Foods That Will Win The War And How To Cook Them
September 13, 2012 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Foods That Will Win The War And How To Cook Them (1918) by Goudiss and Goudiss
posted by aniola (37 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm vegetarian, but the Cheese as a Meat Substitute section with recipes such as CHEESE AND CABBAGE and CELERY-CHEESE SCALLOP... well, I'm doubting those won the war.
posted by vegartanipla at 10:14 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fascinating stuff, warning - contains the weirdest Shepherd's Pie recipe ever [page 43]
posted by fallingbadgers at 10:17 PM on September 13, 2012


I always wondered what scrapple was and now I know it's worse than I ever thought:

SCRAPPLE

Place a pig's head in 4 quarts of cold water and bring slowly to the boil. Skim carefully and season the liquid highly with salt, cayenne and a teaspoon of rubbed sage. Let the liquid simmer gently until the meat falls from the bones. Strain off the liquid, remove the bones, and chop the meat fine.

Measure the liquid and allow 1 cup of sifted cornmeal to 3 cups of liquid. Blend the cornmeal in the liquid and simmer until it is the consistency of thick porridge. Stir in the chopped meat and pour in greased baking pans to cool. One-third buckwheat may be used instead of cornmeal, and any kind of chopped meat can be blended with the pork if desired. Any type of savory herb can also be used, according to taste.

When scrapple is to be eaten, cut into one-half inch slices, dredge with flour, and brown in hot fat.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:17 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


That doesn't sound so bad. At least it's not brains or tripe.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:21 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boiled leather is too good for these foodie snobs.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is actually useful and relevant information about how to cut down on food waste peppered between some weird (and not so weird) recipes.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:28 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was really interesting. A lot of it had already come to me via the maternal line but interesting nonetheless.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:36 PM on September 13, 2012


Actually, Celery-Cheese Scallops were instrumental in 4th Army's breaking of the Hindenburg Line in late September 1918. Little known fact.

Of course, in one of those terrible ironies, the British forgot this lesson, and it was left to the Germans to remind them about the value of food in war twenty years later.
posted by Palindromedary at 10:38 PM on September 13, 2012


That's terrible, the government telling people what to eat, and how to eat! /hamburger and a 64 oz soda, please

Once upon a time when we went to war, there was great and shared virtue (in popular culture, at least, if not practiced as widely as it would have us believe) in making personal sacrifices for The War Effort. During the Second World War, my grandmother had a victory garden, and volunteered with a local women's organization to help residents learn about growing food and canning and conserving and whatnot.

Now? Pop culture tells about the real housewives of wherever and we're told it's our patriotic duty to drive huge cars and to go into debt to support the economy, or something. It's depressing.
posted by rtha at 10:43 PM on September 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


When they say 'fat', what do they mean? If I went to the fridge right now, looking for fat, I'd have no idea what I'm supposed to pull out. Bacon fat saved in a jar? Lard? Shortening of some kind? Would butter work as a substitute? Olive oil?
posted by fatbird at 11:22 PM on September 13, 2012


When they say 'fat', what do they mean? If I went to the fridge right now, looking for fat, I'd have no idea what I'm supposed to pull out. Bacon fat saved in a jar? Lard? Shortening of some kind? Would butter work as a substitute? Olive oil?

Probably what you can take away from their use of that word is that "fat" was generally what you had on hand and recipes were not as picky about it. Almost any household right now probably has at least 2 or 3 possible "fats" in it but I don't think that was very common in WWII.
posted by WaylandSmith at 11:39 PM on September 13, 2012


I don't care what it is, I want to eat some goddamned, All-American BATTLE PUDDING!
(Scroll down just a bit for the recipe.)
posted by ronofthedead at 11:44 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is exactly the sort of thing I like, especially since I just finished watching the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. Thanks for posting it! I saw several recipes that looked good, though I'd be tempted to tweak them with a more modern helping of spices and less salt/fat. And this made me smile: "Select your meat or fish personally. There is no doubt that high retail prices are due to the tendency of many housewives to do their buying by telephone or through their servants." NO DOUBT.

rtha: During the Second World War, my grandmother had a victory garden, and volunteered with a local women's organization to help residents learn about growing food and canning and conserving and whatnot.

One of my favourite cookbooks/food books is Jane and Michael Stern's Square Meals; it has a chapter called "Victory Dining" that features recipes from WWII Victory Garden recipe pamphlets. Fascinating stuff.

fatbird: When they say 'fat', what do they mean? If I went to the fridge right now, looking for fat, I'd have no idea what I'm supposed to pull out. Bacon fat saved in a jar? Lard? Shortening of some kind? Would butter work as a substitute? Olive oil?

I was just wondering that myself. For baking, I guess veg shortening or butter; for soups and other things I'd probably sub olive oil. Oh wait, here is a list on p. 85:
GROUP 5.—Foods depended on for fat.

Butter and cream,
Lard, suet,
Salt pork and bacon,
Table and salad oils,
Vegetable, nut, and commercial cooking fats and oils.

