Tag Archives: History

Advertising Recipes: Lunch Boxes

I went through my collection of vintage magazines and found several ads that were aimed at the home front housewife in charge of packing lunches during rationing. A few of these ads also included recipes, and I thought they might be a fun way to continue our discussion about packed lunches this month. Today I chose ads that showcase sandwich spreads that added protein, a punch of flavor, and helped stretch rationed foods like butter.

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The first ad for today was in the April 14, 1944 issue of The Family Circle. I’m having a bit of trouble finding any information about Beverly Peanut Butter or the Table Products Company, but I’ll keep searching and update if I can. I liked the illustration in this advertisement. Notice the style of lunch boxes. One man has a vacuum bottle, possibly a Thermos, and the other man has a glass bottle with a straw. Beverly Peanut Butter’s marketing folks also made sure that the ad included that the peanuts were only from the United States and that the product was jarred fresh. Housewives were encouraged to keep their home front fighters and future soldiers healthy, so the ad mentioned that the peanut butter has protein and vitamins A and B1.

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This French’s Mustard ad from the August 1943 issue of Woman’s Day was all about packing lunches for hard-working men. Again, you can see the flip-top lidded lunch box, and a small insulated bottle that perhaps held a warm soup.

Butter was rationed in the United States beginning in March of 1943. The French’s advertisement included a recipe that would help stretch a housewife’s sandwich butter. Since it also mentioned that French’s is “especially delicious with meat or cheese,” we decided to have the mustard-butter as an addition to a ham sandwich. We’ve never tried this combo before.

French’s Mustard-Butter

Blend 2 tbsp of mustard into 4 tbsp of softened butter or margarine.

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Results

We used butter for our spread. Most of the testers like mustard. I like it in small amounts, so I was curious to see what the addition of butter would do to the bite that mustard usually has.

I toasted the bread and I spread a moderate amount of the mustard-butter on one slice. I topped that with a slice of ham and some Swiss cheese.

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I was pleasantly surprised. The butter made the mustard less sharp. You could also taste the butter in addition to the mustard. I had thought the butter flavor would be lost due to the fact that mustard is definitely the strongest flavor. The mixture was creamy and easy to spread. It would be an interesting addition to your condiments, and it could also act as a fun conversation starter when you have guests.

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I’m glad we tried this, and I’ll be adding more recipes from ads in the future. I’ve also added some images to my 1940s lunch boxes board on Pinterest.

Do you use this mix of butter and mustard on your sandwiches? Do you know anything about Beverly Peanut Butter? Leave me a comment below.

 

 

Victory Lunch Boxes: Introduction and Chili-Peanut Sandwich Filling

The home front housewife had many new challenges when World War II began. Shortages and rationing made cooking challenging due to having to learn new recipes with new ingredients and new ways of cooking. Those changes also led to changes in how packed lunches were planned and prepared. Leftovers from meals the night before were used in new and creative ways. Housewives became especially adept at planning meals with those leftovers in mind. Working men needed one type of lunch while school children might need something else entirely. And don’t forget that the housewife herself needed to eat, too. That had to be planned with the packed lunches so food wouldn’t be wasted.

I want to do a short series on Victory lunch boxes over the next week or so, then I’d like to add a regular lunch box post that will explore recipes, planning, tips for packing the food, advice on the best lunchboxes and Thermos to keep your food safe and fresh, and suggestions for lunch box menus for all types of people that might need to carry a meal with them during the day.  I will definitely include period recipes for different lunch box foods.

One of my favorite sources is a 50-page pamphlet from 1943 called 300 Helpful Suggestions for Your Victory Lunch Box. It’s called a “hook-up cook book” because it was designed to be hung at eye level so the cook could more easily read the recipe. The hole in the center of every page was created to be hung on small nails that the housewife would attach to her upper cabinets or a shelf. This also kept the cookbook protected from splashes and dirty fingerprints.

This first page has an introductory passage that speaks directly to housewives. The first lines suggest that careful food management will win the war. “Food management, one of wartime’s most important jobs, rests squarely on the shoulders of the American homemaker. Food will win the war and make the peace only if it is administered wisely by the meal planners of the nation so that supplies will be adequate to meet the ever-increasing demands.”

As with many other wartime publications, women were encouraged to do their part to win the war from on the home front. The passage says this is a way that housewives can contribute directly to winning the war. And they weren’t wrong, Women banding together to make sure rationing and other programs worked really did help contribute to victory.

My next post will start this series, but for now, I’ll leave you with a sandwich filling recipe from the pamphlet I mentioned above.

Chili-Peanut Sandwich Filling

1/4 c. peanut butter (We used creamy since we were adding in chopped peanuts.)

