1940’s Recipes

Looking for recipes from the 1940’s. Especially interested in recipes where substitutions were made for rationed items. Desserts, main meals, breads, etc.

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Comments

  1. says

    I highly recommend “We’ll Eat Again” I love it so very much. (Editor’s note: click on link to see book.)

    Also my own website is here, should you be interested. (Editor’s note: click on blue highlighted name “Jana” to go to her link.)

    • Kathy says

      Amy…..Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely check them out.

      Jana…..The book “We’ll Eat Again” from Amazon should be arriving any day. Really looking forward to getting it. Thanks again.

  2. Kathy says

    Thank you Jana. I have bookmarked your site for when I have more time to check it out and I also just ordered a copy of the book you spoke of from Amazon. Anxious now to get it.

  3. Sherri says

    Jana, thanks so much for sharing your website, I love it its fantastic and will pass it on to my friends. I must say to everyone here that American food is very different to Australian, some of it is a little strange but I’m willing to try anything!

  4. KathyJ says

    you can find a range of old cookbooks at the website below:
    http://chestofbooks.com/food/index.html

    In particular a war-time one:
    http://chestofbooks.com/food/recipes/War-Time/index.html

    from 1918, but it might be of some help
    http://chestofbooks.com/food/recipes/Economical-Cookery/index.html

    also Project Gutenberg has quite a few old books available for free download, including cookbooks.
    Foods That Will Win the War and How to Cook Them
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15464/15464-h/15464-h.htm

    Everyday Foods in War Time
    http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=1494174

    Google Books also has some online cookbooks
    Grandma’s Wartime Baking Book: World War II and the Way We Baked

    Mary Elizabeth’s War Time Recipes

    War-time breads and cakes

    Food Will Win The War – Minnesota Crops Cooks and Conservation

    I’m sure there’s more on all of these sites, but these should keep you busy for a while. :)
    I do have some recipes that I had typed out from some of the cookbooks I own. I’ll post those separately. Are you looking for anything in particular?
    KathyJ

    • Kathy says

      Just a variety of recipes. I am interested in how they cooked in those days. What I need now is the definitions of their cooking terms/measurments. Some are confusing….like……what is a “rasher” of bacon?

      • KathyJ says

        From what I’ve been able to find, a “rasher” of bacon is one to three thin slices of bacon. I think the term is used a lot in England, but not sure….

  5. KathyJ says

    Ration Tips from “Coupon Cookery” by Prudence Penny

    – Keep a covered quart jar in the refrigerator in which to store left-over liquid from vegetables. Later, dissolve a bouillon
    cube and make delicious soup.

    – Transform your thin meat or vegetable soup into a hearty meal by putting a slice of left-over bread or toast into soup plate, topping with poached egg and pouring in the soup.

    – If you do not have enough eggs for your favorite cake or hot bread, for each egg omitted from the recipe, substitute 1/2 teaspoon double action baking powder, and 2 tablespoons of milk.

    – Cold left-over spaghetti or macaroni are good if chopped and mixed with vegetables, served in lettuce cups with well seasoned dressing.

    – Salvage Unusable Fats: When fats are no longer usable for cooking, they are ready for the salvage can. Clean a tin container; warm fat and pour it through a cloth into the can. Store in cool place until at least one pound is collected, then take to your meat dealer. Do not use glass or paper containers. The glycerine from salvage fats is used in the manufacture of explosives and medical supplies. It is the most vital of all war materials!

    *(Editor’s note: Thank you Kathy for your generous contribution to this discussion and for pointing us towards this great resource. Unfortunately, we can comfortably share only a couple recipes or tips from a cookbook, because we have to tread very lightly on copyright laws, even for old cookbooks. I appreciate the time you took to share the recipes you found with us and struggled with this decision.

    The good news is, many of these old cookbooks are still available and can be purchased for reasonable prices. I’ve linked to a few purchasing sites as well as the free download sites you shared. Again, I really appreciate your effort and don’t want you to think you wasted your time. Many of us were not even aware that these cookbooks existed, and thanks to you, now we are! Very much appreciated, Kathy.)

