Monday, April 16, 2012

Stuffed Cubed Steaks, Beet Soup, Swedish Hardtack

This menu is compiled from 500 Wartime Recipes, an American booklet on rationing from WWII. Before now, I have always done British recipes. Having compared the two, I can say that the Brits had it a lot worse, culinarily speaking. I have heard that is usually the case though.

Stuffed Cubed Steaks

4 cubed steaks (1 lb.)
1/4 t. salt
2 T. flour
1 C. soft bread crumbs
1/4 t. poultry seasoning
1 t. minced onion
4 T. melted butter
2 T. water
1/3 C. cooked rice
2 1/2 C. canned tomatoes
1/4 t. salt

Wipe steaks with a damp cloth, roll in mixture of salt, pepper and flour. Combine crumbs, poultry seasoning, onion, 2 T of butter and water to make a stuffing. Place steaks with cut side up, and cover each with a fourth of stuffing. Fold steaks over stuffing, fasten with skewers or toothpicks and place in greased shallow baking dish. Place rice around meat rolls and add tomatoes, salt and remaining butter. Cover dish and bake in moderate oven (350 F.) about 1 hour or until steaks are tender. Serves 2 or 4.

Beet Soup

6 beets, pared and grated
1 large potato, pared and grated
1/2 C. chopped celery
1 t. salt
2 C. cold water
3 T. butter
1 1/2 C. milk

Cook first 5 ingredients together 10 minutes. Force through sieve. Add butter and milk and heat thoroughly. Serves 6.

Swedish Hardtack

1 pint buttermilk
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. shortening, melted
1 t. salt
7/8 t. baking soda
coarse rye flour

Mix ingredients to make a thick dough and shape into 24 balls, dipping them into flour. Roll out very thin with a special peg rolling pin that pricks dough as it rolls. Bake on cookie sheet in hot oven (425 F.) until browned, about 15 min. Very crisp and tender.


Stuffed Cubed Steaks: Watery, tasteless, and horrid. The stuffing was slimy and bland. Were this a British WWII recipe, there would be no butter, 10x the rice, and 1/10 the meat. This is expecting each person to eat 1/4-1/2 lb. of beef per person! During rationing! Insane. I do not know why people were afraid of onion, either. At least this has actual chopped onion instead of onion juice, which is a little sad. Maybe if you went bananas and put a whole onion in, it might taste like a flavor.

Beet Soup: While the recipe says this serves 6, we found it could easily serve around 50. The beautiful, deep color fools you into thinking it is going to be delicious, like something berry flavored. No. It tastes of blended beets. As well it might. There is no other flavor but blended beets. The same results could be obtained by adding water to baby food.

Swedish Hardtack: Very nice! Lovely and crisp, comparable to a very tasty cracker. Because it is. Husband allowed as how he would not mind it appearing in the future, especially on camping trips or emergency snacks to supplement MREs. Due to their flavor, thinness, and relative sturdiness, they are ideal for the transference of jam to one's mouth, second only to a spoon.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cress grown on a bit of flannel

Ministry of Food War Cookery Leaflet Number 14 Grow your own! Even if you have no garden, you can have fresh-picked parsley or mustard and cress, for these both grow well in window-boxes or flower-pots. Or mustard and cress can be grown on damp flannel. Remember--the fresher the better for you--and the better the flavor!

I've been working on the old Victory Garden recently (Can you picture 7 cubic yards of manure? Neither could I. I can now. Really, really well.), and managed to find a packet of cress. I put half of the seeds on flannel that used to be pajamas with sock monkeys on them, and half of them on an old terrycloth washcloth, so I could see which was better. For victory!

March 3

After watering responsibly and giving the cloths plenty of sun, this was the result:

April 5

Result: Buy some potting mix, for goodness sake. Aw, geez. If growing cress on your windowsill helps fight Hitler, what does failing this miserably do?

If anyone has any helpful hints, or has been able to do this successfully, let me know! You will receive all the gold stars in my possession.

Update: apparently, I should have kept them in a darker place until they sprouted. Curses! I wonder how many WWII folk made similar frustrating mistakes?