Author Archives for Shawna

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.

What Will I Wear?: Home Front Housewife Edition

For many home front housewives, January was a cold month indeed. Since this month was almost all about January magazine issues, I thought I would show you a couple of images of clothing from a 1941 issue. I’ll then compare those with a 1945 issue. I can imagine a home front housewife pouring over her magazines at the kitchen table after all her chores were done or during a break in the afternoon while she listened to her favorite radio program. Here’s some of what they would have seen.

January 1941

The first issue is Woman’s Home Companion. The date on the one ad is 1940, but the magazine it was in was definitely 1941. Since much of the magazine was still focusing on holiday topics, I imagine the issue was delivered to homes in December.

The first image is an ad for winter boots. I’d wear any of these boots today. I like how they have categorized them into country, town, dress up, and formal boots.

Next is a half ad, half article that shows Companion-Butterick patterns that were available to purchase at local Butterick dealers or by mail order through Woman’s Home Companion. I love the colors, and look at those hats!

The last image is part of an article with suggested Christmas gifts, but I like how it shows options of sweaters, scarves, and slippers that the home front housewife might consider in 1940/41 for her family.

January 1945

I have a January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. I was not surprised that there were few mentions of clothing. Most of the magazine was filled with articles about how to stretch rationed food or other ways to deal with the war. New clothing was probably not on their minds as much. I was really surprised, though, that the only fashion article in the magazine was about how to buy a new fur coat. There were a couple of ads in the back of the magazine for support girdles, but otherwise, no other fashion. In contrast, the January 1946 issue had several articles about clothing, including one that showed how a tailor made a suit and one that suggested adding material to tighter fitting styles of coats to make them more modern. Neither of these articles would have been published during the war years since fabric was conserved during those years.

February

I have fun plans for February. I have some February magazine issues. I have a few new cookbooks, booklets, and magazines I want to explore, and of course, Valentine’s Day is coming up! Enjoy your last evening in January 2020 and I’ll see you here again Monday for February’s First Monday Menu.

Orange Lime Fizz

I haven’t tested a drink recipe in a while. The weather has been warm here and we’ve been enjoying hanging out on our patio lately. I like to have a cool drink to sip while I’m outside, so I thought this would be a great time to add another drink post.

This is from the 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book. It’s pretty quick to make, but if there are more than three or four of you drinking it, you’ll want to at least double the recipe. Four of us had average size servings of this drink, but there wasn’t enough left for anyone to have second helpings.

Orange Lime Fizz

  • 2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 12 springs mint (cut this up)
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 12 oz bottle (1 1/2 c) chilled carbonated water
  • ice

Heat 1 c of the orange juice to a boil. Add the sugar and the mint. Cover and cool. Strain and then add the remaining orange juice and the lime juice. Just before serving, add the carbonated water and ice. This recipe makes 3 3/4 c before adding the ice. Corn syrup may replace half of the sugar.

Results

I was surprised at the mixed results this drink received. Four of us were home to try it, and the opinions were split 50/50. My husband, who is not a fan of carbonated water, thought the addition of the bubbly liquid ruined it for him. My teenage son thought it was good, but way too sweet for him to want to make it again. Another teenage son loved it and happily finished my husband’s drink as well as his own. I thought it was thirst quenching and refreshing.

I didn’t taste much mint in the drink, which seemed to be the case with my other testers, too. I definitely tasted the lime, perhaps even more than the orange juice. I don’t like carbonated water by itself, but it didn’t bother me at all in this drink. If you are worried about the sweetness, cutting the amount of sugar might help. Actually, I think I’ll try that and see how it goes.

I can picture myself settled in on my patio with a tall glass of orange lime fizz and a good book. What a great way to spend a warm spring or summer afternoon. How’s the weather where you live?

1 2 9