  6. KathyJ says

    Desserts. all from the same cookbook “Coupon Cookery” by Prudence Penny

    Honey Chocolate Cake

    ½ cup shortening
    ¾ cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    2 ½ cups cake flour
    1 teaspoon double action baking powder
    ¾ teaspoon soda
    ½ cup cocoa
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 ¼ cup sour milk
    ¾ cup honey

    Cream shortening and brown sugar thoroughly.
    Add well-beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients, add alternately in
    thirds with the milk, mixing each time until smooth.
    Add the honey last and mix lightly. Add flavoring; pour into well-
    greased 9-inch layer tins. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

    (I don’t know what flavoring they’re talking about adding in the
    last step….)

    Grandma’s Bread Pudding

    2 cups milk, scalded
    2 cups soft bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons butter
    ½ teaspoon flavoring
    2 eggs or 3 yolks
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ cup sugar, brown or white, or honey or corn syrup

    Scald milk. Grease small baking dish. Bread crumbs should be dry but
    not stale; crusts removed. Add butter to crumbs. Add scalded milk
    and let stand until slightly cooled, add salt, sugar, and beaten
    eggs.
    Add flavoring, turn into greased pan or individual custard cups. Set
    in pan of hot water and bake at 350 degrees until firm, about one
    hour.

    Chocolate variation: Add one ounce bitter chocolate in milk when
    scalding it.
    Maple variation: Use 1/3 cup maple syrup for sweetening, reduce milk
    1/3 cup.
    Fruit variation: Add ¼ to ½ cup raisins, diced figs or dates to
    pudding.

    Penny Tip: There’s nothing worse than bad bread pudding! If properly
    made it is a glimpse of heaven.

    (Editor’s note: Thank you Kathy for your generous contribution to this discussion and for pointing us towards this great resource. Unfortunately, we can comfortably share only a couple recipes from a cookbook, because we have to tread very lightly on copyright laws, even for old cookbooks. I appreciate the time you took to share the recipes you found with us and struggled with this decision.

    The good news is, many of these old cookbooks are still available and can be purchased for reasonable prices. I’ve linked to a few purchasing sites as well as the free download sites you shared. Again, I really appreciate your effort and don’t want you to think you wasted your time. Many of us were not even aware that these cookbooks existed, and thanks to you, now we are! Very much appreciated, Kathy.)

  7. KathyJ says

    Meals from the same cookbook “Coupon Cookery” by Prudence Penny

    Meat Roly Poly

    1 pound ground beef
    ½ pound ground pork
    1 egg
    1 ½ teaspoons salt
    ½ cup oatmeal
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1/3 cup water
    Bread Stuffing

    Mix ingredients (first seven) thoroughly; pat to rectangular shape
    about ½-inch thickness on waxed paper.
    Spread with bread stuffing and roll as for jelly roll.
    Place in dripping pan and cover with bacon crisps. Bake at 350
    degrees for 1 ¾ to 2 hours. Serve with tomato sauce or mushroom
    sauce, or with brown gravy.
    Serves 6.

    Penny Tip: Easy does it for the stuffing: Brown a little onion,
    parsley, green pepper, celery or what have you in drippings; moisten
    left-over bread or muffins with milk and combine. Bacon crisps are
    bits or pieces of bacon which crisp up and furnish seasoning.

    Bread Omelet

    ½ cup bread crumbs
    2 teaspoons salt
    ½ teaspoon pepper
    ½ cup milk
    4 eggs
    2 teaspoons butter

    Soak the bread crumbs in the milk for 15 minutes, then add salt and
    pepper. Separate the yolk and the whites of the egg and beat until
    light.
    Add yolk to the bread and milk and cut in the white. Turn in heated
    buttered pan and cook until delicately brown around edges. Place in
    350 degree oven and bake until set and lightly brown. Fold and turn on
    heated dish.

    Low-Point Stew

    1 pound ground beef
    3 slices bread, soaked in milk
    salt, pepper, onion juice
    ¼ cup fat
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 tablespoon chili sauce (may omit)
    1 cup tomato soup or soup stock
    2 cups hot water
    Dumpling mixture

    Season meat well with salt, pepper and onion juice. Add soaked bread.
    Shape lightly into small cakes. Place fat in deep stew pan, put in
    cakes and brown on all sides.
    Lift out cakes and add 2 cups hot water, chili sauce, tomato soup,
    salt to taste.
    Thicken with flour, mixed in cold water to paste. Replace cakes in
    saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes.
    Drop dumpling mixture on top of meat cakes, cover closely, and cook
    15 minutes on top of stove, or 20 minutes in hot oven at 400 degrees.

    Penny Tip: For quick and easy dumpling, use prepared biscuit mix
    according to package instructions!