If from each of these groups the housekeeper, when buying, chooses the lowest-cost food, she will provide the necessary nutriment for the least expenditure of money. In war time such marketing is essential.
So I guess one would decide on either liquid or solid fat and go with what was cheapest (back then).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:49 PM on September 13, 2012


MaryDellamorte  I always wondered what scrapple was and now I know it's worse than I ever thought:

In other words, it's pork (scraps or offal, usually, in this case scrap meat) with the gelatin, cornmeal, and herbs. I know you don't eat meat, but what makes meat from the cheekbones materially more offensive than meat from a rib?

Scrapple is not a lost alien concoction once forced on war babies deprived of decent ham. They sell it in supermarkets in the eastern United States. You can order it for breakfast in diners. I like it.
posted by hat at 11:58 PM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was interested in the sugarless desserts section, until I saw that almost all of them have 1/2 a cup or more of corn syrup in them. I guess that's where it all started...
posted by lollusc at 12:10 AM on September 14, 2012


You can pry my scrapple from my cold, dead cheekbones.
posted by mek at 12:15 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I know you don't eat meat, but what makes meat from the cheekbones materially more offensive than meat from a rib?

In fact, pork cheek is one of the most delicious parts of the pig. OMG (not WWI food).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:15 AM on September 14, 2012


In other news, what the hell kind of lentils have to be soaked overnight, boiled until soft, then baked another 30 minutes? I'm a fan of slow food, but that's nuts.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:18 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


vegartanipla  I'm vegetarian, but the Cheese as a Meat Substitute section with recipes such as CHEESE AND CABBAGE and CELERY-CHEESE SCALLOP... well, I'm doubting those won the war.

That recipe for cheese and cabbage is identical to what was probably set on a thousand middle American supper tables tonight, no exaggeration. People bake cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower in white sauce with cheese all the time. Scalloped celery is more old-fashioned, but not so old that it's disappeared.

I didn't grow up eating any of the foods in this cookbook, but I still recognize them as slightly sparser versions of recipes millions of people are cooking and eating every day in 2012. Scrapple, scalloped cabbage, and even the legume loaf are on American tables. Why look down on eating dishes a "great-grandmother would have recognized as food," as per the sacred credo?
posted by hat at 1:03 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


When they say 'fat', what do they mean?

I'd bet that "fat" means, almost invariably, any hard, animal derived fat, ie lard or dripping, suet if you're lucky.

In other news, what the hell kind of lentils have to be soaked overnight, boiled until soft, then baked another 30 minutes?

Partly, I reckon that's olden times 'what be this strange foodstuff, Beryl? Shall'n we cook it into a sludge?' and partly I think it might be that a lot of those odder (then) things weren't as fresh as we get them now. I've had old recipes call for amounts of spices that would blister your tongue, and I read/heard it's because those spices were likely to have travelled more slowly, and spent more time on shelves.
posted by thylacinthine at 1:40 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


When they say 'fat', what do they mean?

When I was a kid in the 1970s, my parents had a lidded white enamel pot with a black metal strainer insert (with fairly widely spaced small holes, not a sieve) through which they would pour the fat running off whatever meat they had been cooking - beef, lamb, chicken, pork. It all went in and solidified below, to be kept in the fridge. Then whenever you needed some fat to start off a recipe, you'd use a tablespoon of that stuff. If you wanted to make chips, you'd scoop out the whole lot into the chip pan - and empty it all back in afterwards.

Then in the 1980s they discovered cholesterol and canola oil, and the fat pot disappeared.
posted by rory at 3:53 AM on September 14, 2012


WAR BREAD! (The Kaiser and his Huns call it "Pumpernickel")
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:43 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scrapple: if they called it ham and grits nobody would bat a eye. It's the fact that they're boiling the meat off the head that freaks everybody out. There's just something about eating a face...
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:56 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder whether things like fish cakes and scrapple -- recipes where one essentially grinds up meat, thickens it, and works it into a serving for the plate -- all derive from one primal recipe back in the mists of time. It sounds like the original way to deal with "leftovers", and it works pretty well.
posted by mr. digits at 5:03 AM on September 14, 2012


I've read it posited that wartime food shortages were largely artificial; entreating the populace to be frugal, to save aluminum foil scraps, etc., more to engage them in the effort than out of real need--everyone felt like they were pitching in and sharing the suffering. After reading some of those recipes, I'd say they were definitely doing the latter.

My 1942 copy of The American Woman's Cookbook contains many suggestions for wartime frugality, including substituting maple syrup and sugar for white. It'd cost a fortune to do that now (but would make many things tastier).
posted by kinnakeet at 5:56 AM on September 14, 2012


I always wondered what scrapple was....

*snerk* The first time I encountered it was on a class field trip in Junior High - me and my friends were all served it and asked our waiter what the weird slab on our plates was, and he gleefully announced that it was "Scrapple!" When we further inquired what scrapple was, he said, "little pieces of dead animal ground up into a patty!"

I do not recall any of us eating it after that.

