Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WWII: Mock Fried Egg and Wheatmealies

Eating For Victory: Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations [reprinted WWII instruction leaflets, 2007]

Husband has become leery of "mock" anything.  It is almost never good.  If it's "Mock Something" in recipes from the last few decades, it is usually because it contains some weird processed food that is taking the place of a real food.  For instance, crackers instead of apples in apple pie.  In quite old recipes, like Victorian and Regency, it is because a cheap food is being disguised as a fancypants rich person food.  A calf's head instead of a turtle, for instance.

The Second World War is my favorite era of mock foods, however.  This is because of the imagination and nerve it takes to disguise vast quantities of vegetables as totally preposterous and laughable things, like geese.  I admire the sort of mindset it takes to say, "No fried eggs?  The hell you say!  I will have a fried egg if I have to construct it of twine and sticks."  

As substitutions go, this one seems... a little bit genius.

Mock Fried Egg
1 egg (reconstituted from powder);
2 slices wheatmeal bread;
Salt and pepper.

Method.--Beat the egg.  Cut holes from the centre of each slice of bread with a small scone cutter.  Dip the slices quickly in water and then try on one side until golden brown.  Turn on to the the other side, pour half the egg into the hole in each slice of bread, cook till the bread is brown on the underneath side.  The bread cut from the centres can be fried and served with the slices.

Half-dozen slices stale bread, 1/4 inch thick. 
Cut into 1/4-in. squares.  Put on a baking sheet and bake in a slow oven till brown and crisp.  Store in a tin.  Serve with milk and sugar to taste.  


Mock Fried Egg:  It does seem genius, doesn't it?  I mean, if a person wants a dang fried egg, and all there is is powdered egg, egg-in-a-basket is a pretty neat solution!  Unfortunately, there were... other factors.

Yes... I am afraid this picture was the result of following the directions.  All the moisture in the reconstituted egg was either sucked into the bread or vaporized on the pan, leaving a thin membrane of leathery egg.  Which then stuck to the pan and had to be chipped off.  What worked much better was to put the equivalent of about three eggs in the middle.  Which kind of defeats the purpose.  It tasted fine, though.  And were I set on a fried egg and had nothing but my number 10 can of dry egg... I might consider it.  And then I'd make scrambled eggs, because this is ridiculous.

If there are any dried egg experts out there, please lend your expertise. Where did I go wrong?  Is this feasible?

Wheatmealies:  As a homemade cereal, this actually wasn't bad.  You have to eat it at lightning pace, of course, or it will turn to goo.  Like Cap'n Crunch.  Sugar and cream also help a great deal.  Husband didn't like it, but I would not complain about eating it again.  The addition of some fresh berries would be lovely.

For a beverage, I served this with some black currant juice.  It is the best way to get vitamin C if your orange juice supply is blockaded, or indeed.... if it isn't.  Black currants have four times as much vitamin C as oranges.  During WWII, the British stepped up their black currant production for this very reason. 


Anje said...

Mmm, black currant is my favorite.
But leathery egg is not.

Hazel said...

Sorry, not a dried egg expert, so no enlightening comment from me.

I suppose dipping the bread in water first is meant to prevent it from soaking up the liquid from the egg, but not very effectively by the look of it... I'd have made eggy bread myself. (French toast to Americans, but we always used to serve it as a savoury breakfast. I remember meeting American Girls Scouts as a teenager and we watched each other open mouthed as they put maple syrup on their French toast and we put ketchup on our eggy bread. And then we swapped condiments for the rest of the camp!)

The Wheatmealies- my mum fondly remembers bread and milk as a breakfast when she was a child, and I have heard of people using leftover toast for it, so this sounds okay! Must try it out on my children...

Jana said...

Anje: love black currant. The time has definitely come for a comeback here in the States.

Hazel: have I got a recipe for you! It is Tudor. "To make Poor Knights Pudding
To make Poor knights Pudding. Cut two penny loaves in round slices, dip them in half a pint of Cream or faire water, then lay them abroad in a dish, and beat three Eggs and grated Nutmegs and sugar, beat them with the Cream then melt some butter in a frying pan, and wet the sides of the toasts and lay them in on the wet side, then pour in the rest upon them, and so fry them, serve them in with Rosewater, sugar and butter."

I cannot imagine ketchup. I am agog!

veg-o-matic said...

So nice to see you posting again!

Any idea why the bread needed to be dipped in water before frying? That just seemed bizarre to me.

And where does one buy powdered eggs in this, the twenty-first century?

Jana said...

Thanks! I am afraid I have no idea. Perhaps to make the National Loaf more chewable? Powdered eggs are available from personal preparedness sources. Mine are Honeyville brand. Excellent for homemade dry mixes. Bob's Red Mill apparently also makes it, but I have never seen it in the wild.

Brock said...

Off topic, have you seen the blog, "Eat History" found at eathistory dot com? Seems like it would be up your alley.

Also off topic, are you coming to my party Friday night?

Jana said...

I had not, thank you for bringing it to my attention. Send me the information for your events, and I will see what my schedule looks like.

Kevin Green said...

Welcome back!