Monthly Archives: February 2020

Carrots Baked in Milk

This recipe is from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. I mentioned earlier this month that I wanted to explore this issue a bit more because of the recipes and articles explaining rationing or offering suggestions for meals that used available foods. These carrots are from an article about using winter vegetables when many popular fresh vegetables weren’t available. Plus, carrots baked in milk added not only vegetables but dairy to the home front family’s diet. In 1943, this recipe cost 14 cents to make for a family of four.

Carrots Baked in Milk

  • 4 c ground or shredded raw carrots
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • hot water
  • 1 tbsp margarine

Place carrots in greased 1 1/2 qt casserole. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flour. Add onion and milk. Add just enough water to cover. Bake in moderate oven at 350°F for 45 minutes. Five minutes before removing from oven, dot top with margarine.

Results

I’ll admit that I was a little worried about what this recipe would turn out like. I like carrots, but I had never eaten them this way. I was pleasantly surprised. The carrots were still crisp, and the other ingredients had combined to create a thick gravy that had a constancy similar to slightly runny mashed potatoes. I wasn’t sure that I would like the combination of textures and flavors, but they complimented each other very well. Most of my testers liked the dish. The only one who didn’t was the one who doesn’t like carrots.

I recommend this carrot recipe as an interesting accompaniment to meat dishes on your menu. It’s easy to make, and at least for my family, is a fresh way to cook carrots whether you buy them at the supermarket or grow them in your Victory Garden. Let me know if you try these out and enjoy your bonus day tomorrow. See you in March.

Frosted Apricot Milk

It was really warm here today, and I wanted to find a cold drink recipe to enjoy outside. I found an interesting one, but I’ll be honest–we modernized the instructions. I very rarely do that when I’m working with historical recipes. I try to keep the methods as historically accurate as possible. We turned this recipe into a modern milkshake by putting all of the ingredients in a blender, but I still wanted to share it with you.

The recipe comes from a 48-page booklet published by the Culinary Arts Institute in 1940. It’s called The Dairy Book and it is part of a series of specialty cookbooks that include titles about breads, candies, leftovers, and so on. The cookbook was created to provide home front housewives a variety of recipes that helped add milk to the diet, something the introduction stated was hard to find at the time. The cookbook has a variety of recipes that range from desserts and beverages like today’s Frosted Apricot Milk to appetizers, soups, and entrees.

Frosted Apricot Milk

  • 1 c cooked apricots and juice
  • 3 c milk
  • 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream

Press apricots through a sieve. Mix apricot pulp and milk. Put ice cream in a pitcher. Pour milk mixture over ice cream. Stir until slightly mixed. Serves 4-6.

Results

We pureed the apricots in a food processor. Then we put the milk, apricots, and ice cream in the blender and mixed it well. If you followed the recipe it would be a lumpier mixture, but we really like the smooth texture of a milkshake. The apricot flavor was mild. If you make this, you might consider adjusting the amount of apricots to add more flavor.

This was an easy milkshake recipe for today. Using a blender and food processor is much less labor-intensive than using a sieve and stirring by hand. I think it’s valuable to occasionally make these recipes in a more modern way. Adapting recipes makes it easier to add them to our repertoire of dishes we eat in our everyday lives, keeping old-style, often forgotten recipes alive for more generations to enjoy.

One last note: Warm pureed apricots also make a nice sundae topping.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Which method did you use?

Green Beans Tossed in Brown Sauce

The Carnation Company published a small booklet-size cookbook during the war that contained recipes made with evaporated milk. They stressed the importance of milk in the diet and reminded the home front housewife that milk had proteins that would take the place of meat proteins when meat was scarce or when rationing points were running low. Carnation also wrote that their milk provided “valuable minerals and vitamins, and through irradiation, contributes extra ‘sunshine’ vitamin D”. Carnation suggested substituting evaporated milk for cream and diluting it with water to use in place of regular bottled milk.

Green Beans Tossed in Brown Sauce

  • 1 1/2 its green beans or 1 No. 2 can
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 c enriched flour
  • 2 tbsp butter or other fat
  • 3/4 c liquid from beans
  • 2/3 c Carnation Milk
  • Salt to taste

String the beans and wash them. Cut diagonally. Boil with onion, covered, in 2 c salted water until tender. (If canned beans, use their liquid.) Drain, saving 3/4 c liquid. Slowly brown flour in heavy pan, stirring constantly. Add butter, stirring to blend. Add bean liquid. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and cook until thickened. Lightly toss in the beans. Salt to taste. Heat but do not boil. Serves 6.

Results

We used French cut canned green beans because that’s what we had in our pantry. The resulting dish was green beans in a mildly flavored, creamy gravy. It was rather bland, but not unpleasant. It would compliment many different main dishes, but would not be the most memorable part of the meal. Sometimes, though, that’s exactly what you want for a specific meal. We ate this with our favorite cheesy mini-meatloves. It did not distract from the taste of the meatloaf at all and provided a filling side dish. If you are looking for a more flavorful green bean side dish, try Green Beans in Mustard Sauce.

