First Monday Menu: Ham Baked with Orange Slices

My husband recently had surgery. His recovery is tough, so we have been hunting for quick and easy meals to cook. I thought I’d find a WWII meal that fits the bill for this month’s First Monday Menu.

The ham recipe I used is from the 1943 cookbook Double-Quick Cooking for Part-time Homemakers by Ida Bailey Allen. I’m fascinated with this cookbook right now. It was aimed at single working women and wives who worked while their husbands were at war. There are menus with quick recipes and detailed instructions for creating the meal as efficiently as possible. The author gives tips for meal planning and avoiding food waste, as well as recipes and menus for every situation you can imagine. There’s even a chapter on gift foods for servicemen. This cookbook is fairly new to my collection and I’m excited to show you more of what’s inside it.

For today, though, let’s get to our meal.

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Ham Baked with Orange Slices

1 lb ham cut in 1/4 in thick slices

1 orange, sliced

Whole cloves

Fine bread crumbs

Place the ham in a baking pan. I was able to get 6 large slices in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Stick two cloves into each slice of orange. Lay these around the ham and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Pour a little bit of orange juice over the ham and bake in a hot oven at 400-425°F for twelve to fifteen minutes.

 

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Before Baking

 

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Fresh From the Oven

Results

Since I was trying to keep things simple and fast, I served corn and fruit salad as sides. Corn is a favorite in my house, and the fruit salad was made with drained canned fruit cocktail, sliced bananas, and whipped topping. The ham was juicy with a mild orange flavor. We tasted the baked orange slices, but the consensus was that they weren’t very tasty. The ham, however, was delicious. I was able to serve 6 people.

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The meal was very easy to make and easy to clean up after. It was exactly what I was looking for today. I think that this would definitely be a good choice for a homefront housewife during WWII. There’s not much prep required, cooking time is minimal, and a woman could feel good about serving healthy food while still having time to do other things in the evening.

I’m also going to teach my teenagers this recipe. It’s an easy one for someone just learning to cook and a good option for young adults on a budget who are craving a homecooked meal.

Let me know if you try this one.

 

Baking without…Milk: Yeast Rolls

A warm homemade roll is a welcome addition to almost any meal. My seventeen-year-old daughter has been baking homemade bread almost daily, so I gave her this recipe to try out. My two oldest daughters are tremendous bakers and I love when they bake for me. This recipe makes about 2 dozen rolls.

This is from the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. To learn more about this series, you can start with Baking without…Eggs: Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Glaze.

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Yeast Rolls

1 cake yeast

1/4 c warm water

1/2 c boiling water

3 tbsp margarine

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 c cold water

1 egg, grade B

4 1/2 c sifted flour

melted margarine

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Pour boiling water over margarine, salt, and sugar. Stir until dissolved and add the cold water. Add the yeast and the well-beaten egg and mix well. Add 1 cup of flour and beat until smooth. Add the remaining flour, turn on a floured board and knead a few minutes. Place in a greased bowl, brush the top with melted margarine, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Knead lightly. Return to the greased bowl. When double in bulk, shape, and place in greased muffin tins. Brush with margarine, allow to rise again until doubled. Bake in a hot oven, 400°F for about 15 minutes.

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Results

These were moist and soft with a slightly crispy outer layer. My daughter said the dough looked dry while she was working with it, but the rolls were nice and moist when they were finished. My personal favorite way to eat them was fresh from the oven slathered with margarine and peach preserves. I have a 20-month-old whose favorite food is bread and she gave these the toddler seal of approval.

Of the twelve recipes in the Woman’s Day  “You can Bake without…” article, this was the only recipe that wasn’t for a cake, cookies, or other dessert. I’m glad they chose to include yeast rolls.  Rolls and breads were a large part of a person’s diet and rationing and shortages affected those foods, too. Plus, rolls were useful and versatile. Last night’s rolls could be included in today’s lunch box or this afternoon’s after-school snack. Rolls go with meats, soups, salads, and pastas. There aren’t many other foods that go with everything like a roll does.

