Project 52: RATIONING
I wanted to dedicate this year to learning more about rationing during World War II and what American and British home cooks had to go through to put a meal on the table. I've always had this dream (albeit a bit on the crazy side) of trying to live for maybe a month on what would have been available with American WWII rations. Maybe it's not the most practical idea...

Obviously, I don't live in a world today where rationing is an issue, but I know I can learn a lot by cooking recipes used when rationing was a reality of life. There's nothing like experiencing it first hand instead of just reading about it in a book.

Recipes during the war came from all kinds of sources - newspapers, magazines, home product companies that published pamphlets that were half advertisement and half guides to cooking with rations, government publications, radio programs, and recipes created and adapted by the home cooks themselves. There definitely is no shortage of recipes to try if you know where to look!

Going through my bookshelf I realized that I was sadly lacking in American WWII recipe books, but had quite a number of British books. I'm finding that the Brits are far more published in this area than Americans! So I ordered a few books and should have them soon. Yay!

So, what I wanted to do was select a different recipe each week this year and make it. I want to try everything from appetizers and main dishes to snacks and desserts. I want to be adventurous and not just do familiar, comfort-style foods that I could see myself making anyway, but other more challenging recipes that use organ meats and obscure things for dessert that I've never had in my life. I think it's going to be an interesting ride.

The great thing is that many of the ingredients are easy to find, even today - evaporated milk, powdered milk, sweetened condensed milk, margarine, canned fruit, and powdered eggs. I think the greatest challenge is that I'm going to have to incorporate some of their food saving strategies just to have the ingredients needed like using vegetable peelings to make vegetable broth, saving the water I cook veggies in to use for other things, using the syrup from canned fruit for other recipes, and saving cooking fats. Nothing went to waste!

I'll be trying both British and American recipes and I'll post all the ones I make so you can try them too. Even if WWII rationing is not your thing, trying a few of the recipes would be a great way to experience an important time in our country's history - so why not give it a try?


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