Wartime Wednesday: Better Meals in Wartime
What I found most fascinating is the first chapter called War Time Extenders, Remedies and Economies. Author Lola Wyman whose credentials are not listed anywhere in the book or on the flyleaf writes as if she is talking directly to the home cook. She says, "I have experimented with 8 different methods of whipping light cream employing various commercial products, powdered vegetable gums, gelatin and lemon juice. Only the latter method is satisfactory." She provides advice on potato water (the water used to boil potatoes): "Of course, you will save all other vegetable waters, but have you though of saving the water in which you cooked peeled potatoes? This has splendid flavor. Simply add milk and seasonings and, if you have it, a cooked, mashed potato."
Her section on Kitchen Catastrophes exhorts readers that "in these war time days it is more important than ever to avert kitchen catastrophes whenever possible. However, with the most careful attention, accidents may happen." She goes on to provide solutions for burned pans, gravy gone wrong, curdled sauces, burned cakes, and unsuccessful frosting.
The introduction is three pages of "a variety of well-balanced menus. Each contains a suitable proportion of the necessary calories, vitamins, minerals, etc." But perhaps the best chapter is the one on leftovers. Not too imaginative, I usually just reheat the meal. Ms. Wyman includes a two page index of a wide variety of leftover foods from bacon fat and fish to creamed vegetables.
How many of you have inherited a cookbook that contained handwritten notes from the former owner? Better Meals in Wartime includes Ms. Wyman's editorial comments on many of the recipes:
- Salisbury Steak - Our old friend, the hamburg, improved and disguised
- Bitochky - An excellent Russian recipe to try when you have a cup of sour cream
- Baked veal hearts - Gamey like squab
- Imperial crab - This is a famous crab dish and is served hot
- Tamale Pie - Nourishing yet delicious
Taped inside the cover is a recipe cut from the Miami Daily News for Chocolate Ice Box Cake and tucked in between the pages are four index cards clipped together that contain recipes for French Dressing (dated 1937 and signed S. J. Kennedy, Ft. Meyers, Florida), and two copies of a recipe for Hollandaise Sauce.
A true treasure, I can't wait to dig further into Better Meals in Wartime. What is your most special gift?