    (Editor’s note: Thank you Kathy for your generous contribution to this discussion and for pointing us towards this great resource. Unfortunately, we can comfortably share only a couple recipes from a cookbook, because we have to tread very lightly on copyright laws, even for old cookbooks. I appreciate the time you took to share the recipes you found with us and struggled with this decision.

    The good news is, many of these old cookbooks are still available and can be purchased for reasonable prices. I’ve linked to a few purchasing sites as well as the free download sites you shared. Again, I really appreciate your effort and don’t want you to think you wasted your time. Many of us were not even aware that these cookbooks existed, and thanks to you, now we are! Very much appreciated, Kathy.)

  8. KathyJ says

    I guess I had only typed up one bread recipe. from the same cookbook “Coupon Cookery” by Prudence Penny

    Peanut Butter Bread

    2 cups enriched flour
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 cup peanut butter
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup evaporated milk
    1/2 cup water

    Mix and sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
    Cut in peanut butter or rub in with finger tips.
    Combine slightly beaten eggs and milk and water, add to the dry
    ingredients and stir just enough to moisten. Pour into greased loaf
    pan 4 inch by 9 inch and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until
    done.

  9. Josi says

    I purchased “Depression Era Recipes” by Patricia R. Wagner at Roosevelt’s Little White House in Warm Springs, Ga. for $9.95. (ISBN: 0-934860-55-6) I enjoy seeing the recipes, although some are surprising. Roasted and Stuffed Raccoon, anyone? The last chapter is Miscellaneous items – how to make Sachets, wrinkle cream and Hard Soap, House hold tips and Food stuff substitutions. I also saw a dear old lady on Facebook making depression era foods. I can’t remember her name, but she was entertaining and has many videos on there.

  10. Jane says

    Pasta e Fagiola (Pasta and Beans) is now served in many restaurants but when I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s it was a staple in our diet. Although not the same as what is served today, it was a cheap way for my Grandmother to make dinner on the cheap. Being from Italy, Grandma (and my mom and aunts) always had Spaghetti and Meatballs for Sunday dinner. We also had leftovers on Wednesday. By the time Friday rolled around, the only thing left was some of the sauce. That’s where you see how older folks used up everything and threw nothing away! Here’s the recipe I still use today. You will notice – no meat because back then Catholics didn’t eat meat on Friday and this was a Friday dish. Nowadays folks try to eat less meat and have meatless Mondays. Also, we never had jarred spaghetti sauce and still today I make my own. So easy to make and so much better without all the sugar that goes into the pre-made stuff.

    Grandma’s Pasta Fagiola (Serves about 4)
    2 C. Ditalini Pasta (or small shells or elbows if you can’t find Ditalini but Ditalini is traditional).
    1 small onion chopped
    2 cloves of garlic chopped
    1 T. Olive Oil
    1 Can Cannellini beans – drained and rinsed
    2 – 3 Cups leftover Spaghetti Sauce

    Cook the pasta per package directions but don’t cook them till they are too soft – leave them a little firm.
    While pasta is cooking, saute the onion in the olive oil till soft then add the garlic and cook till fragrent but don’t let the garlic brown. Pour in the tomato sauce and the beans. Add water – enough to make a soupy consistancy. You may want to add more herbs, etc. You can substitute broth for water if you wish. Use enough that you get a tomato broth and it’s not too thick.

    Drain the pasta – do not rinse. Add pasta to the pot with the beans and sauce. Stir and heat through. Ladle out into bowls, top with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese and serve with a tossed salad and some garlic bread. Leftovers will tend to get very thick – like a stew, because the pasta tends to absorb the sauce.

  11. Stacey says

    Ooh this is kind of exciting for me. About 5 years ago I bought a set of cookbooks by an author named Barbara Swell. There are some great names too:

    Log Cabin Cooking-Pioneer Recipes and Food Lore
    Take Two and Butter ‘Em While They’re Hot!
    Mama’s In The Kitchen -Weird And Wonderful Home Cooking 1900-1950
    Secrets Of The Great Old-Timey Cooks-Historic Recipes,Love and Wisdom
    Old Time Farmhouse Cooking-Rural American Recipes and Farm Lore
    The Lost Art of Pie Making-Made Easy

    I actually bought them as more of a novelty, but now with how things in our economy are going, I just might be pulling from these for real.

