History

Ginger Ale​ Frost

This will be my last drink post for a while. It’s a good drink for those warm first days of fall. I’ll be continuing the “Baking without…” series and I want to visit some lunch box recipes and wartime lunchbox packing tips. I also have few non-recipe posts coming up. I hope you’ll enjoy what’s in store for the coming weeks.

I wanted to include this recipe because it involves a little more prep than the others I’ve written about. It also is a good example of how cookbooks and magazines included help for the home front housewife in the form of tips and substitution ideas. This recipe suggests using corn syrup in place of half of the sugar required for the drink. This helped the housewife save some of her sugar rations for other recipes.

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Ginger Ale Frost

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. hot water

5 whole cloves

1 3″ stick cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 1/2 c. orange juice

1 c. canned grapefruit juice

3 1/2 c. pale dry ginger ale

ice

Boil the sugar and water together for 5 minutes. Add spices, and let stand for 1 1/2 hours. Strain through several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Add the fruit juices and chill. Just before serving, add the ginger ale and pour it into ice-filled glasses. This makes 6 1/2 glasses before adding the ice. Corn syrup may replace half of the sugar.

I didn’t have cheesecloth, so I used an empty tea bag as a strainer. This worked really well but made pouring each glass a slow process. Slow, but not tedious.

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Result

This is a lovely spiced ginger ale. It got mixed reactions from my testers. You can definitely taste the spices, but the grapefruit juice is not overpowering. One tester who dislikes grapefruit juice liked this drink, but another who dislikes nutmeg didn’t like this at all. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but I enjoyed it enough to recommend trying it at least once.

First Monday Menu: 1943 Lunchtime Rationed Menu

One of the challenges during the war years was creating menus that were varied, healthy, and appealing. As time went on, more and more commonly eaten foods either became scarce or were subject to rationing. Women’s magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks frequently contained articles or chapters with information and tips for meal planning with changing food availability.

The early 1940s saw many specialized publications aimed at teaching women to can, plant a Victory garden, or care for specific appliances, for example. These ranged from small pamphlets to larger softcover books and booklets. Many of these not only included information about canning or refrigerator care, but also contained recipes, meal planning tips, and menus. These publications were distributed by appliance companies, energy companies, and so on to both promote their business and offer help to homemakers.

Today’s menu comes from one such booklet. It’s the ABC of Wartime Canning by Josephine Gibson. In the foreword, Gibson explains that she wanted to include recipes to help homemakers create meals regardless of what was rationed or scarce. The copy I have seems to be a sample copy showing where you could have your company information printed on the cover prior to distribution.

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This booklet is full of interesting information. I’ll write a post on it in the near future. Today’s menu comes from a page titled “A Week’s Point-Saving Menus for a Family of Four (at a Moderate Cost)”. I chose a lunch menu because I think sometimes lunches are more difficult to plan, especially when it needs to be quick, yet healthy, or when the entire family might not be home.

 

Lunch

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Baked Apples

Cocoa

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Addie from @sugaraddies was on hand to help me out again. We scrambled eggs with chopped red pepper and onion. The onion and pepper could have been store-bought or grown in a Victory Garden. Many people raised chickens, too, so the eggs might have been from home instead of the store. There were shortages of eggs at times, but they were never rationed in the United States.

We sliced a loaf of French-style bread, buttered the slices, and toasted them lightly in the oven.

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We used a baked apple recipe from The Good Housekeeping Cook Book as a starter.

Baked Apples

6 large firm red apples

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. water

2 tbsp granulated sugar

cream

Core the apples, then pare them to about 1/3 of the way down from the top. Arrange in a baking dish. Boil the water and the 1 cup sugar together for 10 minutes and then pour this mixture over the apples. Bake at 350° until tender. Baste frequently. Cooking time depends on the apples. It might take up to an hour. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar over each apple.

Put the pan under the broiler and baste often. Watch them carefully until the sugar melts and the apples are a light brown. Serve hot or cold with plain or whipped cream. Corn syrup can replace half the sugar.

If desired, the apple peelings can be cooked with the sugar and water for 10 minutes to color the syrup. Remove after this step.

