Tag Archives: 1943

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.

Small Summer Fruits: Fruit Crumble

The August 1943 issue of Woman’s Day included an article called “The Small Summer Fruits” in the war food section. The article included a selection of recipes for berries, cherries, currants, and other small fruits. I thought this would be a great time to try these 75-year-old recipes since fruits and berries are plentiful right now. We will start with a fruit crumble. Without the fruit, this recipe would have cost 8 cents in 1943.

We used raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries in our crumble. We also doubled the recipe because we were feeding 9 people. I’m including the original recipe here.

Fruit Crumble

2 c. prepared berries, cherries, or currants

2/3 c. sugar*

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp margarine

2/3 c. sifted flour

1/8 tsp salt

Place the fruit in the bottom of a 1-quart baking dish with half of the sugar. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Blend the margarine, remaining sugar, flour, and salt together. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit. Bake for 40 minutes at 350°. Serve hot or cold.

*If currants or gooseberries are used, increase the sugar to 3/4 cups.

Results

We ate this shortly after it came out of the oven. It was very sweet and the topping was lightly crunchy. The strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries we used were fresh and sweet, but the added sugar took that sweetness up a notch. This is the kind of recipe that just begs to be eaten with ice cream, so a few of my testers added some vanilla ice cream to their serving. It would make a nice ending to an outdoor neighborhood get-together or would top off a night of board games or stargazing. I like how the taste experience will change depending on the fruits chosen. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

I’d like to include one or two more of the recipes from this article. There were some less familiar dishes that I’d like to try. Addie from @sugaraddies lent her hand with this crumble. As always, I appreciate her talents.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Green Beans in Mustard Sauce

During World War II, Woman’s Day magazine included a section at the front of each month’s issue that was called the “Woman’s Day War Food Bulletin”. This section included information about current rationing issues and offered tips for canning, gardening, and shopping. The shopping portion included a list of plentiful foods and ways to cook them.

Victory gardens were in full swing by July 1943 and were providing families with food they could use in daily meals. Victory gardens were a great way to make sure families had fresh vegetables and fruits without using rationing stamps for canned products. This allowed each family to use points for other foods they needed. Canning the harvest also helped families make it through lean times. Recipes that helped a woman deal with the multitude of fruits and vegetables the gardens produced were helpful, especially when trying new vegetables for the first time, or when a staple was becoming boring.

Green beans were popular in gardens, and Woman’s Day had the home front housewife covered when it came to finding new ways to fix them.

Green Beans in Mustard Sauce

This recipe calls for 3 cups cooked green beans and asks that you keep 3/4 cup of your cooking water for the sauce.

Sauce:

1 1/2 tbsp bacon fat

3 tbsp flour

2 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

3/4 c undiluted evaporated milk

3/4 c vegetable cooking water

Add the flour and seasonings to the bacon fat in a saucepan, then gradually add the evaporated milk and water. Stir constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Add the green beans and stir until they are coated with the sauce mixture. Let them warm in the saucepan, and then they are ready to serve with your main dish.

 

A couple notes: I crumbled up 3 bacon strips and added them to the finished beans. I had an extra cup of green beans and added them. There seemed to be a perfect amount of sauce for 4 cups, so if you like less sauce on your veggies, consider adding more green beans.

 

Results

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The green beans were evenly coated. The sauce had a mild mustard flavor and was thick enough to cling to the beans as you lifted them with your fork. It had the consistency of a thick gravy. The bacon added a nice crunch and good flavor. These beans would be the perfect complement to pork chops, chicken, or a steak.

This dish could definitely be made with either fresh or canned beans, making it the perfect Victory garden recipe. It was quick and easy to make.