Speaking of the Woman’s Day article, there are three recipes left. I’ll probably make those in March. There are several other topics I want to visit before I return to “Baking without…Shortening”. I also got some really interesting new cookbooks that I’d like to show you.

Let me know if you try these delicious rolls. I think you’ll like them.

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First Monday Menu: Hot Prem/Spam Sandwich and Orange Lily

World War II era magazine advertisers often used recipes featuring their products to entice housewives to buy their brands. I wanted to use a recipe from one of those magazine ads this month. I chose a hot sandwich made with canned meat that looked versatile, quick, and filling. Canned meats were popular because they were not rationed, they lasted a long time, and didn’t need refrigeration. They could also be eaten cold or hot, and they could be added to a variety of recipes. Since you can eat Spam and other meats straight out of the can, it was a handy food for soldiers, too.

This recipe is from a 1942 Prem ad. Prem is still being made, but I couldn’t find it anywhere near me. After some research, I found that Spam would make a good substitute. Does your grocery store have Prem? Have you tried it? I’m curious how it compares to Spam.

The other recipe in this menu is from the 1940 edition of The American Woman’s Cook Book. It is a drink that I think would be refreshing with any meal. Since this menu could also be a breakfast menu, I thought that the juice was a nice option.

Hot Prem/Spam Sandwich

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp chopped celery

1/2 tbsp green pepper

1/4 tbsp grated onion

salt

pepper

canned meat like Prem or Spam

toast

Beat two eggs slightly. Add milk, celery, green pepper, and onion. Add salt and pepper. Scramble over low heat, stirring constantly. Pan fry 2 slices of Spam or Prem. Serve on slices of toast. Makes 1 sandwich.

Note: This recipe truly only makes one sandwich. It’s easy to increase amounts to make enough for more.

Orange Lily

1/2 cup white grape juice

2 tbsp orange juice

1 tsp sugar

Fill glass half full of shaved ice. Add juices and sugar. Fill with chilled water. The cookbook suggests serving with two straws poked through a thin slice of orange.

Results

I think a lot of people are a bit apprehensive about eating Spam. It honestly is not bad at all. This sandwich was very similar to eating eggs on toast with some sausage or bacon. I added hashbrowns as a side. The meal was very filling. This is a nice choice for breakfast or a quick lunch.

I can definitely see the appeal of canned meats to the home front housewife. When ration points were running low, canned meats could help stretch what a housewife had and could add flavor to meals when food supplies were limited. This meal is a good option for people in a hurry or on a budget, as well. It’s hearty and quick to get on the table.

The Orange Lily drink was delicious. I did have to tweak the recipe a bit for my family’s tastes, though. When you add water and ice, the drink becomes more water than juice. I made a big batch of it in a pitcher and didn’t add any water. We just added ice in the individual glasses and that made it perfect for us. I also found that ice cubes worked better than shaved ice. The shaved ice we tried melted immediately. I also recommend stirring the mixture occasionally so the sugar doesn’t gather at the bottom of your glass or pitcher.

Let me know if you try either of these recipes. Have a great week!

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Baking without…Milk: Coffee Spice Cake

The second recipe in the “Baking without…Milk” series is this delicious coffee cake. It’s from an article in the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. I also have a 1941 recipe booklet called The Bread Basket that I’ve been wanting to use for a while. The booklet is full of bread recipes using Fleischmann’s Yeast. There are pastries, cakes, rolls, and a variety of other breads. I had my teenage daughter help me since she makes wonderful bread from scratch. We decided to add a cinnamon topping from The Bread Basket since it also doesn’t call for milk and would have been a recipe housewives in 1945 might have chosen to add themselves.

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Coffee Spice Cake

1/2 c lard

1 c sugar

2 eggs, grade B

3 tbsp molasses

1/2 c cold strong coffee

2 c sifted cake flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ginger

Cream lard, add sugar and cream until fluffy, then beat in eggs one at a time and add molasses. Beat well. Add coffee alternately with mixed and sifted dry ingredients. Bake in greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan in a moderate oven (375°) for 40 minutes. You can also bake in two 8-inch layers for 25 minutes.

