Friends, we knew there would be times during our year of living on WWII rations that we would be discouraged, discontent and otherwise dissatisfied with the situation in which we had put ourselves. Little did we know such a circumstance would arise so quickly within the year.
Remember how one of the limitations we're working with is that the only fresh produce purchased must be seasonal? That means for the months of January through March the only fresh produce items allowed are cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, turnips and winter squash.
Now, the majority of the household has a fondness for green leafy things and as such we've been eating far more cabbage than the average modern American family. Cabbage salad, coleslaw, Asian cabbage salad, cabbage vinaigrette and so on. One of the recipes we tried was the "Hot Cabbage Slaw" recipe in Joanne Lamb Hayes' Grandma's Wartime Kitchen: World War II and the Way We Cooked.
1 small head (1.25 lb) green cabbage
1 large red bell pepper (stems, seeds and ribs discarded)
1 cup water
2 TB bacon fat or vegetable shortening
2 TB all-purpose flour
2 TB lemon juice
1.5 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
*I substituted 1 large carrot in place of the unseasonable bell pepper
[Warning: the following pictures contain images of over-cooked, slimy vegetable products. Children and the squeamish may want to look away.]
- Rinse and shred cabbage. Thinly slice pepper (carrot) lengthwise.
- Combine cabbage, pepper, and water in a heavy 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 10 minutes
- Pour into a colander and drain very well, reserving 1 cup liquid. If necessary, add water to liquid to make 1 cup.
- In same saucepan, melt bacon fat; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in 1 cup reserved vegetable liquid, the lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Stir reserved cabbage and pepper (carrots) into thickened sauce and return to a boil. Cook, stirring, until vegetables reach desired tenderness, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir.
I believe the culinary term is...ewww. Sadly, this recipe did not work for us; it was a combination of slimy cabbage, bacon flavor and lemon that no one found palatable. The children wouldn't touch it, The Man of the House and I ate our allotted serving and then I'm afraid, my friends, that the remainder ended up in the refrigerator and, after a week, went to visit trash mountain. So sad. One of our goals is to not waste food this year. So sad.
And it also makes me feel very thankful that this type of meal is a choice - not a necessity.
And this brings me to the plea: please oh please oh please oh please oh please if you have any fabulous, ration-friendly recipes for cabbage, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips and winter squash can you please post them? They would make the Rational Living household happy and renew our faith in seasonal eating.
From the bottom of my stomach,