do it after the evening meal is over. That means that while you have a lot of work in the kitchen at night, a working housewife can still get dinner on the table at a reasonable time. I do want to note that the menu also calls for the morning’s meal to be partially prepared the night before, as well. That’s quite a bit of work before bed to prepare for tomorrow, but maybe it evens out over the week. If maintaining a specific meal time is important to a family, these menu plans will sure help that happen.
The pink bowls are 1956 Fire-King pink Swirl. They are pretty and delicate and offer a great way to showcase a delicious dessert.