Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Edible Mystery

We're still plugging away at house projects and rationing, and eating our sandwiches and Ramen...not much cooking going on. Things should start slowing down next week and hopefully the posting here will be more frequent and interesting.

In the meantime, I thought you might like to ponder this Double-Mix ad from a 1943 edition of the Topeka Daily Capital.

Apparently, Double-Mix is a butter extender; at 16 red points per pound butter is definitely one of the most price-expensive rationed items. But what, really, is Double-Mix?

Gelatin? Xanthum Gum? Petroleum Jelly?

Clearly it is something magical, having the ability to double the amount of butter with a little simple cookery. It also, apparently, allows one to have a disembodied, floating head. And hopefully it is something that even today we'd recognize as safe to eat.

I'm sure this worked well for situations where one wanted to spread butter, say toast or muffins. But I imagine it wouldn't work for anything requiring heat.


--Rational Mama


  1. yuck. That's my only thought. I don't know what's in there, but I doubt it's any good for ya.

  2. I can't say what the proprietary product was (I dread to think!), but you might be interested that the April 1948 leaflet "Making the Most of the Fat Ration" published by the UK's Ministry of Food lists 3 different ways of extending spreading fats.

    "Butter Extender No. 1"
    Put 6oz margarine or butter in a bowl and cream with a wooden spoon. Melt another 2oz in a saucepan, work in 1 level tbsp flour and 1/2 tsp salt, and blend in 1/2 pint milk. Heat carefully until smooth and thick. Boil 5-7 minutes. Cool and add to the margarine in the bowl. Mix well until smooth and allow to cool before using.

    "Butter Extender No. 2"
    Melt margarine and add it to an equal quantity of mashed potato. Mix and use cold.

    "Dripping Spreads"
    Use dripping from the joint alone, or mixed with any of the following: Salt and pepper, chopped pickle, meat extract, chopped onion or leek, bottle sauce or chutney, herbs vinegar and grated cheese.

    ....I know things were rougher here with rationing, but eww! Mashed potato? Don't think I'll be trying that one any time soon. :-D

    Sorry for the long post, but I thought you might be interested in the methods promoted in literature of the time. I love reading these old rationing leaflets. :-)