No overview of cooking-during-wartime is complete without mentioning M.F.K. Fisher's marvelous How To Cook A Wolf, written in 1942 in the midst of WW II rationing. It's not so much a cookbook as it is a response to the need for frugality in the kitchen, and how to cope with it. Some of the things she says about diet and meal planning are absolutely ahead of their time, and she has a lot of wonderful things to say about how to sustain the soul as well as the stomach (because no system of frugality is going to work if you can't feel like you're eating well).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


What the hell is onion juice and where can I get some to put in my bloody mary?
posted by LiteOpera at 6:26 AM on September 14, 2012


> What the hell is onion juice and where can I get some to put in my bloody mary?

Squeeze an onion? Or use the juice from a jar of pickled onions I guess.

> I've read it posited that wartime food shortages were largely artificial; entreating the populace to be frugal, to save aluminum foil scraps, etc., more to engage them in the effort than out of real need--everyone felt like they were pitching in and sharing the suffering. After reading some of those recipes, I'd say they were definitely doing the latter.

In the UK at least, there were almost certainly shortages of some types of food - I'm fairly certain we weren't self sufficient before the war. Part of the reason why the convoys were so important I think.
posted by MrBear at 6:44 AM on September 14, 2012


Forced rationing of food for a larger cause is such an interesting subject. I worked on a project where we photographed recipes from MFK Fisher's 'How to Cook a Wolf.' It's amazing how creative you can get even when faced with rations. My favorites were the tomato soup cake and the sardine pie. They were actually pretty good. The chicken foot soup was a little bit strange, maybe it just needed more salt.

When researching the project we looked at a lot of the women's magazines of the time, who were all cheery about the wartime efforts and how it was important to make sacrifices for our boys overseas. Such a contrast with MFK Fisher, who was able to be indulgent even with limited resources. It mainly has to do with a state of mind, and finding beauty even in things like scrapple. It can be cooked well, and taste amazing, even more so when you're used to not having basics like butter and sugar.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 7:02 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's some great advice in here. I like, for example:

Bread often molds, especially in warm, moist weather. Trim off moldy spots and heat through. Keep the bread box sweet by scalding and sunning once a week.

and

Lemons when cut often grow moldy before they are used. When lemons are spoiling, squeeze out the juice, make a syrup of one cup of sugar and one cup of water, boil ten minutes and add lemon juice in any amount up to one cup. Bring to boiling point and bottle for future use. This bottled juice may be used for puddings, beverages, etc. If only a small amount of juice is needed, prick one end of a lemon with a fork. Squeeze out the amount needed and store the lemon in the ice-box.
posted by aniola at 8:16 AM on September 14, 2012


Fish Shortcake sounds like the least successful children's character ever.
posted by elizardbits at 8:21 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


> What the hell is onion juice and where can I get some to put in my bloody mary?

Grate an onion finely, put what you get into a piece of cheesecloth, gather the cheesecloth up and squeeze. There you are. This gets called for in tiny quantities (we're talking a few drops) in things like salad dressings. Here's Bittman on onion juice.

> When they say 'fat', what do they mean?

As Rory and thylacinthine relate, one would have a supply of solid animal fat on hand most likely from saved drippings, or possibly lard or rendered suet (tallow), which you may have rendered yourself. If what was needed was specifically shortening, butter, or liquid oil of some sort, generally those things are called for by name in cookbooks of the era.
posted by jocelmeow at 8:52 AM on September 14, 2012


I think it's interesting that today, our government would be asking us not to GROW our own food and to eat less, but to purchase more prepared food and lots of it, so as to stimulate the economy and fatten the purses of the companies involved in production, and using all kinds of crazy data to justify it: Eat meat to make strong soldiers. HFCS is patriotic. Buy American. GMO is good food AND good warfare.
posted by QuakerMel at 9:06 AM on September 14, 2012


Also interesting--that almost 100 years ago, this was what Americans thought could make a tomato sauce 'Mexican':

MEXICAN SAUCE

To one cup tomato sauce, add

2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
3 tablespoons chopped celery
3 tablespoons chopped carrot
posted by QuakerMel at 9:13 AM on September 14, 2012


Some folks still use a fat pot of one sort or another. My ex-MIL does. I did in the 90s. Bacon drippings are the best fat for frying eggs. And scrapple may not be pretty, but it's tasty, especially with applesauce.
posted by notashroom at 10:07 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


What the hell is onion juice?

And it used to come in this cool container. (Big nostalgia rush for me, remembering this in my Mom's cupboard.)
posted by benito.strauss at 10:30 AM on September 14, 2012


That scrapple recipe is for city folk. Scrapple should have a large percentage of meat coming from pork liver. The source of the scraps doesn't matter so much, we always saved the head for "Souse". You do need a lot of bones so that you abstract the gelatin while boiling, thus helping it set up. The way to think about scrapple is that it is basically giblet gravy (made with pork, thickened with corn flour and spiced with sage and red pepper) that you let solidify, and then fry. Alternatively, its also a lot like fried polenta, but with meat mixed in.
posted by 445supermag at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


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