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Showing posts from June, 2014

Project 52: Rationing - Week 25 - Prune Nut Cake

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Personally, I think prunes get a bad wrap. They're usually associated with the elderly, improving "regular" digestion, and viewed overall with disgust and something to be poked fun at. (see picture at right!)

I am not ashamed to admit that I love prunes. I think they have a wonderfully dark, complex flavor. In fact, they are sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate in recipes. I think everyone should at least try prunes once in their dried form - not necessarily as a glass of prune juice though. That's a whole different experience!

I've seen quite a few 1940s recipes using prunes. They weren't shy about it at all. Prunes were just another dried fruit and were right up there with raisins and other dried fruits. Of course, they were also valued for their health benefits of fiber for the bowels, just like they are today. I think their stigma needs to end, though, because there are many ways to enjoy prunes, including this week's recipe!

This week's …

Project 52: Rationing - Week 24 - Beet Relish

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I've been dying to try this ration recipe for Beet Relish ever since my friend Lori gave me a jar to try. I was a little skeptical of beet relish at first. I like beets pretty well, but I'm a die hard dill pickle relish fan. When it comes to condiments I have a hard time branching out. But as it was a ration recipe, I thought I'd at least try it. So, my husband and I tried the gorgeously ruby relish on some good hot dogs. Oh my goodness. It was amazing! Sweet, tangy, earthy. Needless to say, that jar didn't last very long and then I was left dreaming about it, wishing I had some more!
Well, when young beets started coming into season I knew the time had finally come. Hooray! The ladies at the farm where I shop asked what all the beets were for and when I told them, their interest was really peaked, so I promised I'd bring them a jar.

Canning is quite the production, especially in my small, oddly-shaped kitchen, so once I worked up the nerve I just had to go for it.…

In Defense of the Old-Fashioned

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Cicero - "To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child."

Awhile ago, I was having a conversation with my mother on the phone. We were discussing the pros and cons of modern 21st century technologies such as the internet, cell phones & texting, and how our society depends on these technologies so much.

Now I am not anti-modern technology. I may sometimes have daydreams of going to live in a cabin in the woods and live a "pioneer" life for a month away from the modern world, but I don't really want to live that way permanently. My favorite book to pour over as a teenager was Reader Digest's Back to Basicswhich covers everything you could possibly know about running your own homestead.

I have read with fascination about those who do go back to "simpler times" in their lifestyle and life choices. I admire them for it. One such account that had a big impact on me was Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technol…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 23 - Pork Roast Victory Dinner

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I was excited to try a recipe from a new book I acquired recently. It's called Thrifty Cooking for Wartime by Alice B. Winn-Smith published in 1942. The premise of the cookbook is that the author was attempting to fill a void for simple, basic wartime recipes for real housewives. I love her preface, so I'm not going to paraphrase and just put it here:

"With the grim realities of war at our very shores it behooves all Americans to grit their teeth, tighten their belts, and wade into the unpleasant job of cleaning up the mess. In doing this everyone must have a part; and the one to be played by American housewives in their own kitchens is no less important than that of the worker in the munitions plant or the soldier advancing with the tanks. But in order to do her part the housewife, like the soldier, needs a new set of rules.

"This book, therefore, is an attempt to set down in concrete and usable form some, though by no means all, of the new rules for wartime cooking.…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 22 - Almond Flan

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Lately, I realized that I’ve been making a lot of American rationing recipes, so I thought I’d show the Brits some love and take this week’s recipe from Victory Cookbook by Margeurite Patten.

I decided on Almond Flan amongst the many British recipes I have bookmarked. I’ve always wanted to make a flan, but just by looking at the ingredients I knew it wasn’t going to be anything like those rich, creamy custardy flans I've had at Mexican restaurants. In fact, I was surprised to find out that all flans are not created equal (as found on wikipedia... *sigh*) :
Flan is an open pastry or sponge cake containing a sweet or savoury filling. A typical flan of this sort is round, with shortcrust pastry. It is similar to a custard tart or a South African melktert.[1] British savoury flans may have diverged from the Spanish and French custard flans (also known as crème caramel) in the Middle Ages. How interesting! I had no idea. :-)

One thing I've noticed in the differences between Britis…