Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Historic Recipes: Vegetableburgers, Crunchy Vegetable Salad and Maple Nut Pudding


Looking back through the archives I see we haven't done a historic recipe since the liver episode (and subsequent suspicious implosion of the oven range).

A nice, relatively safe (and organ meat-free) recipe seemed in order, and this gem on the left from the April 7, 1943 Topeka Daily Capitol seemed just the ticket.

A whole meal of rationing appropriate edibles: Vegetableburgers, Crunchy Salad (vitamin filled!) and Maple Nut Pudding.

Let's see...vegetableburgers first. Remember, this was in the days before Boca Burgers and Morningstar, so commercially-prepared alternative meat products were not an option. While most contemporary do-it-yourself meatless burgers are either legume-based (lentil burgers, black bean burgers) or grain-based (quinoa burgers, bulgur burgers), this recipe is a novelty in that it has neither. It's a simple mixture of diced cooked vegetables and a white sauce shaped into a patty, breaded and then fried. Since the girls are highly dubious of mushrooms (poor girls) I served the burgers on buns with traditional hamburger toppings.

The crunchy vegetable salad is about as simple as it gets: cut (mostly raw) vegetables in a thin coating of salad dressing. For the record, bottled French dressing was widely available in food markets in the 1940s. I didn't have any so I made a small batch from scratch.

The verdict on the main two dishes? Well, the vegetableburgers (and yes, it bothers me too that the two words are smooshed together into one larger word) were palatable, but quite mushy in the middle due to insufficient binding. I think they could have benefited from less white sauce and the addition of either a grain or more egg/breadcrumb substance to stay together better during the frying process. Both the grown-ups ate their burgers and each girl ate well over half of theirs, with stuffed-mouth comments of "It's okay but not my favorite."

The salad was, as promised, crunchy. And very pink due to the dressing and the beets. That's about all there is to say about that.

Now the pudding! Of course, how could we eat our pudding if we didn't eat our meat? Well, that's for Pink Floyd to take up since it was a vegetarian meal. I had never made pudding from scratch before and was quite surprised at the simplicity of the recipe: combine basic ingredients, stir a lot over low heat and then chill. The pudding was a big hit - hints of butterscotch without the scotch, thick and creamy and yummy. I think the girls would gladly eat more vegetableburgers if it meant maple nut pudding in the end.

So there you have it: one of the more successful historic recipe nights at the Rational Living household. And in all the entire meal used only 1 red ration point (on two tablespoons of butter) and no blue/green ration points.

Hopefully historic meals will only get better from here on out (although I did just remember I promised TMOTH we would try tongue or heart at some point...).

--Rational Mama


  1. That pudding looks quite delish! I don't know how many ration points it'll use, but you should try that pudding recipe I put in that cookbook. It dates back pre-any world war, so I don't know if it's usable--- but I certainly have a craving for it thanks to your wonderful looking picture of pudding perfection.

  2. I was thinking of you and your pudding recipe when I was typing this up!