'A slice of bread seems an unimportant thing.....'
March 4, 2010 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Foods That Will Win The War (and how to cook them)
posted by anastasiav (39 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
FATS - Use just enough.

Glad we cleared that up.
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder how support for the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan would hold up if it was accompanied by WW2-style food ration coupons.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:23 AM on March 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


[enters snooty reviewer mode]

Thanks for this.

I actually find it more interesting as a historic document, though, rather than a cookbook; their emphasis is a bit too much on stodgy "meat and two veg" kinds of meal planning. When it comes to actually using-this-as-a-cooking-reference quality, I find How To Cook A Wolf is much better.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, I did a lot of rabbit hunting with my grandfather. I enjoyed the time in the outdoors and the taste of the beast, but I think he saw it as doing his duty to the nation as well.
posted by Sukiari at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2010


Great post, but PG has a terrible scan of the images. The version is much more clear.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:32 AM on March 4, 2010


er..The Google Books version is much more clear!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:33 AM on March 4, 2010


That's a really interesting point, Joe Beese. In both the world wars the North American citizenry was enlisted in the war effort. They knitted socks, and made sheets and bandages for the soldiers, volunteered for the Red Cross, used ration cards for food and gas, planted victory gardens, bought War Bonds, were warned that "loose lips sink ships" and in general tried to save and serve. Starting with Korea, there's been none of that. Manufacturing has changed dramatically since then, so you can argue it's no longer necessary, but it also says something about the populace's interest in and commitment to war. Now, instead, there's a general effort to enlist everyone's help to preserve the environment. I have to admit the environment suits me better as a cause.
posted by orange swan at 8:34 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


In both the world wars the North American citizenry was enlisted in the war effort. They knitted socks, and made sheets and bandages for the soldiers, volunteered for the Red Cross, used ration cards for food and gas, planted victory gardens, bought War Bonds, were warned that "loose lips sink ships" and in general tried to save and serve. Starting with Korea, there's been none of that.

Hey, Dubya told people to go out and shop after 9/11! That counts, right?

(VERY, VERY big hamburger. Seriously.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:35 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]




CLAMS A LA BECHAMEL
1 cup chopped clams
1½ cups milk
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons fat
3 tablespoons flour ½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Yolks of 2 eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs
[pg 48]
Scald bay-leaf in milk. Make sauce, by melting fat with flour; add dry ingredients, and gradually add the liquid. Add egg. Add fish. Put in baking dish. Cover top with breadcrumbs. Bake 20 minutes.



Those old goats told me they had it hard back then. Is this what hard times look like?

*shakes my Andy Rooney style head*
posted by nola at 8:40 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey, we sacrifice plenty for the Iraq war! Don't you realize how much we spent on Yellow Ribbon Magnets!? And some of that money might have gone to help soldiers, maybe!
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:40 AM on March 4, 2010


Joe Beese: I wonder how support for the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan would hold up if it was accompanied by WW2-style food ration coupons.

From page 199: Of our men we ask their lives; Of ourselves, a little less food.

I really can't even imagine how Americans today would handle food rationing. Sacrifice for others OK, but not if it means one less Starbucks latte or downgrading to a medium order of fries with your BK® Triple Stacker.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:41 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of Americans think that our allies won WWI and WWII because of our military might and superior abilities. Truth is we got used. They didn't need or even want us over there, they wanted our stuff. Sure, our ample framed, warm bodies made good things to duck behind in a fire fight or to keep a lonely widow warm on a grey December evening, but it was our food, our steel, our oil, and our unbombed factories that won the wars.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:42 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, you know ...Russians doing that annoying "Not Giving Up" thing.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on March 4, 2010


Also, you know ...Russians doing that annoying "Not Giving Up" thing.

That only works for WWII.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:47 AM on March 4, 2010


I concur.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on March 4, 2010


So the hundreds of thousands of European, Commonwealth, Polish, African troops whose cemeteries around the world are still being carefully tended are the stupid ones who didn't get fast enough behind an ample-framed US body? Not sure I quite follow that argument, Pollomacho. As a Brit (who remembers food rationing well into the 1950s) I was always brought up to respect our own war dead, but also to be grateful for the US intervention which finally swung the scales as we were gasping and preparing for the worst. I'm not saying your food, your steel, your oil, your unbombed factories weren't very welcome, but to say that we (Europeans) didn't need or even want you over here is a mind-boggling misrepresentation.
posted by aqsakal at 8:54 AM on March 4, 2010


(I think Pollomacho was kidding, aqsakal.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 AM on March 4, 2010


I read somewhere that a common refrain of servicemen over in Iraq/Afghanisatan is "America isn't at war. The Army is at war. America is at the mall."
posted by PenDevil at 8:57 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The "wars" today involve like 2% of the population.
posted by stbalbach at 9:04 AM on March 4, 2010


Use of Gelatine in Combining Leftovers

:s
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:05 AM on March 4, 2010


So why did the pork, mutton, and beef get shipped across the sea if peanuts and beans would have done as well and been easier to transport?
posted by amber_dale at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2010


I really can't even imagine how Americans today would handle food rationing. Sacrifice for others OK, but not if it means one less Starbucks latte or downgrading to a medium order of fries with your BK® Triple Stacker.

