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Showing posts from March, 2014

Project 52: Rationing - Week 12 - Whole Wheat Bread

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I was excited to finally get around to making a loaf of ration bread for this week's recipe. There's nothing so comforting as a fat slice of freshly-baked bread! I anticipate making a few bread recipes this year just because there are so many recipes for bread out there, even in the 1940s. Not to mention American and British bread recipe are sure to differ in some ways. It will be fun trying out the different kinds!

I chose an American recipe out of my Grandma's Wartime Kitchen book. It looks a lot like a regular bread recipe except it uses maple syrup as a sweetener and unsifted wheat flour (the bran is not removed). It still uses all-purpose flour, though. It promised to be a delicious loaf of sandwich bread which is what I needed. Next week I'll be talking about sandwich fillings and will be highlighting a few unique spreads. I couldn't just use store-bought bread, so a loaf of homemade was a must!

There's nothing too fancy about this week's ration recip…

Building A Museum Exhibit - Part 2

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In the first part of this very tiny series I talked about a few exhibit techniques and gave a few examples. In this second part I'll be talking about the process of actually putting together an exhibit - a behind the scenes look. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever personally seen museums advertise a look at how they put their exhibits together, but as a teenager I was curious about it. Visitors only ever get to see the end product and rarely get to see the process of idea development, artifact selection, exhibit building, and text writing along with the messy, hectic things that go on behind the scenes as the final countdown to the grand opening approaches. So, I'm hoping to give you at least a little glimpse using an exhibit I personally worked on while working for the Utah State University Museum of Anthropology.

Creating a new exhibit in the Museum of Anthropology was one of the assignments for our Intro to Museum Work Class. I requested special permission…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 11 - Wartime Champ

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In honor of St. Patrick's Day this week I thought I'd make an Irish dish with a rationing twist. I found a great recipe called "Wartime Champ" in my British Victory Cookbook. It's an interesting dish that cooks potatoes, carrots, and cabbage in a bit of water and then you mash it with salt and pepper and milk. It's a wonderfully basic recipe which I was hoping would go well with my corned beef. It fits right in with British (and Irish) staples of the time and with the extra veggies, it makes an interesting and more healthful alternative to just regular ol' mashed potatoes. Additionally, it's a fairly quick-cooking dish which would help save on rationed fuel and I like that it uses so little water which means all the vitamins were left with the veggies instead of being poured off. Using that vitamin-rich water and not wasting it was really emphasized during the war.

The recipe calls for 1 lb. potatoes, 1 lb. carrots, and one small head of cabbage.
I ju…

An Historian's Decorator Tip

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I'm not one to usually give decorator tips, but my husband and I have been planning out how we're going to be redoing our bathroom. I felt I had a neat idea that we both actually agreed on. I have a lot of ideas that I like, but no clue how to execute them in a way that makes the best impact in our home. I'm a bit challenged there, but I have always liked the idea of using antiques or real, original artwork for decorating our home. I just don't like the idea of buying something that hundreds of people have also purchased at one of the big box stores because it's "in style". I guess I've always rebelled against the "in" thing, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that I feel the same way about decorating in my home.

So, some things I like decorating with are well-executed real oil paintings (yard sale scores!), photographs (mostly my own since it's a hobby), various inexpensive antiques, and lately - vintage postcards.

When thin…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 10 - Cornish Pasties

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In honor of yesterday being "Pi" Day, I thought I'd try out a pie for my rationing recipe this week!

I decided on a savory and simple Cornish Pasty out of one of my British rationing cookbooks. I remember the first time I had a Cornish pasty. It was on my way to class when I was doing a study abroad in London back in 2005. We had to walk about a mile from our hostel to our Theater 101 class east of Paddington Station and there was a pasty shop not too far from the theater building. The pasty was delicious with flaky crust and a savory filling. It really is pure comfort food!

Another reason I made meat pasties is because I already made a blueberry pie with crumble topping for Pi Day and I need something non-sweet! There are loads of interesting sweet pie ration recipes, so it's a shame really! I'll just have to try them at a later date.


This week's recipe come from a cool little book which is called Eating For Victory: Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Ration…

Random Bits

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I feel like my blog is being consumed by WWII rationing, but that's not my intention! I have a lot of historical interests and posting once a week is a lot for me, a busy wife & homeschooling mom. It's been good, though, with all I've been learning about rationing. I've also been busily beefing up my American rationing library with amazing primary resources - maybe a little too busily. :-) I've been haunting Ebay lately...

There have been a few non-rationing historical things pop up lately that I thought I'd share. And they are completely different from one another.

1. BBC Coal House - I had no idea there had been another one of these in the BBC House series. 1940's House was my favorite, but this one looks just as fascinating - 3 families transported to a 1927 Welsh coal mining town. You can watch the 1st episode on YouTube here. I'm usually wary of "reality shows", but BBC usually does a good job and they aren't quite as sensational…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 9 - Crumb Wafers

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You might be surprised to learn that this week's ration recipe for Crumb Wafers comes from a 1930s cookbook published by the dairy company Borden. Am I cheating, you ask? I don't think so, and here's why. A disadvantage of looking back on history from today is that we tend to look at periods of time in a static way - of one moment standing still. Many times it's just easier to comprehend that way, but history has much more depth and richness. Different seasons of social customs, fashions, language, technology, and even recipes ebbed and flowed into each other in the past just as much as they do today. 
So, for example, let's say you were born in the mid-1930s. Your mother had been baking these Crumb Wafers from a cookbook she had acquired before you were born. Then along comes WWII. People didn't necessarily stop making all the foods they made before. Of course they tried new recipes and time-saving techniques in the kitchen, but no doubt they also adapted rec…