Thursday, June 30, 2011

WWII Rationing: Stuffed Cabbage and A Sweet for the Children's Party

Dear readers, it is war time once more. As patriotic citizens, it is our duty to abide by rationing restrictions! Luckily, the Ministry of Food has provided us with nutritious, filling recipes using ingredients that make the best use of our ration books. To victory!

First up, Stuffed Cabbage!


Stuffed Cabbage
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Quantity: 4 helpings

1 medium cabbage
8 oz sausagemeat
1 onion, grated
4 oz. soft breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
pinch mixed herbs
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
salt and pepper

Method: Put the whole cabbage into boiling salted water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove; retain 1/2 teacup of the liquid and carefully fold back the leaves, which will by now have softened.

Mix all the stuffing ingredients together and put a little of the mixture between the leaves, folding them back as they are filled.

Put into a casserole, adding 1/2 teacup of the vegetable water and covering first with a well greased paper and then the lid. Bake for 1 hour in a moderate oven. To serve, open out the leaves again.

A Sweet for the Children's Party
Peel, core, and cut 1/2 lb. apples and simmer until tender in 1/2 teacup water. Sweeten with about 1 dessertspoon honey and flavour with cinnamon or ginger, whichever is liked. Whip the mixture until it is light and frothy. Add half a packet of tablet jelly--strawberry or raspberry is prettiest--and stir well, until it is thoroughly melted. When cool turn into a wet mould. Miniature meringues or ratafia biscuits make a simple decoration for this sweet.


Stuffed Cabbage: *quiet weeping*

So bad. So, so bad. It looked like some sort of squidgy sea creature. It tasted neither of sausage, nor of cabbage, but of flatulence. Robust, enthusiastic flatulence. Worst of all, after I choked down a few bites (for victory!), I noticed that we had cut the cabbage with a Henckels knife. Aughhhh! Sneaky Germans!

A Sweet for the Children's Party: It was okay! Just enough for the two of us. I can see this making for a party of sad, sad children, though. Of course, vitamins being the key to victory in this great war, I made sure not to waste the skins.

Take that, Hitler!


Courtesy of "We'll Eat Again: A collection of recipes from the war years", selected by Marguerite Patten

Monday, June 27, 2011

Porcupines, Baby Green Limas, Festival Peach Salad


Baby Green Limas
Festival Peach Salad
Chocolate Parfaits [not made]

Yes, it is time for the 70's once more! How I have missed them.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup milk or water
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
dash of pepper
1 tbsp. shortening or drippings [I used... olive oil drippings.]
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix beef, rice, milk, onion, and seasonings. Form 4 medium balls. Fry in melted shortening, turning frequently, until light brown (but not crusty) on all sides. Add tomato sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Cover; simmer 45 min. over low heat. Add a small amount of additional water if liquid cooks down too much. 2 servings.

Baby Green Limas
You'll need about 1 1/2 lb. Lima beans in shells. Snap pods open; remove beans. Or cut thin strip from inner edge of pod with knife; push beans out. Cook, covered, in 1/2 to 1" boiling salted water 20 to 30 min. Season with butter, salt, and pepper. 2 servings

To save time, use 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen Lima beans. Cook as directed on pkg.

Festival Peach Salad
1 fresh peach or 2 canned peach halves
1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
1 tbsp. chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
1 tbsp. flaked coconut
lettuce leaves [yes, yes, I know, I failed on this one!]

Peel, halve, and pit fresh peach; sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Mix cottage cheese with almonds and cherries. Fill centers of peach halves with cottage cheese mixture; sprinkle with coconut. Serve on lettuce leaves. 2 servings.

Chocolate Parfaits
Alternate layers of ice cream and Quick Chocolate Sauce (p. 85) in parfait glasses.

Quick Chocolate Sauce
1 pkg. (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 can (5 1/2 oz.) evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. peppermint flavoring (not oil of peppermint), if desired

Melt chocolate over hot water. Beat in milk and salt. Blend in peppermint. Serve hot or cold. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


Porcupines: Delicious! Yes, yes, I know the picture is reminiscent of rather more unappetizing things, I've got a family recipe for this, but it uses tomato soup, is baked, and makes a ton. This is far more manageable for my family, and I think it tasted better as well. They are called porcupines, see, because the rice is like quills on a porcupine. Try this one out! It is delightful. But cut down on the salt.

