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Saturday, August 12, 2017

World War I Recipes

We interrupt scheduled stories to taste food from the past!
Logo for the WW1 Centennial channel


My historical programs can get tasty if I am asked to make suggestions.  In the past I've made suggestions for Victorian Christmas programs.  Now I'm being asked for similar recipes for my World War I program.  I'll give them here, but first want to credit their source as it's good for way more than just this.  Fortunately, Michigan's WW1 Centennial channel since 2012 posts wonderful videos each month on YouTube and has resources for Foodies seeking to go back in time.

Dennis Skupinski
Ann Arbor's Dennis Skupinski does an outstanding job of wringing out facts and photos each month.  Each December he has not only posted World War I recipes, but tested them, too.  I strongly recommend a subscription to those YouTube videos. The suggestions remind you to check it each month and browse it for all those back videos.
Michigan's WW1 Centennial
An additional resource he offers is a Facebook page, again titled Michigan's WW1 Centennial.  My only complaint? suggestion? really isn't a problem with what Dennis has done, I think highly of his work, but Facebook is a poor archival tool.  When his videos mention checking Facebook for the recipes, it's not always easy or even possible.  Unless you want to go to the university libraries of either Wayne State or Michigan State to view the microfiche, War Time Recipes by Janet McKenzie Hill, I recommend the videos.  If you want to see what I list here yourself, use the Closed Captions and the pause.  (You'll also see how often live CC done without human editing is ... dare I say "laughable"?  it's so wrong and yet is what the deaf must use.  Maybe "sad" is more accurate, but laughter replaces the problem of not having it at all.)

Most of the recipes come from the "Julia Child" of her day, Janet McKenzie Hill, who wrote War Time Recipes that was clearly produced by Proctor and Gamble -- almost every recipe uses their Crisco -- in association with the U.S. Food Administration. “It is dedicated to the American housewife as an aid to the preparation of hundreds of economical appetizing foods that will enable her to say without in the least sacrificing either tastefulness or variety of her meals.” Hill was an early practitioner of food science and scientific cooking. She was also the founder of the Boston Cooking School magazine in 1896.

As a further bit of background the videos explain: 
All homeowners were urged to sign pledges and “...housewifes with schoolchildren signed pledges that they would not leave a single scrap of food on their plate and not eat in between meals...”
Guess that's where my mother got the "Clean Plate Club" she proudly used to point out I belonged to since I was not a picky eater.  Then again, the ideas of World War I's U.S. Food Administration were recycled to World War II since this wasn't the War to End All Wars originally expected.  Even my fellow Baby Boomers later could be encouraged with the "Leave Nothing on Your Plate" mentality.  Those corn flakes also enriched Michigan's Battle Creek cereal factories.

Herbert Hoover was chosen to head the U.S. Food Administration. He already had the experience of doing this earlier, running the Belgium relief effort, supplying food there in 1915. He convinced President Wilson it should be run by a single administrator instead of a board. He refused a salary, saying it gave him the moral authority to ask the American people to sacrifice to support the war effort. His memoir states he saw his job as asking Americans to go back to simple food, simple clothes, simple pleasures.

The U.S. Food Administration in each state was to ensure the supply, distribution, and conservation of food during the war. This was to facilitate transportation of food, prevent monopolies and hoarding and maintain governmental power over food by using voluntary agreements and in licensing system. The country's volunteer efforts were to save meats, sugar, wheat flours, and vegetable oils. A request to sign pledges was made on Friday and by the following week Americans embraced meatless Mondays and Tuesdays and porkless Saturdays.
Dennis points out multiplying the butter saved by using Crisco (cottonseed oil), times all the Americans substituting it, made a large difference.  It certainly established Crisco as a household staple for generations. Besides that, the videos show various types of flour substitutions for wheat flour and for sweetening uses honey instead of sugar.

Note, all mixing is done with a whisk, not a blender.  In my own notations I use "T" for Tablespoon, "t" for Teaspoon, and "c" or "C" for Cup.  I will give the various recipes chronologically, providing the hotlink,  as found on the annual December videos and look forward to the 2017 recipe.  Those videos also give you pictures of the preparation and final product.

Michigan Muffins (don't know why Hill called them that, but it started off the series with Michigan's contribution
1 c barley or oat flour (saves over a cup of wheat flour)
½ c wheat flour
½ t Salt
½ t Baking soda
1 ½ t Baking powder
1 egg beaten lightly
3 T Crisco melted (saved about ½ stick of butter)
1 c thick sour cream or sour milk

Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl, add the egg, Crisco, and cream, and beat thoroughly. Bake in a well Criscoed muffin pan at about 350 degrees for 20 minutes or in Criscoed rings set on a hot griddle. When baked on the griddle, turn when the first side is baked to bake the other side. When the muffin pan cools, remove the muffins and serve with honey to save butter and sugar.

Holiday Meals of the U.S. Army during World War I

This is one time the recipes aren't by Ms. Hill, but from the military and it's a biggie.  The army recipes were for 60 soldiers, but Dennis scaled the recipes for 6. The link also shows old movies of the military cooks at work and military food transportation.