Baked Stuffed Apples

Using the above recipe, add a cooked prune, a cut-up pitted date, or raisins just before sprinkling with sugar and placing under the broiler.

We sliced our apples in half and scooped out the core. We added raisins and brown sugar when we sprinkled the sugar over each apple.

Results

With the addition of cocoa, this would make a filling lunch for a cool or rainy day. I like that this menu used several things that could have been grown at home or purchased without using ration points. It’s also a meal that would appeal to adults and children. Those baked apples are a delicious treat!

Notice that the recipe for the baked apples include a note that corn syrup could be substituted for half of the sugar in the recipe. This was to offer the housewife a way to stretch her precious sugar rations.

Summer Drinks: Cranberry Pineapple Ale

This cranberry pineapple drink hit the spot after a long hot day. It’s also a very pretty drink to serve in a clear glass pitcher. The weather was pleasant this evening and I took my glass onto the patio to enjoy outdoors.

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In my last post, I mentioned that the 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book had a terrific drink section. There was not just a varied selection of beverages, there were also helpful tips for the WWII home front housewife. Today’s drink was listed under fruit drinks, and there was a reminder that fruit drinks were a great way to get part of the daily two quarts of liquid suggested to maintain health in the 1940s.

Cookbooks from this time were interesting because they often needed to address kitchen appliances that were both very modern and more old-fashioned. A discussion about ice is a good example of this. In the mid-1930s, many people were switching to electric refrigerators that were finally more affordable than before. During WWII, factories stopped production of non-essential goods, but large numbers of people had electric refrigerators in their kitchens. The Good Housekeeping Cook Book includes advice to housewives with both electric and ice refrigeration since there were still too many families with ice refrigerators to leave that information out of the 1944 edition.

The home front housewife was also warned that warm weather and party seasons put a strain on a home’s ice supply. Thank goodness there were ice-making plants that could provide crystal clear ice in a variety of styles if the housewife was a smart planner and ordered ahead! This ice would come carefully delivered in a container and ready to use when needed.

A well-stocked cupboard insured the home front housewife could stir up a variety of refreshing beverages. Suggestions for canned or bottled items to keep in stock included fruit juices, tomato juice, vegetable juice, ginger ale, carbonated water, and colas. Fresh fruits like limes, lemons, and oranges were great to have on hand.

I find the idea of having a stocked drink cupboard appealing. None of the recipes I’m including on my blog are difficult or time-consuming to make, and they are much more fun than the beverages typically served in our home. All of my kids have enjoyed the new drinks this past week, My one-year-old loved today’s cranberry pineapple ale.

I love that this cookbook, even though it is filled with quaint advice, can also provide us with good ideas and tasty recipes 74 years later.

Cranberry Pineapple Ale

1 pint cranberry juice cocktail

2 1/4 c. pineapple juice

1 1/2 c. pale dry ginger ale

ice

Combine juices and ginger ale and serve over ice. Enjoy!

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The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie: Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

Here they are! This is the original recipe for chocolate chip cookies. You can find the history of this recipe in my last blog post:  Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes. 

I’m pretty sure this is the chocolate chip cookie recipe I grew up with. These cookies are the perfect blend of cookie, chocolate, and nuts. They are a wonderful warm gooey after school treat. They are the ultimate portable snack and are great in lunch boxes or for office parties. Even if you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, trying the original is a fun way to touch a little bit of history. Enjoy!

Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

1 c. butter

3/4 c. brown sugar

3/4 granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten whole

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp hot water

2 1/4 c. flour

1 tsp salt

1 c. chopped nuts

2 bars (7 oz each) Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate cut into pea-size pieces

1 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter and add the brown sugar, sugar, and eggs. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the mixture. Sift the flour and salt together and add to the batter. Add the chopped nuts, chocolate, and vanilla. Drop half teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 375°. Makes 100 cookies.

Thanks again to Addie at Sugar Addie’s.

 

Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes

Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes is a fairly recent addition to my vintage cookbook collection. I have the 1941 edition.  I used an included menu as this month’s First Monday Menu. After researching a bit, I thought the cookbook and its author deserved its own post.