Baby Green Limas: Oh my word lima beans are foul. I saved time by using that new-fangled freezer section you've heard so much about, and followed the package directions exactly. Did you know you're supposed to microwave those suckers for 10-12 minutes?? They were pasty and horrid. I choked down about 4 beans, and chucked the rest in the garbage after Husband had scraped the rest of his back into the bowl.

Festival Peach Salad: This tastes weird. Separately, I like all these ingredients. Combined, it is just... weird. Not terrible, just really odd.

Chocolate Parfaits: Still recuperating from the breakfast parfaits.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Time for some more medieval culinary shenanigans! It's a beautiful word, shenanigans. This offering comes from the 1400's, the tail end of the medieval period.

Take a porcyoun of Rys, & pyke hem clene, & sethe hem welle, & late hem kele; þen take gode Mylke of Almaundys & do þer-to, & seþe & stere wyl; & do þer-to Sugre an hony, & serue forth.

Rice. [Revised]
Take a portion of rice, and pick them clean, and seeth them well, and let them cool; then take good milk of almonds and do thereto, and seethe and stir well; and do thereto sugar and honey, and serve forth.

Rice. [Further revised]
Make some rice, and let it cool. Add almond milk, and simmer until thickened. Add brown sugar and honey to taste and serve. If it thickens more than you'd like after it cools, stir in some more almond milk until it is the texture you like.

Verdict: Very nice indeed! Surprisingly nice, for how few ingredients there are. The almond milk gives it a lovely, subtle flavor, as does the honey. Lots of recipes using honey overwhelm it so as you can't even taste what variety of honey has been used. Not so here. Consequently, this is an excellent application for your fancypants honeys. If you just drizzle the honey over the top, it soaks down through the mixture and leaves you with the most delicious few honey-syruped bites at the end. I don't think it needs anything added, although I might try a touch of vanilla some time. Husband declared he wouldn't mind if it showed up again.

No, I did not get authentic medieval almond milk. I obtained mine from the refrigerated section, being both blessed with a refrigerator and cursed with laziness as I am. In the medieval period, when there was a serious lack of refrigerators, almond milk is preferred over cow's milk out of necessity. Cow's milk goes off pretty quickly, whereas almonds are shelf-stable. You don't want to risk sending a lovely, expensive sugared dessert such as this to the lord of the manor and have it taste of sour milk, do you? Indeed not.

*Thanks to Gode Cookery*

Friday, June 24, 2011

Orange-Nut Ring

This glorious Orange-Nut Ring, originally from this post, is now the official letter "O" of the 2011 Picnic Game at Months of Edible Celebrations. Why? Because every party should have a trashy, somewhat disreputable member! And this I have provided.


Orange-Nut Ring [1967, Jiffy Cooking]

2 packages refrigerated orange or cinnamon Danish rolls with icing (16 rolls)
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Separate rolls and arrange 1 package (8 rolls) flat side down, around bottom of ungreased 6 1/2-cup ring mold. Stagger remaining package of rolls on top of first layer, covering seams of rolls on bottom layer.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes. Invert on serving plate while warm. Spread top and sides with frosting included in packages. Decorate with nuts. Serve warm with butter [Don't actually do this, please. Please. I can't be responsible for the results]. Makes 8 servings.

Serve with sliced Canadian-style bacon browned lightly in a skillet.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ladies Brunch: Canadian-style Bacon, Orange-nut Ring, Berry-cereal Parfaits

Jiffy Cooking, by Better Homes and Gardens [1967]


This book has served me reasonably well in the past, save for the unfortunate orange-cherry cobbler incident. I am beginning, however, to notice a distinct tendency towards the use of massive amounts of sugar. This menu is no exception. My tummy hurts.

Orange-Nut Ring
2 packages refrigerated orange or cinnamon Danish rolls with icing (16 rolls)
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Separate rolls and arrange 1 package (8 rolls) flat side down, around bottom of ungreased 6 1/2-cup ring mold. Stagger remaining package of rolls on top of first layer, covering seams of rolls on bottom layer.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes. Invert on serving plate while warm. Spread top and sides with frosting included in packages. Decorate with nuts. Serve warm with butter. Makes 8 servings.

Serve with sliced Canadian-style bacon browned lightly in a skillet.