Let me know if you try this recipe. What did you think?

St. Valentine’s Luncheon

This is a quick post to give you a menu from the Wyandotte County Gas Company’s Home Service Department’s 1940 cookbook, Your Gas Range Cook Book. I’ve included three of the recipes.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuna Fish Loaf with Mushroom Sauce

Note that the mushroom sauce is included in the recipe but needs additional ingredients. This makes 6 servings.

Heart Beet Salad

The “heart” in this salad comes from a cookie cutter. The recipe makes 6 servings.

Valentine Meringues

There’s a lot going on in this recipe. Additional supplies are listed in the directions.

Baked Indian Pudding Revisited

I found another baked Indian pudding recipe to try this week. If you missed my previous post about baked Indian pudding, you can catch up here. I found today’s recipe in the 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book, and it was not adjusted for rationing or shortages. We whipped this up this afternoon to compare to our previous pudding.

Indian Pudding De Luxe

  • 2 c bottled milk or 1 c evaporated milk and 1 c water
  • 6 tbsp corn meal
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c sour milk or sour cream

Scald milk over low heat, then stir in the corn meal very slowly. Remove from heat and add next 8 ingredients. Just before turning into a 1 1/2 qt casserole, add the sour milk or sour cream gradually. Bake in a slow oven of 275°F for 2 hours or until a silver knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Stir once during baking. Serve warm with cream or with Vanilla Sauce. Serves 4-5.

Results

This Indian pudding recipe was much better than the previous one. We ate it warm with cream and also tried it plain. It reminded me of a rather bland pumpkin pie filling. If you like pumpkin pie, this might be something you would enjoy, but you should consider increasing some of the spices. It was less lumpy than the first pudding we made, but it still had some unwanted lumps from the corn meal. When you mix the corn meal into the milk, really take care to mix it well. Eating this with ice cream is definately a great suggestion.

I don’t think we will make any more Indian pudding. This was more edible than the one we made a few days ago, but it still isn’t a favorite. It says it serves 4-5, but I’m not sure we’ll finish it and there are quite a few of us. I’m glad I decided to try a different recipe, though. The addition of things like eggs made a big difference in the taste and the texture of the pudding. I’d only recommend this recipe if you are a huge fan of Indian pudding or if you are curious about 1940s wartime recipes.

I do want to mention that I found some other recipes that included ingredients like chopped apples and raisins, but I think I’m ready to move on from Indian pudding. I can’t imagine they would taste all that much different. If you’d like me to go ahead and test another recipe, let me know.

Hopefully the next post will be about something a bit tastier.

Baked Indian Pudding

This has been a bad week for recipes. Monday’s brownies were probably the worst brownies I’ve ever eaten. Wednesday I was snowed in and decided to try a butter extending recipe. That didn’t work out and will have to wait for another February day. Today we made a baked Indian pudding and didn’t fare much better. I want to include even the recipes that aren’t great, so today I present to you Baked Indian Pudding.

This recipe is from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. It was in an article called “Purse String Recipes”. The recipes were adapted from old favorites to keep costs down for the home front housewife. To do this, they made substitutions and cut back on certain ingredients. I picked baked Indian pudding because it sounded like it would be a comforting treat on a cold evening.

Baked Indian Pudding

  • 1/3 c corn meal
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 c molasses
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger

Scald 2 1/2 cups of the milk in upper part of double boiler. Combine corn meal with 1/2 cup of the remaining milk and stir gradually into the scalded milk. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add molasses, sugar, salt, and ginger. Pour into buttered baking dish. Bake in slow oven at 300°F for about 1 hour. Stir in remaining cup of milk and continue baking for 2 hours. Serve warm with top milk.

Results

Baked Indian pudding was runnier than most bread puddings I’ve had. It tasted a bit like gingerbread, but had an aftertaste that was off-putting. There were clumps in the pudding despite thorough stirring. None of the testers enjoyed this recipe even though this type of dish is usually well liked at my house. I don’t think that adding my usual scoop of ice cream would have helped this pudding. It wasn’t good, but it was better than Monday’s brownies!

I hate to think that families had to resort to eating foods that were so changed from their original recipes that they became unappealing shadows of themselves. How often did they have to make do with meals based on recipes that made barely edible dishes? Were there recipes that used substitutions that were tasty? What were the flavorful wartime dishes in a home front housewife’s arsenal of recipes? That’s something I hope to explore this month.

As for this pudding today–I wonder if the regular, non-adapted dish was any better. I found several more early 1940s Indian pudding recipes and I think I’ll try them this week. Then we can compare. Perhaps we don’t like Indian pudding no matter what the recipe is. I’m looking forward to finding out.

Does your family have a similar pudding recipe? I’d love to hear about it.

First Monday Menu: Variety-Vegetable Macaroni Casserole and Bargain Brownies

This month I want to explore recipes that were created to help home front housewives deal with rationing and shortages. I’ll write a bit more about that later in the week. Today’s menu is interesting and I want to get straight to it.

