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The Food of WWII

Discussion in 'WWII Activities and Hobbies' started by Jack B, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I think your bread looks great. I do have a few questions regarding your sourdough sponge?
    What was your liquid to flour ratio?
    How long did it take to create your sponge?
    The only reason I ask is that I have been working and experimenting with sourdough sponges for a couple years now. One of the reasons you don’t get the rise from your bread is that your sponge has not had the chance to develop. I usually won’t use a sponge until it has had at least 2 weeks to grow. You should also feed it every day and then every other day throw half out. I know it sounds like a waste but you can find recipes on line to use those “waste”. I also use to start my sponges with some fruit juice or fruit cocktail juice. Last but not least once I have a good sponge I dry it out on parchment paper and then seal it in a mason jar. When I’m ready add a little fluid and good to,go.
    Bread looks great!
     
  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Oh, boy.... I might be in trouble here....

    I have a crock in the fridge with a 'mother' starter. I refresh that every 7-10 days. It just burbles away until needed. Typically I use a couple of tablespoons of the 'mother' to start a new 'sponge' for a baking project.

    I don't use a formula to refresh the 'mother' starter. To refresh the starter, I toss out about half of what is left in the crock, then add some water and enough whole wheat flour to make a thick batter. I leave it out for a couples hours to get going, then pop it back into the fridge for another week.

    For a new 'sponge'--to be used to make a proper dough to bake--I take a couple tablespoons of active starter and add flour and water in equal weights (100% hydration). This I do measure out. For the Kommisbrot I used 75gm rye, 75gm whole wheat, and 150 gm water (bottled Spring water. No chlorine!). I let this sit out at room temp (60ºF in Winter, here.) for 12-18 hours. At this point it is an active, bubbling, raucous stew with a sour, slightly alcoholic smell. If it isn't fully bubbling, I won't use it (but this just about never happens.). Just flour, water, and mother started. Nothing else.

    I got a fabulous rise from this sponge for my Kommisbrot dough almost right away. After a 12-hour ferment and rise at 60ºF, the dough had easily doubled or tripled in volume. However, my second rise, after I got the dough roughly shaped and into the baking tin, was much slower. This left me wondering if the first rise had been too active and too lengthy. Perhaps the yeast and lactobacilli of the sourdough had run out of starches to ferment? Or maybe I expected a bit too much. Maybe I could have left it to rise overnight? My second rise was less than double the original volume.

    Mrs Jack and I had some more of my 'Kommisbrot' for breakfast this morning. I've read that a typical Wehrmacht breakfast was a slice of Kommisbrot, maybe with some marmalade or cheese, and a cup of coffee....or ersatz coffee. Ersatz coffee sounds pretty bad, possibly made with roast beans. Apparently the Germans had a powdered marmalade that could be reconstituted in the field with water and an included packet of 'lemon flavor'. Yum?

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    -- The Concise Encyclopedia of World War II


    We both found a thick slice of the bread, along with a coffee (real, captured from unsuspecting Americans), to be very satisfying. We both observed that this bread has a very sweet quality, despite the fact that there is no sugar added to the dough. It also has a mild sour quality as well. Really a very tasty, albeit dense, bread. Of course, field conditions would make it taste even better....

    "Hebert Brach, 6th company, 2nd BN, GR916, had this to say after finally receiving his first German rations in days, “When we had reached the foot of the hill, there stood a soldier with a loaf of bread in his hand, cutting off slice after slice, which our men practically tore out of his hand, for we had waited six days for rations, since the supply train could not be brought closer because of enemy fire. And this slice of bread was welcome to us; we were practically starving, and this bread tasted wonderful.”" -- German Rations at the Front
     
  3. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I think you might have it with that first rise. This is a 2lb loaf and I have the first rise with very limited mix of 3 hrs and then final proof of 2 hours. Bread is baked on a stone with a pan of water for moisture

    Great quote in regards the Rations at the Front. It is amazing how a slice of bread can be something so special
    BB168D53-0F74-4C10-91D1-BD7872B48A25.jpeg
     
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  4. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    You obviously have a skilled hand with bread, jba! :):_yeah:
     
  5. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    You should have seen all of the ones that never made it. I said before how this thread has been an enjoyable one for me being a retired Chef. I have acquired probably about 9k-10k of pictures/albums/groupings and went through one of the binders looking for food pictures. Nice big coffee pot

    cook2 (1).jpg
    cook2 (2).jpg
    cook4 (1).jpg cook4 (2).jpg
     
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  6. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Wehrmacht vet: "The Gulaschkanone was the best cannon in World War 2! This cannon didn't kill any soldier!"
    -- Gulaschkanone, Scott Thompson
     
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  7. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    [​IMG]


    Today's recipe was a bit of a fail.....and a bit of a success......:shiner::_phail:

    I think I don't need to say that the potato played a big role in feeding the ETO, the USA, and the UK. I foresee many potato recipes to come.

