Tired of frozen food and want to experiment with the basics you have in the pantry? The National World War I Museum and Memorial has some alternative culinary options for your perusal. Recipes from the World War I era of food conservation and rationed goods, an appropriate project for the age we live in now.
Win the War in the Kitchen, published by the newly created United States Food Administration, promoted conservation of ingredients such as meat, wheat, dairy and sugar, all of which were deemed crucial to sustaining soldiers on the front lines. Messages appealing to citizens’ patriotic duty to support the war effort from home accompanied the recipes.
Potato Bread (Page 62, No. 253)
1 pound potatoes, boiled & mashed
1 quart milk or water
1 ounce sugar
1 ounce salt
1 ounce bacon fat or butter
1/2 ounce dry active yeast
3 pounds flour
1. Heat liquid to warm. Add yeast to 1/4 cup of warm water.
2. Dissolve sugar, salt and bacon fat/butter in the remainder of the liquid.
3. Add yeast mixture and mashed potatoes to the other liquid mixture. Beat well.
4. Add flour and knead thoroughly. Let rise until it has doubled in bulk.
5. Mold into loaves. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise again.
6. Put loaves on a parchment paper lined sheet, or into a bread loaf pan dusted with flour.
7. Bake in a 350° oven about 45 minutes or until golden on top and hollow-sounding when tapped.
Apricot and Prune Marmalade (Page 56, No. 229)
2 pounds prunes
1 pound dried apricots
juice & rind of 1 orange
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1. In a medium sauce pan, combine juice & zest of orange, sugar and corn syrup, begin to heat, do not allow to boil.
2. Dice fruit into small pieces and add to the saucepot with the sugar.
3. Cook on medium low until apricots and prunes are soft.
4. Use a potato masher to roughly break up fruit.
If the mixture is too thick and sticky, thin with either more orange juice or water until it is a spreadable consistency.
Scalloped Cabbage (Page 49, No. 193)
1. Boil cabbage in large pot of salted water until cooked.
2. Make white sauce:
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- Mix flour with a small amount of milk, heat in a small saucepan.
- Add remainder of the milk and cook until it boils, stirring constantly.
- Add 1 – 2 tablespoons bacon or butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3. Grease a baking dish. Put a layer of cooked cabbage in and cover with a layer of white sauce, about a 1/2 cup. Repeat, making three layers of each. Cover with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350° oven.
Optional: add grated cheese to the white sauce and/or underneath the breadcrumb layer.
Corn Bread (Page 65, No. 269)
2 cups white flour
1 cup cornmeal
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shortening
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup finely chopped dates
1. Sift dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add dates and mix well.
3. Add butter/shortening and cut with a knife or pastry cutter.
4. Add milk and stir until just mixed.
5. Place in a well-greased pan and let rise 20 minutes.
6. Turn oven on to 350°. Bake for 45 minutes.
Bean and Tomato Stew (Page 26, No. 78)
2 1/4 cup stewed white beans (1 cup uncooked)
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 sliced onion
2 tablespoons drippings (bacon fat, meat drippings or butter)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
If using uncooked beans follow these directions: soak overnight. In the morning, rinse beans, fill a medium pot with beans and water and bring to a boil; skim off and discard any foam on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain beans.
1. Stew onion in tomato juice in a skillet over low heat until tender.
2. Add beans, seasoning and fat.
3. Cook until thick enough to serve on a dinner plate.
4. Garnish with grated parmesan and parsley.
Savory Rice (Page 50, No. 200)
1 cup uncooked rice, rinsed
1 small onion
1 green pepper
3 tablespoons fat (bacon fat, butter, oil)
1 cup boiling water
1 quart fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Brown chopped onion in fat until translucent, add rice.
2. Keep stirring and when rice is brown, add boiling water and chopped green pepper.
3. When water has been absorbed, add tomatoes and salt.
4. Cook until rice is tender (add more boiling water if necessary).
5. Turn off burner, cover rice and let steam for 10 minutes.
Poultry with Peas (gluten free) (Page 21, No. 46)
1 cup cold chicken, duck or turkey, leftover from a roast
1 cup canned peas, or frozen
2 tablespoons fat (bacon fat, butter or drippings from poultry roast)
2 tablespoons rice flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Melt fat in a saucepan, add the flour and whisk until brown.
2. Whisk in the milk gradually, cook until thick.
3. Add the chicken, peas and seasoning.
4. Serve over savory rice or biscuits.
Buckwheat Chocolate Cake
(can be gluten free) (Page 69, No. 304)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup ap flour (or gluten free flour blend)
2 ounces chocolate, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
2. Cream butter, and add sugar gradually.
3. Beat yolks and add to mixture slowly.
4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
5. Add milk, flour and baking powder to butter mixture and beat thoroughly.
6. Add chocolate and vanilla, mix in, then fold in the egg whites gently.
7. Grease and flour cake pan or muffin tins.
8. 40 minutes in a shallow cake pan or 20 minutes in mini cupcake tins.
9. Let cool on a rack and drizzle with chocolate fudge frosting, or icing of your choice.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting (Page 42, No. 168)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup unsweetened powdered cocoa
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1/4 cup corn syrup
few grains salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Soak 1 teaspoon gelatin powder in 1 tablespoon water.
2. Melt butter; add cocoa, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, milk and gelatin mixture.
3. Heat to boiling point and boil from 3-5 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 235°.
4. Remove from the fire and beat until creamy.
5. Add vanilla and pour/drizzle over cake.