2 tbsp cream

2 tbsp chili sauce

1/4 c. finely chopped salted peanuts

Combine peanut butter, cream, and chili sauce. Add the peanuts. Mix well.

We toasted our bread first, then spread a layer of the filling on one slice. We were all a little hesitant to try this sandwich, but it ended up being pretty tasty. The chopped peanuts gave it a nice crunchy texture. The peanut butter wasn’t too thick due to the addition of the cream and chili sauce. I could taste the chili sauce, but it surprisingly complimented the peanut butter well. My husband added jelly to his and said that the combination of the sweet jelly and the chili flavored peanut butter was wonderful.

This would be a great option for a lunch box sandwich. The protein from the peanut butter and the carbs from the sandwich would be filling.

I’d recommend trying this one. It’s super easy to mix together and is a nice change from traditional PB&J sandwiches.

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Baking without…Sugar: Rolled Maple Lace Wafers

Sugar was first rationed in 1942. It was the first consumer commodity rationed but was soon to be followed by items like meat, coffee, and processed foods. Beginning on May 5, 1942, each person could receive a half pound of sugar a week. A pound of granulated sugar contains roughly 2 cups. In 1942, this was cutting the average family’s sugar consumption in half.

Home front housewives struggled to adapt to cooking with new restrictions, and magazines and cookbooks provided recipes to help them find appealing dishes for their family meals and desserts. This series of recipes is from the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. For recipes that don’t use eggs, check out that series beginning with Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Glaze

This recipe is the first of three that don’t require sugar. Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. These little cookies still tasted terrific, they just weren’t anything like the recipe suggests they should be! More on that in a minute.

Rolled Maple Lace Wafers.

1/2 c. maple-flavored pancake syrup

1/4 c. margarine

1/2 c. sifted flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

A few grains of salt

Combine the syrup and margarine in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. When it is at a hard boil, keep it there for 30 seconds. Sift the remaining ingredients together and add them all at once to the syrup and margarine mixture. Stir briskly. This dough will be lumpy. Drop half teaspoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet about 5 inches apart. Bake at 350° for 6 to 8 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute. Remove each wafer from the cookie sheet and roll it around a round handled spoon, then place it on a rack to cool. Don’t bake more than 8 cookies at once because they will harden too fast to roll on the spoon. If they do harden too much, you can return them to the oven for a few seconds.

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Results

The cookies should be little rolled wafers. We tried over and over to get this recipe to work, but we finally gave up and just baked them as cookies. Our cookies were too cakey inside to allow them to roll without breaking. The recipe says it makes about 2 1/2 dozen wafers, but if you make cookies the size of the ones you see here, it only makes about a dozen.

The cookies were tasty. They were soft and tasted like maple syrup on a pancake. They did taste better fresh out of the oven, so warming them when cold would probably be best. We ate them with tea and milk.

 

The Dishes

The cookies are displayed on an Anchor Hocking Vintage pattern snack set from the 1950s-1960s. These snack sets are handy for serving everything from sandwiches to cookies. We’ve used them for brunches, luncheons, afternoon teas, parties, and bedtime snacks. I’m not sure why these don’t seem to be made anymore. They are amazingly versatile.

The Perfect Patriotic Playlist from WWII

Music has long been a way to help us process strong emotions about important events, not just for happy days like birthdays and weddings, but also for difficult times. During World War II, music took a patriotic turn as we first watched and then participated in the fighting overseas.  Since today is a day of remembrance for Americans, I thought we could revisit some of the songs that helped us get through the war years.

 

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Andrews Sisters, 1941

This is one of my very favorites. It has just the right amount of pep and optimism. I chose this video because the Andrews Sisters are fun to watch in action.

 

Remember Pearl Harbor

Eddie Howard and his Orchestra, 1942

 

Vict’ry Polka

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, 1943

 

Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)

Andrews Sisters, 1942

This was one of the most popular versions of this song. The song was originally an updated version of a 19th century English folk song that was used in a 1939 musical. The lyrics were changed when the war started, and the song became a huge hit.

 

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

The Merry Macs, 1942

 

God Bless America

Irving Berlin, 1938

Originally written by Berlin in 1918, it was revised in 1938 just in time to be a big hit during World War II. Kate Smith was well-known for singing this song.

I’ve included two versions. The second one is with the Victor Military Band and you can find it here:

God Bless America

 

G.I. Jive

Johnny Mercer, 1944

 

Just in case you are looking for more…

The links above are to archive.org. Original recordings are uploaded so visitors can hear what they sound like. Be careful–exploring the site can be addictive! There are plenty more options there as well as songs from different eras to add to your playlist.

History on the Net also has a page with a great selection of patriotic World War II songs.

 

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.