    Today I was inspired by a few different recipes from Britain. Fairly early on, the potato became a featured vegetable.

    [​IMG]1941


    As I've combed through some period newspapers, I've encountered several variations on a stuffed, baked potato:

    [​IMG]


    Also:

    [​IMG]



    The "Potato Pete" recipe book has a few suggestions for a stuffed, baked potato:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Armed with these ideas, I did the following:

    1. Baked two medium Russet potatoes for about 70 minutes @ 400ºF
    2. Cooked one sliced carrot in boiling, salted, water for 12 minutes
    3. Halved my cooked potatoes and scooped out the centers.....but they fell apart.
    4. So...I chopped the potatoes up and roughly mashed them with the cooked carrot, some grated cheese, a splash of milk, and some salt, pepper, and dill
    5. The mash got placed into glass dishes, topped with a little more grated cheese, and returned to the oven.

    Here's what I ended up with:

    [​IMG]



    This was a fail in that I didn't end up with a stuffed potato. However, it was fairly tasty. Mrs Jack said, "This is great!"..."it's too hot!"

    I liked it but kept thinking about various ways to improve it......sour cream....salsa....gravy.....a steak..... For wartime fare, this seemed pretty good. Not luxurious, but tasty and filling. Cheap too.

    I'm not discouraged and will try to make some more baked potato recipes. It's hard to screw up a baked potato too badly. And Mrs Jack isn't complaining.
     
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  8. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Jack, a tip-next time cook the potato the day before and let them sit in the cooler for 24. The cold helps keep the skin a bit stronger when you scoop and just scald your milk to break down the scooped potato. I still think it was another great success. 2 thumbs up
     
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  9. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    [​IMG]


    I realize I'm opening a can of…….Spam…..here, but there is no way to avoid the subject of Spam in a thread about the food of WW2.

    Of course, Spam predates the war; the can of preserved meat being named ‘Spam’ in 1937.

    [​IMG]

    26/7/40, Burlington Free Press


    The Allies ate enough to come to loathe it. Germans relished captured tins of the stuff. The Russians were delighted to get it by the case under Lend-Lease:

    “With the signing of Lend-Lease in March 1941, shipments of Spam were included in the aid transported to Great Britain and the Soviet Union. It was gratefully accepted by both the military and civilian populations. Future British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then a teenager working in her parents’ grocery store, called it “a war-time delicacy.” On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) 1943, she recalled, “We had friends in and … we opened a tin of Spam luncheon meat. We had some lettuce and tomatoes and peaches, so it was Spam and salad.” And Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev wrote in his autobiography, “Without Spam, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.””
    — Dwight Jon Zimmerman, A War Won With Spam (and a Few Other Things), Defense Media Network


    Spam was used in all sorts of ways, but as a sandwich filling seems most common.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    17/5/45 Santa Cruz, California


    It wasn't just Maggie who remembered it fondly:

    “We talked about Spam and it took me back to the first time I ever saw it.

    The First time 1942.

    We were getting one tin of American dried egg per month as well as the hard egg ration. We had our own hens and the spare eggs were put down in Isenglas for later use when the hens stopped laying.

    We had been introduced to shredded cabbage as apart from that green stuff boiled to death and served with whatever was on the plate of an evening. Mrs Peeks pies in tins and Mr Wooltons pie were around, goodness knows what went into those we all suspected that the poor old sausage contained far more bread then anything else.

    At the time we had been sent reeling on every front and the days were dark with the threat of invasion still on every ones mind. Gerry was still keeping us awake most nights.


    "And then?”

    Well then along came "Supply Processed American Meat", Spam for short.

    Mother working at Goosepool Aerodrome where the Canadians were stationed arrived home with this tin, it was put on the table and inspected by my sister Sylvia and myself while Mum found the tin opener. The tin duly opened and we could see this pink looking substance which, after much freeing with a knife, slid out onto a plate.

    The first thing that struck me was the smell, it actually smelt like a nice ham. Mum slowly cut a slice from what I thought of as a log of meat, she cut slithers from the slice and we all slowly tasted it. I decided it was the nicest thing I had tasted for a good while and mum then sliced it all up and fried it for our evening meal with potato and vegetable it was a feast.