Cinnamon Topping

6 tbsp butter

3/4 c sugar

6 tbsp sifted flour

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

Cream the butter, add sugar gradually, mixing well. Add remaining ingredients and stir until mixed well and crumbly.

Results

After having the past few cakes turn out dry, I was expecting the same from this coffee spice cake. I was very wrong. It was moist and delicious. The cinnamon topping disappeared into the cake while it baked and added a really nice cinnamon flavor. This is a great cake for a brunch or breakfast, and it would be perfect for an afternoon tea or coffee get together. Try adding some vanilla ice cream! The recipe does have coffee in it, but we mainly tasted the molasses and the cinnamon from the topping we added.  The cake is quick and easy to make and I heartily recommend it.

Here is another from this baking without milk series: Baking without…Milk: Orange Marmalade Cake

The “Baking without…” series begins here: Baking without…Eggs: Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Baking without…Milk: Orange Marmalade Cake

Today I am revisiting the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day to do some “Baking Without…Milk”. While fresh milk was never rationed in the United States, shortages and additions to rationing were always a possibility. Woman’s Day wanted to provide women with options when it came to baking for their families no matter what was in their pantry.

I recently blogged about another orange cake, the Pillsbury’s 75th Anniversary Cake. If you are interested in following the “Baking without…” series from the start, you can begin with Baking without…Eggs: Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Glaze.

Orange Marmalade Cake

1/4 c shortening

1 c sugar

2 eggs, grade B

3 tbsp marmalade

grated rind of one orange

2 1/2 c sifted cake flour

3/4 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

2/3 c water

1/2 tsp lemon extract

Cream the shortening then add the sugar gradually, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly. Add the marmalade and the grated orange rind. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the water and lemon extract. Pour batter into two greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake in a moderate oven, 350 °F for 40 minutes. Put the two layers together with frosting.

Note: 40 minutes would have been too long for this cake in my oven. The frosting used to put the cake together is a simple modern chocolate frosting recipe. It was the perfect compliment to the orange flavor of the cake.

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Results

The cake was a bit dry, but that’s not surprising when you look over the list of ingredients. It’s not terribly dry, but if you are a fan of moist cakes. this might not be for you. The orange flavor, though…

I mentioned in a previous post that I keep finding recipes for orange cakes, so I wasn’t really surprised when “Baking without…Milk” included this orange marmalade cake. I wondered why they seemed to be so popular, but after having two cakes this month flavored with orange rinds and marmalade, I am beginning to understand. The orange flavor is just right. It’s sweet but not overly so, and it goes well with so many different other flavors. The chocolate frosting with the orange was a great combo. One of my boys is about to turn 15 and he has now requested an orange cake for his birthday. Why isn’t orange cake a more popular option today? Is it where you live?

I’m going to continue “Baking without…Milk” over the next several days, then I have some other post ideas about life in the kitchen. Home front housewives had things other than cooking to do and I’d like to visit some of those topics.

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Victory Lunch Box: Split Pea Soup

One of a home front housewife’s jobs was to pack lunches for her family. Her husband, if not at war, would need a lunch for work. Her children needed packed lunches for school. If she was part of the growing number of women working outside the home, she would need a lunch herself. Of course, packed lunches weren’t the only option Americans had for lunch, but they were a great way to save money, stretch food, and make sure every member of the family had a nutritious meal three times a day.

Many magazines and cookbooks included menus that provided leftovers to be used the following day in a lunch box. This soup could be part of an evening meal and then put in a small vacuum container the next day and tucked next to a sandwich or some fruit in a lunch box. This kind of soup was especially good for lunch boxes because it was hearty and filling. Add some bread and you had a meal that could get you through an afternoon at the factory or at school.