45 pounds of chicken becomes 4 and a half pounds.  I'm going to use the 10 % version, but the YouTube video shows the original if you want it.  I'm not sure my own scaling back on the other amounts is reduced precisely as he did it.  The manual also says the same method could be used for turkey as for chicken.
¼ pound minced onion, browned
1 pound bread crumbs
1 pound potatoes, mashed
1/8 pound flour
1/8 pound fat, butter preferred
Pick and clean chicken well, saving the heart, liver, and gizzard, which should be chopped fine and used in the gravy or stuffing.
Fill space vacated by entrails and craw (Lois - ?) with stuffing.
Sew up chicken with strong thread and bend the wings under the back and tie down to the body.
Make a batter with the flour and fat, seasoning it with salt and pepper, and rub the chicken with it before placing in the oven. After the chicken has been in the oven about 20 minutes, add a little hot water and baste frequently until done. This generally requires about two and one-half hours, depending upon the quality of the fowl. When the flour is brown check the heat. When done, the legs can easily be separated from the body.
To make the stuffing
Moisten the bread crumbs with water; mix with potatoes, onions, and giblets; season with pepper and salt, sage, thyme, or other flavors; stuff well into the chicken. The bread may be soaked in oyster liquor and oysters added to the stuffing; or celery, currants, or raisins, may be used instead of onions. Lemon juice or nuts may be added. This stuffing may be used with any fowl or fish.

Potatoes, sweet, candied
2.2 pounds sweet potatoes
butter
sugar
beef stock, strained
Wash the potatoes and boil until fairly well done; peel and slice lengthwise, spread in three layers in a bake pan, putting about one third the sugar and butter on top of each layer; pour the beef stock over the whole and bake in a medium hot oven (about 350 degrees) for 40 minutes or an hour.

For non-candied Baked Sweet Potatoes
Wash well and remove all defective spots; place in a bake pan and cover with a second pan to prevent evaporation while baking, and bake until well done, usually about 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
If desired, the potatoes may be peeled, rolled in fat, and lightly sprinkled with sugar and salt before baking.

Potatoes, cheesed
2.2 pounds potatoes
beef stock
grated cheese
Use any leftover cooked potatoes; cut about the size of a lima bean; season with salt and pepper; mix with the beef stock; add the grated cheese two or three inches deep over the bottom of a well-greased bake pan and bake for about 30 minutes in a quick oven or about 350 degrees. (Dennis didn't have any leftover cooked potatoes, so he baked his own first, giving him also potatoe skins as hors d'oeuvres.)

Cranberry Sauce
1 quart of cranberries
¼ pound of sugar (he notes this is less than commonly used now and makes a tangier version of the sauce)
Wash and boil the berries well; put in a clean boiler with about 1 inch of water; cover tightly and boil until the berries break to pieces and cover themselves with their juice; remove the lid and let simmer in order to dry them out. Sweeten with sugar, boil about five minutes and pour into an earthen or wooden vessel and cool. Serve cold with chicken or turkey, or nearly any kind of meat or cake.

December 2014
Back to the War Time Recipes of Janet McKenzie Hill.  I must say the Conservation Sandwiches don't interest me, but it's more personal preferences on their contents.  (I'm not truly a strict vegan, more flexatarian, and while I love cheese, it doesn't love me so I could eat #1 with a cheese substitute -- it's interesting how she finds a way to rescue stale bread.  Notice also this is before the days of buying pre-sliced bread.) 

Crisco dates back to 1911 and the name is a modification of the phrase "crystallized cottonseed oil" -- the original oil hydrogenated to remain solid at room temperature.  Today's Crisco is no longer a Proctor and Gamble product as it was sold to the J.M. Smucker Company in 2002, but more importantly the fat content has changed.  I suggest reading the above hotlinked Wikipedia article's section on changes in fat content, especially if you are diabetic.  That same article notes Crisco's marketing success came from their giving away cookbooks.
Sorry, I found that online and can't get it clearer, but love the vision it created of wartime support.
Conservation Sandwiches, No.1
Spread any variety of stale bread cut for sandwiches in a thick layer of grated cheese (dry). Sprinkle with salt and paprika and press together corresponding slices or shapes. Melt three or four tablespoonfuls of Crisco in a frying pan, lay in the sandwiches and when delicately browned on one side, turn to brown the other side. If the bread be very stale, beat an egg, add half a cupful or more of milk, with a dash of salt and pepper, and soften the sandwiches in this before frying them.

Conservation Sandwiches, No. 2
6 olives
1 or 2 chicken livers
Cooked salad dressing
Bread cut for sandwiches
Chop the olives fine, mash the cooked livers smooth, mix the olives and livers with enough dressing to make a smooth paste, and use as a filling for any variety of bread.