I think that's actually a big sticking point. Let's say, for argument's sake, that the populace decided war was a great idea, and that, yes, they ought to ration their intake for the effort. How many people do you, personally, know who would be able to follow any of the recipes in this booklet? Or do you hand out ration coupons for buckets of chicken and pints of lo mein?
posted by uncleozzy at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2010


EmpressCallipygos: (I think Pollomacho was kidding, aqsakal.)

Always had a lot of difficulty understanding American humour. (They even spell it wrong.) If you were kidding, Pollomacho, my face is very red.
posted by aqsakal at 9:16 AM on March 4, 2010


Also, you know ...Russians doing that annoying "Not Giving Up" thing.

Without American production the United Nations could never have won the war - Joseph Stalin, Tehran Conference, November 1943

So the hundreds of thousands of European, Commonwealth, Polish, African troops whose cemeteries around the world are still being carefully tended are the stupid ones who didn't get fast enough behind an ample-framed US body?

No, no, you misunderstand, we move slowly, they just didn't have the opportunity to get behind a lumbering corn-fed American. Seriously, I was being somewhat facetious. Of course our "warm bodies" helped turn the tide, but it was our metal more than our mettle that was the biggest factor despite the swaggering rehtoric of jingoists and teabaggers, especially in the early days before we had even officially entered the wars.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:18 AM on March 4, 2010


Bah! North American rationing was bountiful compared to the rationing in the UK. My dad was born to a working-class family in Yorkshire in '43 and would not wish the poverty and extreme rationing he experienced as a child on anyone. They lived by very limited means well into the '50s. He was of school age the first time he saw/tasted a banana, and it was quite a luxury even then.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:00 AM on March 4, 2010


I've heard that comment about bananas from many people who experienced rationing in the UK, and I've never understood what point it's trying to make. Were bananas common in the UK before the war?

I was in 5th grade before I saw a mango, and I've always had plenty of food available.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:21 AM on March 4, 2010


"Hail to Thee Fat Person, you kept us out of war." A.S.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:50 AM on March 4, 2010


I find How To Cook A Wolf is much better.

Hey!
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:00 AM on March 4, 2010


Of course our "warm bodies" helped turn the tide, but it was our metal more than our mettle that was the biggest factor despite the swaggering rehtoric of jingoists and teabaggers, especially in the early days before we had even officially entered the wars.

Pollomacho, I beg to differ. When we entered World War I, our factories and farms hadn't ramped up enough to make a difference. We helped by sending a quarter of a million men per month, for months at a time. Our forces were usually using French artillery and British planes; we hadn't gotten any of our own over as of yet.

We supplied a ton of manpower, without which the course of the war would have been much, much different.

Your mileage for WWII may vary.
posted by MrVisible at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2010


I've heard that comment about bananas from many people who experienced rationing in the UK, and I've never understood what point it's trying to make. Were bananas common in the UK before the war? I was in 5th grade before I saw a mango, and I've always had plenty of food available.

In a similar vein, I was 20 before I ever saw black pudding.

But interestingly, this may be one of the biggest "drawbacks" to the locavore movement -- if you live in a climate where bananas don't grow all that well, then that means you very well may end up not getting to eat bananas. Locavores in dry climes may not get as many wet-weather-loving vegetables. And while there are different fruits and vegetables in all the different regions that do take the place of others (Maine may not have bananas, but boy howdy do their blueberries ever make up for that), there's also still the winter months, when there may be nothing growing at all for a season.

Granted, there are ways around the seasonal ebbs and flows, and also around the different regional variations; a farmer in Minnesota who's just bound and determined to have local bananas can conceivably figure out how to produce the proper growing conditions where he is. Or, quirky foodie throwbacks like me could teach themselves how to can and preserve things (I've started springing for the ten-dollar "canners' special" bushel baskets of tomatoes at the farmer's market once a year and spending a weekend in my kitchen, rather than buying storebought canned tomatoes, because the home-canned kind is HOLY GOD SO MUCH BETTER). However -- while such methods do exist, not everyone has access to trying them. And while a life without bananas isn't going to kill you, I gotta say that there's a point in the winter when all the vegetable matter you've got is carrots and potatoes, and you start going a little nuts, and it's tempting to spring for some storebought green beans or zucchini because "I AM SICK OF CARROTS".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:12 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh. Somehow I have conflated this thread in my mind with the locavore thread elsewhere. Sorry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:16 AM on March 4, 2010


Back to the food... I'm looking forward to trying a few out. But then again, I'm a fan of fat in food, and it's hard to find good recipes that haven't been cleaned up for modern tastes. Some of the things were surprising. "Meatless Sausage" is pretty much a Veggie Burger fried in drippings (yum). On the other hand, "Hindu Salad" is rice and olives in a curry-flavored aspic.