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Split Pea Soup

1 lb split peas (you can also use Navy beans)

2 qt boiling water

ham hock or leftover pieces of ham

3-4 cloves

1 onion

1/2 bay leaf

a piece of red pepper pod

3 1/2 c irradiated evaporated milk

salt to taste

Pick over peas, wash, cover with cold water, and soak overnight. Drain, add the boiling water, ham, cloves, onion, bay leaf, and red paper. Bring to a boil. Cook slowly until the peas are tender. Add milk and salt to taste. Makes about 3 1/4 quarts.

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Results

I used red pepper flakes instead of the red pepper pod. I also only used about half of an onion. We all peppered our individual bowls of soup. I also made the soup one night and then reheated and put it in a small thermos the next day to see how it would be in a lunch box.

The first night the soup was delicious. It was thick and warm and made a filling meal with the addition of bread.  Having had a chance for the flavors to mingle overnight, the second-day soup in the thermos was even better. I added some homemade bread that my teenage daughter baked, and had a satisfying lunch. I think that adding some fruit, a sandwich or a dessert would help anyone get through their afternoon without a need for a snack.

This recipe comes from a 50-page booklet that was specifically written for housewives who needed ideas for packing and planning lunches. It’s from 1943 and is part of a series of “Hook-up” cookbooks. There is a hole in the middle of each page that allows the housewife to hang the booklet at eye level. This helps keep the booklet clean and makes it easier to read the recipe. The picture on the front of the booklet shows the soups packaged for lunch boxes in waxed paper cups.

 

 

 

Pillsbury’s 75th Anniversary Cake

My birthday was this week. What better way to celebrate than to bake a WWII era cake? I’ve had the Pillsbury’s Diamond Anniversary Recipes cookbook for a while and haven’t had a chance to make anything from it. This seemed like a good time to do so.

The Cookbook was published in celebration of Pillsbury’s 75th anniversary in 1944. It’s more of a large booklet than a cookbook, and it also contains little stories, poems, and anecdotes about the 1944 readers’ grandmothers and great-grandmothers. The recipes range from cakes to cookies to casseroles. I chose the cake that was specifically created for the cookbook, the Pillsbury’s 75th Anniversary Cake.

The lighting isn’t great in the pictures. I apologize for that. It was much later in the day than I had hoped it would be when I took them.

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Pillsbury’s 75th Anniversary Cake

2 1/2 c Pillsbury’s Best Enriched Flour

4 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 3 tsp double acting)

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 c shortening

1 tbsp grated orange rind

1 1/2 c sugar

3 eggs

1 c milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together three times. Blend shortening and orange rind. Add sugar gradually, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat about one minute after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternately with combined milk and flavoring. Mix well after each addition. Beat well after last addition only. Turn into well-greased layer cake pans. Cool before frosting. Put layers together with Fluffy Orange Frosting.

Fluffy Orange Frosting

2 1/4 c sugar

7 tbsp water

3/8 tsp cream of tartar

3 egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp yellow food coloring

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp grated orange rind

Combine first four ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Beat slightly to mix ingredients. Place over rapidly boiling water, beat with rotary beater until mixture will hold a peak (about 7 minutes). Remove from boiling water and add salt and yellow food coloring. Add vanilla and orange rind. Beat until thick and cooled, or until frosting holds its shape.

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Results

This recipe just didn’t work very well. My cake was a bit dry, and the frosting was really sweet and a bit gritty from the sugar not dissolving. The good news is that these are things that can be fixed with a few tweaks. The flavor of the cake is actually really good. It has a mild orange flavor. My husband doesn’t like anything with orange rind in it and he agrees that this is a nice, sweet orange without the bitterness orange peel often adds. The frosting is also flavored similarly and could be amazing if adjusted to be less sweet and gritty.

While this wasn’t exactly a win in the kitchen, it gives me a new challenge to work on. The light orange flavor is definitely worth trying again.

The day I made this cake, I read a magazine article that included three more orange cake recipes. I find that interesting. Was orange cake popular in the 1940s? I’m definitely going to do some research on this, and I think we’ll try one or two more of those cake recipes, too.