    The Spam became a prominent part of our diet from then on and came in such variety. fried, dipped in batter and deep fried, diced and put into stews and pies or just plain cold in sandwiches with tomato and cucumber. It was even served in posh restaurants with various names such as "Ballotine De Jambon Valentinoise" how posh can you get.

    From then on we seemed to suddenly change pace. The Americans were now in the war, Monty gave us a huge victory at El Alamein and we never looked back.

    It sounds impossible but did Spam win the war for us in the boost it gave to morale and our taste buds. Was it good old "Supply Processed American Meat" that finally beat the Germans? I wonder?

    I know it is scoffed at now and put down as rubbish by the gourmet's of today but I still love my fried spam sandwich and so did my Grandson.”
    — Frank Mee, Spam: Did It Save The Nation? WW2 People’s War, BBC


    So, I was after a sandwich recipe. I’ve seen this recipe kicked around the internet, but I really have no idea about it’s origins. It strikes me as being a bit ‘fancy’ for a field kitchen recipe, but I could see it being used on the home front.


    [​IMG]


    “My aunt remembers my grandmother making these for the family during World War II when many food items were rationed. Good at any time of day--breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack!” — Jennifer (from the interweb)


    In searching out recipes for Spam sandwiches I found many references to a ‘spam sandwich’, ‘spam and cheese sandwich’, and even a ‘spam and honey’ sandwich. But I couldn’t find a secondary source for the above recipe. The search goes on. But the Spam and Egg sandwich (above) looked too tempting to not give it a try. Here’s what I did:

    Ingredients:

    [​IMG]

    • 1 slice Spam, mashed with fork
    • 2 tablespoons diced onion
    • A few grinds of black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons powdered egg (for authenticity*) mixed with 3 tablespoons water
    • 1 slice American cheese (again, seems a bit more authentic than ‘Cheddar’)
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
    • 2 slices bread


    Technique:


    — I sautéed the onion until translucent then added the mashed Spam.
    — once the Spam and onions had browned a bit, I added some pepper, then the reconstituted egg.
    — once the egg had started to set, I carefully flipped the spam-egg mix over to finish cooking
    — my slab of Spam and egg got transferred to fresh bread with a slice of cheese

    [​IMG]


    Results:


    [​IMG]

    This was a fairly plain sandwich, really. The white bread was overpoweringly sweet. The Spam provided enough salt for the whole thing to work, but wasn't overly noticed. The browned onions were the best part.

    At first I thought, “I’ll take a couple of bites, then add a bunch of ketchup.” However, the sandwich was good enough that I just ate it as served. If I were to have this again tomorrow some ketchup, lime pickle, or piccalilli would find its way into the sandwich, but for today, a plain Spam & Egg was good enough. And quite satisfying.

    Mrs Jack had already eaten her lunch, but she, primed with skepticism, gave my sandwich a try: “That’s OK!” (said with surprise.) “That gets a check mark.” “I’d eat that again.”

    So, Spam may just have won another convert today.


    [​IMG]
    17/8/44, Post-Register, Idaho Falls, ID


    As Lt Tavenner so succinctly puts it, too much of anything is too much. But, I guess if you eat anything long enough, you can become accustomed to it:

    [​IMG]



    *For extra authenticity, I noted that the powdered egg ‘expired’ 02/2017.
     
  10. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I remember being there with flies in the north of Western Australia, the Kimberley - I started by brushing them off my food...within a month I was just "look out" I'm taking a bight, move it or lose it...
    These home recipes may come in handy....with this Coronavirus thingy...
     
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  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Let’s get right to it, Cream Chipped Beef, a.k.a…..

    “Shit on a Shingle might not sound dinner-appropriate, but it’s definitely breakfast-appropriate.

    The unofficial term—abbreviated as “S.O.S.”—became popular slang among American soldiers during World War II. It refers to “cream chipped beef on toast,” a dish that’s been featured in Army cookbooks for over 100 years.

    Any creamed meat (shit) served on toast (shingle) could be referred to as S.O.S. The meal amassed many nicknames, including “Creamed Foreskins on Toast” and “Shit on a Raft,” depending upon the ingredients and division of soldiers eating it. But, despite a collection of unpalatable titles, creamed chipped beef is a relatively beloved wartime dish.

    Or at least not as hated as the name implies.