And some of the advice seems quite relevant today, if not for the war then to save the planet & all that (instead of banging our heads over Copenhagen). Try this:

"The United States Food Administration is preaching the gospel of the clean plate, and this can be accomplished by serving smaller portions, insisting that all food accepted be eaten; by keeping down bread waste, cutting the bread at the table a slice at a time as needed; by cooking only sufficient to supply moderately the number to be fed, and no more. It is a false idea of good providing that platters must leave the table with a generous left-over. Waste of cooked food is a serious item in household economy, and no matter how skillfully leftovers are utilized, it is always less expensive and more appetizing to provide fresh-cooked foods at each meal."

or this ...

"According to a well-known domestic scientist, the only things which should find their way to the garbage pail are:

Egg shells—after being used to clear coffee.
Potato skins—after having been cooked on the potato.
Banana skins—if there are no tan shoes to be cleaned.
Bones—after having been boiled in soup kettle.
Coffee grounds—if there is no garden where they can be used for fertilizer, or if they are not desired as filling for pincushions.
Tea leaves—after every tea-serving, if they are not needed for brightening carpets or rugs when swept.
Asparagus ends—after being cooked and drained for soup.
Spinach, etc.—decayed leaves and dirty ends of roots."
posted by kanewai at 11:42 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Banana skins—if there are no tan shoes to be cleaned.

I need to buy some tan shoes so I can try this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:17 PM on March 4, 2010


I'm a lactose-intolerant vegetarian who gave up wheat for Lent. It turns out I’m doing the 1918 diet - Wait, why am I now paying more for groceries than ever before?!
posted by AdamFlybot at 1:49 PM on March 4, 2010


And while a life without bananas isn't going to kill you, I gotta say that there's a point in the winter when all the vegetable matter you've got is carrots and potatoes, and you start going a little nuts, and it's tempting to spring for some storebought green beans or zucchini because "I AM SICK OF CARROTS".

And also because you're turning orange.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:26 PM on March 4, 2010


Like jimmythefish's dad, I was born in Yorkshire in 1942 and can remember vividly the effect of food rationing during my schooldays. (Wikipedia: Rationing did not end in the United Kingdom until 1954. Tea was still on ration until 1952. In 1953 rationing of sugar and eggs ended and in 1954 cheese and meats finally came off ration as well.) Going to the Co-op to pick up food for my mother and taking along the grey ration card to have a token snipped out. And they told us "we had won the War"! I confess I don't know how good or bad life was in Germany during the same period, but when I moved there at 20 (that's where the money was), I found a land of milk and honey. And my first employere there told me it was a pity that WW2 hadn't lasted another six months: "you" (the Allies) had bombed half of his glass factory and later paid for it to be rebuilt; if the war had lasted another six months we'd have bombed the other half and then he'd have had a completely new factory.
posted by aqsakal at 10:44 PM on March 4, 2010


And also because you're turning orange.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:26 PM on March 4 [+] [!]


I tried very hard to find a video of that episode of the Magic School Bus, but it just wasn't happening. Thanks for the nostalgia rush anyway <3
posted by rubah at 10:59 PM on March 4, 2010


This was great. I particularly liked the parts about bread. I am constantly trying ways of making bread with rye and barley which have a lower GI than wheat and there is some useful stuff here. I think I am going to skip the scrapple recipe though. Now I know why I always hated that stuff.
posted by caddis at 8:05 AM on March 5, 2010


Now that I know what thread I'm in....

Part of what I appreciated in How to Cook A Wolf was about how to stretch rations -- which is advice which can also be very easily applied to how to stretch MONEY. Fisher also sounded pretty dietarily ahead of her time -- when everyone else was concentrating on stodgy heavy meat dishes for dinner at all times, she was focused more on both health and gustatory concerns (basically, "why knock yourself out trying to have bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning when all you really want is a muffin anyway? If you just have the muffin, and then have the meat at lunch when you're starving, it'll work out better in the long run.")

I also find that sometimes the best food comes from the weirdest place. I'm convinced that part of why jambalaya was invented was because someone needed to clean out the fridge. I am a brand-new convert to making potted meat at home, as the perfect way to stretch leftovers -- if you've been picking at the leftover pork loin for a few days and still have a big chunk of it left over and are getting sick of it, this is a great way to use it up (puree the hell out of it, add some more spices and a little butter so it's spreadable, and when you want a snack, spread some of it on toast). The snobs will tell you that only one specific fish is acceptable in Bouillebase, but no -- bouillebase was invented to use "whatever they caught today."

It was "work with what you've got" cooking, just like the ration cookbooks are advocating, and a lot of it ended up being damn good. I'm starting to get more and more in that way of thinking -- I've made my own bread, made my own potted meat, made my own jam (basically, when the fruit I get starts going a bit soft, it becomes jam), I make my own soup stock (I've got one container in the freezer where I stow vegetables as they pass their prime, and another container for chicken bones, and when either one gets full up I turn them into stock), and I am seriously considering looking into how to use weird things like pigs' feet and chicken livers because they are hella cheap, and hell, if they'll keep me full....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 AM on March 5, 2010


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