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Nutritious, Maybe, But Delicious?

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With the implementation of wartime consumer food rations beginning in 1942, American women faced the daunting task of not only feeding their families but keeping them satisfied and happy. With many foods, such as sugar, butter, and meat, in short supply, women were forced to change their usual methods of buying, preparing, and serving food. To assist women in their patriotic duty of putting food on the family table, a variety of “Wartime Cookbooks” were published and distributed. These small, mass produced cookbooks provided tips for maximizing the potential of ration points, methods for utilizing leftovers and eliminating waste, and new recipes to allow families to enjoy “delicious and nutritious” meals while not using more than their fare share.

Wartime cookbooks advocated unique food combinations and substitutions, as well as several unusual recipes. Women were encouraged to buy less desirable cuts of meat, such as organ meat, due to its lower point value, save all cooking byproducts, such as meat drippings, and to substitute sugar for nontraditional sweeteners such as molasses, honey, corn-syrup, and even marshmallows. Some of the new recipes provided included Sweet and Sour Tongue, Chicken or Ham Mold, and Peanut Butter and Chili Sauce Sandwiches. Yum?

Share your memories of wartime cookbooks and their recipes at our Kitchen Memories site today!

Post by Anna Wysuph, Education Intern at The National WWII Museum.

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