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Ruth Graves Wakefield (1903-1977) was an American chef, educator, and author. She began her career in 1924 at Brockton High School as a home economics teacher. She lectured about food and was a hospital dietitian. She also had experience as a customer service director for a utility company. In 1930, she and her husband purchased the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. It was a historic location where travelers had once paid a toll, rested, changed horses, and had a meal before getting on their way. The Wakefields purchased the Inn and opened a restaurant there. She used family recipes and created new ones that became very popular. She invented chocolate chip cookies around 1938 and they became a popular staple.

Her chocolate chips were actually cut up pieces of Nestlé semi-sweet bars. She was deliberately trying to create a new kind of cookie for her customers. In 1930, she wrote the above-mentioned cookbook and began including her chocolate chip cookie recipe in the 1938 edition. Of course, I really want to try this recipe. I’m a big fan of chocolate chip cookies and would love to use the very first recipe. The recipe is called the “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie” in the cookbook.

The cookie recipe was featured in the Boston Herald and in a radio program hosted by “Betty Crocker”.

Another fun link to this era is that the spread of the cookies began when WWII soldiers from Massachusetts would get care packages with Mrs. Wakefield’s cookies and would share them with their fellow soldiers. This resulted in nationwide requests for cookies and spread the word about the chocolately cookies coming out of the Toll House Inn.

Since the recipe called for Nestlé bars, Nestlé saw their chocolate bar sales go up. In 1939, Ruth Wakefield and Nestlé came to an agreement that they would print the cookie recipe on the chocolate wrappers. She let them use the Toll House name and recipe in exchange for one dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Nestlé soon began making chips made just for cookies. I have some bars of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate and the recipe is no longer printed on the wrapper. I’ll have to check to see if it is on the semi-sweet chip packaging.

I have the 1941 version of the cookbook. The book includes meal planning tips in addition to suggested menus for different occasions. There are instructions for canning and entertaining tips. Other sections helped the home front housewife with her laundry problems and gave first aid instructions. There is also advice on maintaining the kitchen and its appliances, as well as directions on proper table setting and service. I love that there are so many topics addressed in the book and I think it gives us a nice glimpse into the home front housewife’s daily life or at least some of the expectations of what it meant to be an ideal housewife in the early 1940s.

Many of the recipes in the book do not have an ingredient list followed by instructions for making the recipe. You have to read the recipe carefully to make sure you know the ingredients and the correct amount of each. I have found that to be frustrating because it’s very easy to miss something. A few times, there is just an ingredient listed and no amount. When I use these recipes on my blog, I’ll do my best to come up with ingredient lists for you to follow.

I do love this cookbook. Watch for the original Toll House cookie recipe taste test in a day or so. I also have other cookbooks that I will showcase in the coming weeks. They are more like household manuals than cookbooks, and I find that a wonderful way to look into the past.

 

 

Welcome to History in the Kitchen!

Welcome to History in the Kitchen!

I’m Shawna.

I’m a folklorist, historian, and writer with a passion for women’s history. Join me as we journey back to the early 1940s to explore the kitchen life of a home front housewife. We’ll recreate recipes from vintage menus and discuss war time kitchen conveniences and struggles. We’ll delve into rationing and canning, ingredient substitutions and Victory Gardens. We’ll look at the war time government’s role in American kitchens, and American housewives’ role in winning the battle on the home front. Plus, we’ll talk about fun things like entertainment, clothing, and shopping–all from the home front housewife’s point of view.

An American housewife’s world in the early 1940s revolved around her family, food, and kitchen. A lot of time went into meal planning, food preparation, and kitchen clean up. Rationing and shortages added extra challenges. Grocery shopping changed after rationing took effect. Many people turned to gardening and canning to help them through lean times, and these were skills that many people had to learn. Many kitchen tools and appliances weren’t being manufactured anymore due to wartime production restrictions and/or demands placed on factories. We’ll visit all of these topics and more in a fun, light-hearted way.

All recipes will be from sources published in 1940-1945. I’ll use a variety of sources and we’ll chat about why they were important or useful to American women. I also have a collection of vintage glassware, cookware, and related kitchen items that I’ll showcase as we go. Not all of them will be from the war years, but I truly believe that these items should be used and shared.

Thanks for coming along! There’s lots of food and fun ahead and I’m excited you’re here!