Simple Potato Soup
4 potatoes
1 onion sliced
2 T parsley leaves
¼ c celery leaves
1 quart boiling water
3 T Crisco
3 T flour
2 t salt
½ t Pepper
3 c milk
Pare the potatoes, cut in quarters, and let stand in cold water an hour or longer. Boil the potatoes, onion, and fresh or dried leaves in the water until the potatoes are done (Dennis notes that's about 20 minutes). Press the whole through a sieve and keep hot. Melt the Crisco; in it cook the flour and seasonings; add the milk and stir until boiling; add the hot potato puree, with more milk if needed.
Dennis also noted this soup can also be the base for clam chowder.

Flemish Carrots
The carrots may be canned, fresh cooked, or dried. They may be sliced thin, cut in cubes, or very young carrots may be cut in quarters, lengthwise. For a pint of carrots, melt 2 T. of Crisco, in it cook slowly ¼ cup of finely chopped onion and 1 T. of parsley. Keep the dish covered and stir occasionally. When tender, add 2 T. flour, ½ t. salt, ½ t. sugar, ¼ t. pepper; stir until blended; add 1 C. meat broth, and stir until boiling; add the carrots, drained from the water in which they have been boiled (or canned) and let simmer very gently 5 minutes.
December 2015
Cream Sauce
2T Crisco slightly melted
2T Flour
¼ t Salt
1 c milk
Mix until it turns into a crème

Eggs in Nest
1 C of pickled tongue or ham cut fine
1 C of Cream Sauce
1 pint of hot mashed potatoes
4 eggs
4 slices of tomato
4 T cracker crumbs
2 T of Crisco
Rub the inside of a large Au Gratin dish (Lois:glass casserole) with Crisco
Stir the meat in with the sauce and spread over the bottom of the dish
Above the meat form 4 nests of mashed potato
Break the eggs in the nest
Melt the Crisco, brush over the potato part with the Crisco, stir the crumbs into the rest
Set the slices of tomato betweeen the eggs, spread the crumbs over them
Cook in the oven until eggs are done, which will be about 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees
Sunny side up eggs inside mashed potatoes which are covered with Crisco to make them like hashed browns with ham and cream sauce spread around the sides.

Mayonnaise Dressing with Crisco
1 C Crisco unmelted
2 Egg Yolks beaten light
2 t Mustard
1 t Salt
¼ t Paprika
¼ t Black Pepper
4T Vinegar
Beat the Crisco to a cream, very gradually beat in the yolks, then the seasoning, and lastly drop by drop the vinegar

Tomato Salad
Peel the tomatoes, cut out the hard piece around the stem, and let chill.
When ready to serve, cut in slices, and set them on heart leaves of lettuce, carefully washed and dried.
Prepare the mayonnaise dressing by adding 2 to 3 T of horseradish.
When serving, serve a generous T of dressing on each slice of tomato.
With the mayonnaise dressing you can use it on other vegetables.

 
French Fried Potatoes
(Here's an interesting bit of historical trivia, I had no idea French Fries date back in the U.S. to 1802 when President Thomas Jefferson asked for potatoes to be served in the French manner at a White House dinner.)
Dennis in his preparation notes, while McKenzie doesn't say, russet potatoes are usually the type of potato used.
Pare or peel the potatoes.
Cut the halves lengthwise and then in pieces like the sections of an orange.
Let stand in cold water for an hour or longer and then dry with a soft cloth.
Soaking the potatoes removes the starch, keeping the potatoes from sticking together and eliminates the sugars that prevent the potatoes from achieving maximum crispiness.
Fry in hot Crisco to a rich straw color and until tender throughout.
Once they are done, drain them on a skimmer and then on a soft paper towel and immediately sprinkle them with salt and serve them at once.

Cooked Rice Muffins
1 c cooked rice
1 c wheat flour
1 c milk
4 T baking powder
2 T melted Crisco
1 T salt
2 T sugar
Mix the rice evenly with the milk and Crisco
A beaten egg may be added if desired
Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and mix thoroughly
Bake in a hot Criscoed muffin pan about 25 minutes at 375 degrees
When filling the muffin pan, you want to fill up with batter about halfway full
After about 25 minutes your muffins will turn golden brown and ready to be eaten.
Pop them out of the pan once it cools a bit.

Cauliflower with Onion Sauce
Boil the cauliflower in the usual manner. When tender, set in a dish suitable for the oven or the table.
(Dennis adds this means you're going to boil your cauliflower anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on how soft you like it.)
For the Onion Sauce have ready as many boiled onions as will make enough for 1 cup of puree when pressed through a sieve (1 to 3, according to size).
Heat the cup of puree.
Add a c of hot cream
½ t of salt
¼ t of pepper
Beat in the yolk of 1 egg
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower
Have ready ½ a cup or more of ½ inch cubes of stale bread sauteed in 1 or 2 T of hot Crisco
Sprinkle these over the cauliflower and onion sauce
Serve very hot.

So what are you doing reading this?  Get busy cooking and eating in the World War I way.  Here are some postcards from the era to encourage you, including gardening when not cooking or eating.


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