Variety-Vegetable Macaroni Casserole

The main dish recipe comes from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. You’ll see several things from this magazine this month. It’s fascinating. It’s the first issue to include the “Woman’s Day War Food Bulletin” that explained rationing, gave updates to that and other government wartime programs, and provided advice on how to live with all the changes that were happening. There were numerous recipes in each of these food bulletins, and they were aimed at finding solutions to problems the home front housewife might be struggling with that month.

This particular magazine issue really dives into rationing and what it meant to everyday people. I can’t imagine the fear and uncertainty that came from having to completely change your shopping and eating habits. I’m sure people wondered if there would be enough food to feed their families. Woman’s Day and magazines like it helped home front housewives feel more confident about moving forward and adjusting. The magazine is filled with recipes like today’s casserole. This casserole comes from an article about how to make satisfying meals with macaroni, noodles, and spaghetti. They are offered as being cheap menu choices, and only two of the twelve recipes included meat. Today’s casserole cost just 28 cents for four servings.

The Variety-Vegetable Macaroni Casserole recipe calls for a soup bunch. Although this is occasionally available in modern supermarkets, it is not something many people where I live have heard of. In the 1940s, groups of vegetables were bundled together as a kind of soup starter kit. We created our own bundle of shallots, celery, turnips, carrots, potatoes, and parsley. Cabbage was a separate ingredient in the recipe, but we would have added it to the soup bunch if it hadn’t been.

  • 1 soup bunch, thinly sliced
  • 2 c shredded cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 8 oz package elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 2 or 3 slices of cheese

Barely cover vegetables with boiling water and add salt. Cover and cook for ten minutes. Drain, reserving liquid for soup, etc. (Note: not needed for this recipe) Add pepper, margarine, macaroni, and milk. Pour into two quart casserole dish. Bake in slow oven at 300°F for 45 min. Put cheese on top 15 minutes before removing casserole from oven.

A few more notes: We doubled the recipe and it worked well. We guessed on the amounts of our soup bunch ingredients. If you find that you have too much, you can freeze the vegetables for later. They would be great in several kinds of soup. The recipe says to save the vegetable liquid for soup. This was a common thing to do to prepare for later meals, but the liquid is not needed for this recipe.

Bargain Brownies

This recipe comes from What Do We Eat Now? A Guide to Wartime Housekeeping, a 1942 book by Helen Robertson, Sarah MacLeod, and Frances Preston. Even though I don’t think of brownies as cookies, there were several brownie recipes in the cookie section. The authors said they concentrated on recipes that didn’t use a lot of sugar and didn’t have too much fat. They said that any of the recipes in the section would be great in a lunch box or sent off to soldiers at camp.

  • 1 c chopped peanuts
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • few grains salt
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/3 c melted fat
  • 1/3 c dark corn syrup
  • 1 egg

Grease a shallow eight-inch pan and line it with wax paper. Grease the paper. Bake in a moderate oven at 350°F for 15 min.

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Blend fat and corn syrup. Stir in a well beaten egg. Add dry ingredients gradually, stirring them in as added. Add peanuts. Turn into prepared pan and bake.

Note: This was added at the bottom of the recipe: “These brownies are not sweet as we are accustomed to having them. They may be spread with cream chocolate frosting if desired.”

Results

The variety-vegetable macaroni casserole was delicious. It was easy to make, and it’s a flexible recipe. You really could add in any number of vegetable combinations and it would be tasty. It’s meatless, so it didn’t require rationing points for meat. If she had fresh vegetables in her garden, or leftovers from prepping another meal, the only thing the home front housewife would really have to purchase would be cheese and macaroni.

The casserole was warm and hearty. With the macaroni, turnips, and potatoes, it was a meal that would fill up hungry family members. Every one of my testers went back for seconds. There were just enough vegetables with the macaroni. This is also flexible–you can add the amounts of each vegetable that you prefer. We rarely eat turnips, so I was happy to use them in this casserole. The only things we might change for next time would be adding a bit more pepper and more cheese slices across the top.

I don’t recommend the bargain brownie recipe. Unless you are interested in what this specific wartime recipe is like, I would not make these. If you are looking for a brownie recipe to go with this menu, I’d suggest Honey Brownies instead.

The bargain brownies’ batter was more like a dough. We had to press the mixture into the pan. After they were baked, they were the driest, crumbliest brownies I have ever dealt with. They tasted like squares of solid cocoa powder. I know that the recipe stressed that they were not sweet, but these were inedible. I even took a second bite to try to evaluate them from the point of view that brownies didn’t need to be sweet and that during the war people had to make changes to their food. There is no way I would ever eat an entire brownie. They were bitter and so powdery dry that it was difficult to chew and swallow them.

I have tried numerous recipes that called for substitutions or adjustments from this time period. Some were delicious, and some were just ok. Never have I tried a recipe that I couldn’t take more than a bite or two. I know that there are better wartime recipes than this.

I’m going to try to find another brownie recipe that I can add to this post this month. The Honey Brownies I linked above were good, but not as chocolatey and sweet as a traditional brownie. I’ll see what I can find. In the meantime, let me know if you try out the casserole. I think you’ll be pleased with it.