Berry-Cereal Parfaits
1 quart vanilla ice cream
2 10-ounce packages frozen sliced strawberries, partially thawed
2 cups sugar-frosted corn flakes

In each tall parfait glass, layer about 1/4 cup vanilla ice cream, about 3 tablespoons partially thawed strawberries, and 1/4 cup corn flakes. Top with another 1/4 cup vanilla ice cream and garnish with fresh strawberry halves, if desired. Makes 8 servings.


Orange-nut Ring: This is a thing of beauty! Look at it, it is glorious! It takes like 5 minutes of effort, total, and you get a beautiful ring of pull-apart pastry covered in orange glaze. It doesn't even stick to the pan! If I ever have to make a dessert and have 5 minutes to spend on it, I am SO making this again. AWESOME.

I rebelled and did not arrange the rolls in the manner prescribed, nor did I use a 6 1/2 qt. ring mold. I used a much smaller pan, and arranged the rolls thusly:

I feel my method is superior in attractiveness and ease of eating. You can just pull off a piece of pastry! So delightful. Three of the rolls didn't fit, though, and had to be cooked separately.

One thing though. The butter. If you recall, in the recipe, it says to serve with butter. The picture has an attractive bowl of butter balls. WHY? There is no good reason for this nonsense! Just... just... why would you even... I don't...

Berry-cereal Parfaits: Upon first glance, I know this looks reasonable brunch food. You may think this has yogurt in it, having not read the recipe carefully. If you have not, go back now. I will wait. .... Done? Good. Now take a moment to cease your weeping, nutritionists. Yes, this is a brunch parfait made of ice cream, sugar-coated cereal, and THREE TABLESPOONS of strawberry. The only fruit or vegetable in this entire meal does not even make up 1 serving. I cheated and did not use the proportions listed, because I was just feeling too guilty. Even with rather a lot more strawberry and rather less ice cream, this... this just isn't right.

All together: I don't feel good. Kind of jittery. Want steak. Or broccoli.

Just for fun, I plugged in the information for this meal to Livestrong's MyPlate program. For 2 small rolls, 1 parfait, and 2 slices Canadian bacon (i.e. not very much, actually):

704 calories
36g fat
39 g sugar

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breakfast: Indian Slapjacks, Pork chops, Eggs and Apples, Graham bread

A great variety of dishes are unnecessary for breakfast, but see that what you do have, is nicely cooked, and properly served. Unless sickness or some other circumstance prevents, the mistress of the house should always add the finishing touches to the breakfast room, and the breakfast table. The most experienced servant will fail in producing just the right degree of light and sunlight, in getting rid of the last speck of dust, or the latest evidence of ashes, and never thinks at all of transferring a branch of rosebuds, and geranium from the garden to the mantel piece; these belong to the gentler thought, and more refined instincts of the cultivated lady, and such duties are not at all beneath the dignity of the highest in the land. -Jennie June's American Cookery Book: Containing Upwards of Twelve Hundred Choice and Carefully Tested Receipts; Embracing All the Popular Dishes, and the Best Results of Modern Science... Also, a Chapter For Invalids, For Infants, One on Jewish Cookery; and a Variety of Miscellaneous Receipts of Special Value to Housekeepers Generally.[1870]

Bill of Fare:
Indian Slapjacks
Pork Chops cut thin and fried brown
Fried apples
Graham bread

Indian Griddle Cakes --1
Mix together one pint of Indian meal, one cup of flour, a table-spoonful of molasses, a tea-spoonful of saleratus*, a little salt and ginger, and sufficient sour milk to make a stiff batter. Bake on the griddle.

Pork Cutlets
To broil or fry these, cut them half an inch thick, trim them into neat form, take off part of the fat. To broil them, sprinkle a little pepper on them, and broil them over a clear and moderate fire a quarter of an hour, or a few minutes more; and just before taking them off, sprinkle over a little fine salt. For frying, flour them well and season with pepper, and salt, and sage. They may also be dipped into an egg, and then into bread crumbs mixed with minced sage; if for broiling, add a little clarified butter to the egg, or sprinkle it on the cutlets.

Eggs and Apples
Beat up the eggs as for omelet, pare and slice the apples, fry them in a little butter, take them out, and stir them in with the eggs. Melt a little butter in the pan, put in the eggs and apples; fry, turning over once and serve it hot.



Indian Griddle Cakes: Kind of dry and gritty, but not bad. They work astonishingly well for soaking up syrup, possibly up to 3x their weight in syrup. I do not know what property of this recipe is the cause of this, but it is awesome.