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      Thank you, Stacey, for sharing the titles of these old time cookbooks. I’ve linked each one to Amazon so if interested, people could buy them simply. The prices are very reasonable. (Full disclosure – These are my Amazon affiliate links so I do make a small commission on the sales. I don’t want anyone to feel they are being misled.) It is wonderful just to know there are cookbooks like these available out there.

  12. Stacey says

    You’re welcome. That’s pretty cool, glad I could help. I have begun reading these since posting, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Though I have no idea what Aspic is and don’t intend on eating brains, I already have planned out a few of the recipes to make here soon.

    • Carol Cripps says

      Aspic is simply a savoury gelatine dish – it generally contains meat stock, and meat as well, such as tongue or veal. However, there are many other recipes that contain vegetables only, again in a clear, savoury jelly. It’s a really attractive way to serve up cold food in hot weather.

  13. Kathy says

    Thanks to all of you for the excellent sources. I am having fun checking out the diferent sites. What I need now is a source that explains their measurments and what some of their terms mean. I bought the book ” We’ll Eat Again “. I want to try some of the recipes but there is no explanation to some of their terms. I have tried looking on-line for cooking terms/definitions from that era but haven’t been able to locate a site.

    • geekbearinggifts says

      How about posting some of the measurements and terms you don’t understand? Maybe some of the readers here can help.

  14. Cindy Merrill says

    Grandfather’s Breakfast ( his favorite): Cook oat groats or Old Fashioned oatmeal until almost creamy texture- Gramps used a cast iron pot to make it on the woodstove, but a slow cooker will do,
    Add a few slices of cooked breakfast sausage, or diced bits of ham- dish up, add some milk, if desired.I also remember that nothing ever went to waste- even sour green apples were foraged, dried and then used throughout the winter, usually in pancakes, as I recall.

  15. says

    Oh goodness! I am totally loving this thread. This is getting bookmarked for a lot of references. I agree that you should list the terms here and we’ll see if we can all help in finding an answer. It’s too bad this thread didn’t exist only a couple of years ago. I used to work with the elderly and most were wartime ladies. They probably would have known, but alas, I’m retired now (an early retirement but retired none-the-less).

    I have a cookbook titled Biscuits and Belles that I picked up at a farm museum, but I evidently didn’t read through it carefully enough before purchase because once I got home I realized that a good number of recipes were modernized, which was an annoyance. Why buy a cookbook that’s supposed to have antique recipes only to find recipes like “whole wheat biscuits”? UGH! So just fair warning, don’t bother with that one.

    Anyway, happy recipe finding!

  16. Kathy says

    I have been able to find some of the terms/measurements by going to other sites and doing ALOT of searching thru their recipes. One term that still puzzles me tho is a “rasher of bacon.” I have one recipe that calls for 4 oz. fat bacon rashers. It says to grill and chop the bacon rashers then mix w/ other ingredients to make the filling. It serves 4 people so I am wondering if it is 4 strips of bacon or actually 4 oz of bacon strips. Still looking for recipes from these years.

    • geekbearinggifts says

      In the recipe mentioned, use four ounces by weight of bacon. If you’re using the sliced bacon we most often find in the US, the number of slices will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The recipe probably won’t suffer for having a little less (or a little more) bacon than the original writer intended.

  17. Connie Mays says

    I have friends who are English and some who are American Irish. They use “rashers” in terms all the time. They buy their bacon or meat (usually by the pound) then cut it into how many “rashers” they need or want. So, my guess is 4 rashers to them would be 1/4 lb. to us.

    • Kathy says

      That makes sense. I was thinking afterwards that back in the 1940’s there probably was not such a thing as sliced bacon. They probably just had like a small chunk of bacon. Looking back at rationing lists it shows that once a week each adult in the house received a 4 oz serving of meat.

  18. Alyson says

    In England, a rasher of bacon is a slice of bacon. It depends what type of bacon it is, streaky or back as to how much you get for your oz. You’ll get more for your oz if you choose streaky bacon because they are thin strips. In british wartime rationing, bacon was separate from the meat ration. Where you would get 4oz a week for bacon ( which is about 4 slices of streaky) meat was rationed by price, 1s 6d and from what I can gather, you didn’t get much.Sauasges were not rationed but hard to get.

  19. says

    I’m looking for a recipe that my mother-in-law used when my husband was little (he is 83 now)
    It was a pie that was thin and almost clear, does anyone know anything about it?

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