In the early 1940’s the United States was immersed in World War II. Despite the ravages of war on our country, Americans celebrated patriotism on the Homefront and the Frontlines.
My beloved Grandma Witham left me a wartime cookbook called Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book. Page, ix, is titled WARTIME POSTSCRIPT.
As this edition goes to press our country is still at war. Rationing is in force and shortages of many foods have developed. In a fine spirit of patriotism American homemakers have adapted themselves to the changes. Their minds open to new ideas: foods they have never served before are now appearing on their tables.
There’s more, but I think you can see that America’s mealtime might have been slightly leaner in those years.
In the Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, there are many wartime friendly recipes.
Here’s a recipe for Cabinet Pudding: (PLEASE, remember that food safety has changed GREATLY since WW2. Use caution when making vintage recipes.)
Milk, 1 pint
Sugar, 2 Tablespoons
Butter, 2 Tablespoons
Cake crumbs, 2 cups
Salt, ¼ teaspoon
Vanilla, ½ teaspoon
Scald milk with sugar and butter; cool slightly then add cake crumbs. Beat egg slightly; add salt and vanilla; stir slowly into first mixture.
Turn into a greased one-quart casserole and place into a pan containing warm water up to the level of the pudding.
Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees F.) about 1 hour.
Pioneer Bread Pudding
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 cups bread cubes
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Use day-old bread, crusts and all, cutting it to 1/4 - to 1/2 -inch cubes. Place these in a buttered 1-quart baking dish.
Scald the milk with the butter and sugar.
Beat eggs slightly; add salt, then stir in the warm milk and vanilla. Pour over the bread cubes.
Set baking dish in a pan containing warm water up to the level of the pudding and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) about 1 hour or until a small knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pudding. Makes 4 to 6 servings
On the Homefront, when store bought meat wasn’t available, perhaps home-grown chicken or fresh-caught fish served as the main dish. When cream or sugar ran low, recipes were adjusted to fit the shortages. People got by on what they had and did it with thankful hearts.
I’m thankful for my big, loud, obnoxious family, for the abundance of food on our table, and most of all the love that surrounds me. I hope, regardless of your circumstances, you are able to find reason to be thankful.
when she first read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House book series. She grew up riding horses and spending her free time in the woods of mid-Michigan. Michele loves to hear from readers on Facebook, Twitter, and here through the group blog, Heroes, Heroines, and History at HHHistory.com. Michele is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.