Pork Cutlets: So very tasty. I bolded the part of the recipe I followed, and they were fab. Nice and crusty outside, tender and juicy inside. Delightful.

Eggs and Apples: Surprisingly delicious! I used a small apple, three eggs, a splash of milk, a sprinkle of salt, and about 2 T. butter. Butter is important. You wouldn't think this would be as pleasant as it is. I can't quite describe how it tastes, so you'll just have to try it out.

Graham bread: I used 9-grain bread, hoping that the Rev. Sylvester Graham would approve.

All together: The best part about this menu is that you only have to use one pan! Fantastic. To keep the food from getting cold while you make everything, throw everything in the warming oven** as you make it. If you do not live in the 1800's and thus do not have a wood stove, turn your oven to its lowest setting, let it come to temperature, turn it off, and then throw in your tin foil covered food.

After eating everything, I was well satisfied. You may notice, however, that everything is brown. This may be why Jennie June suggests putting flowers on the table! As indeed I did (although they are not in the picture), as I have the refined instincts of a cultivated lady.

*Saleratus is the naturally-occuring form of baking soda. It was gathered up off the ground, where it forms a sort of crust. Early settlers to the western United States were often thrilled to find deposits of saleratus. Like pure baking soda, it has to react with an acid in order to leaven stuff. This is why the recipe above calls for sour milk, which I've talked about before. Fresh milk will not work! To substitute for sour milk, add 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to every 1 cup of milk.

**The warming oven is the part of a wood-burning stove that is right above the range. It doesn't get hot, it just stays... you know... warm. Because of this, it is marvelous for keeping food warm, raising bread, keeping the bread warm after it is baked so that butter melts into it deliciously hours later, and keeping premature babies and sickly lambs in. It is not, as some might quite wrongly believe, for storing pots and pans in. This is a waste of good cookie-storing space.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Family Recipes

I speak in praise of family foods. Not just the things that appear once a year on holidays, but the things that you think of when you are far from home. The things you crave when you've eaten restaurant food for a week straight. The chicken-and-dumpling soup (made with the leftover chicken carcass, of course), the new potatoes and peas, the Sunday morning waffles, the raisin snack cake. That thing that no one seems to understand the deliciousness of outside your family. There are things you don't want to admit to for fear of snobbish judgment: things with cream of chicken soup or Velveeta or prunes or potato chip topping.

You take them for granted. Your parents or grandparents make them, so you don't need to. There may be better recipes; recipes that are either more elaborate or easier, but not quite the same. But grandmas don't last forever, and neither do moms. The food that reminds you of them will be lost.


*If your parents and grandparents are still alive, get those recipes soon. Today would be ideal.

*If you have children or grandchildren, write down your recipes and get them each a copy.

*Answer: What foods remind you of home? What were the foods you ate most as a child?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rhubarb Fool

Jennie June's American Cookery Book [1870]

I may have neglected to mention this before, but I love cream. So much. If you enjoy cream a tenth as much as I do, you will love fools. No no, the desserty kind. A fool is a fruit sauce folded into cream (whipped or unwhipped) or custard. For this recipe, I chose to replace gooseberries with rhubarb.

RHUBARB.—This is one of the most useful of all garden productions that are put into pies and puddings. It was comparatively little known till within the last twenty or thirty years, but it is now cultivated in almost every British garden. The part used is the footstalks of the leaves, which, peeled and cut into small pieces, are put into tarts, either mixed with apples or alone. When quite young, they are much better not peeled. Rhubarb comes in season when apples are going out. The common rhubarb is a native of Asia; the scarlet variety has the finest flavour. Turkey rhubarb, the well-known medicinal drug, is the root of a very elegant plant (Rheum palmatum), coming to greatest perfection in Tartary. For culinary purposes, all kinds of rhubarb are the better for being blanched. -Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management

Gooseberry Fool
Put into a deep dish some green gooseberries, a quart or more if desired, after baking them in the oven until quite soft [I simmered on the stovetop], pulp them through a colander and add pounded sugar to taste. When it is cold, mix in a gill* of cream to each quart of berries, and serve in a glass dish.

Verdict: Another triumph of an extremely short list of simple ingredients. Rhubarb, sugar, cream. Yum. The cream mellowed the rhubarb a little bit, rendering it even more delicious than before. Such an easy dessert! And so tasty. Plus, it is attractively pink. Now go! Try this with whatever fruit your heart fancies! I'm sure it will be fantastic, because you made it.

*5 oz.