    Though S.O.S was coined during World War II, the nickname extends far beyond the mess halls of the 1940s. In fact, the soldiers’ uncouth name choice has remained popular. Pennsylvania Dutch recipes insist on “Dutch frizzled beef,” and diners offer “cream chipped beef over toast.” But locals still call it Shit on a Shingle.”
    Atlas Obscura


    The old Army reference:

    [​IMG]

    Army Manual for Cooks, 1910

    But chipped beef on toast was common on the homefront, too. Newspapers featured Cream Chipped Beef as part of helpful, budget-minded, weekly planing menus, most often for breakfast. School lunch menus included chipped beef on toast:

    [​IMG]

    Pasadena Star-News, 30 May 1942


    ‘Frizzled Beef’ recipes, as referred to above, were also common in the US during WW2.

    [​IMG]

    Star Press, Muncie Indiana, 4 September 1942

    Interestingly, in Canada the dish was also known as “Frizzled beef”:

    [​IMG]

    Windsor Star, 27 February 1943


    I’ve seen a number of recipes where cooked eggs are added to the dish creamed chip beef.


    [​IMG]
    Great Falls Tribune, 3 May 1943

    [​IMG]
    Chicago Tribune 17 May 1940



    However, I think, at least as an initial entry in this thread, we need to stick with Uncle Sam’s Army version from 1941:


    [​IMG]

    Taking that as inspiration, here’s what I did:


    Ingredients:
    • 1 jar 4.5oz Armour dried beef
    • 1 12oz can condensed milk
    • ~ 2 cups beef stock
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • black pepper

    Technique:
    • I soaked the dried beef in cold water to remove excess salt. Meanwhile....
    • In a saucepan, I melted the butter, then added the flour, stirring constantly to make a tan roux
    • At that point, I added the condensed milk and some beef stock, again stirring to keep the sauce smooth
    • Once heated to a simmer it was fairly thick, I added a touch more beef stock to thin it a bit.
    • When the sauce looked 'right', in went the chopped dried beef and black pepper.
    • A few ladles got slopped over toast.

    Results:

    [​IMG]


    If you are used to a sauce that looks a bit more white and “creamy”, keep in mind that this army version uses beef stock, which adds some color. I also got my flour toasted to a beige or ‘caramel’ state (for better flavor).

    But I do think the look of this could inspire some untoward comparisons and earn that ‘SOS’ moniker.

    Still, this was a pretty simple and easy recipe to make. And, I have to say, fairly tasty. After finishing the first piece of toast, I added some Tabasco, which makes everything better.

    Mrs Jack (no Tabasco on her sample) said, “That’s not bad!”. A bite later, “I’d go so far as to say that’s good.” Then, “If you were cold and wet, that would be great.”

    Me: “or hungover.”

    Mrs Jack: “For sure!”

    So the S.O.S. worked out just fine. However, it screams for improvement. A teaspoon of Cajun seasoning and a sprig of fresh thyme would catapult this into the realm of enticing. Adding some sautéed mushrooms would really make it nice. That, served over toast topped with a couple slices of broiled tomato, and Mrs Jack would be requesting this every week or so.

    As it is…..I think a fella would get mighty bored of this dish mighty quickly….unless he were cold, wet, and hungover. Thank goodness for Tabasco.
     
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  12. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I just had this last week ! Of course my culinary skills are such that the simpler the better.

    To Wit;
    One packet of frozen Stouffers creamed chip beef: 11oz
    Two slices bread

    Heat beef packet in microwave oven for about sevens minutes.
    Toast slices of bread in toaster.
    Pour the chipped beef over toast.

    Just about right for my attention span/patience.
     
  13. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Ha! I didn't know that it came ready made.

    My sense is that Cream chipped beef has an underground, cult-like following...the internet abounds with recipes. ;)
     
  14. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Biak, a question for you: do you eat the Stouffer's 'as directed' or do you 'doctor it up' with some flavor additions? Tabasco? Curry powder? Soy Sauce? A pinch of Mama Biak's secret herb blend?

    I find it very hard to strictly stick to these WWII reproduction recipes. I'm constantly tempted to add some nutmeg and cayenne pepper to everything (because those make everything better). Even when I was active duty, I always had some a bottle of hot sauce and/or a small plastic jar of Cajun seasoning with me. I had a special pouch as part of my 'battle rattle' to carry these things around with me. Many guys carried extra water, I carried hot sauce. You'll die without water, but you can't live without hot sauce!

    Always keep your morale up! :salute:
     
  15. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Usually I stick with just salt & pepper. The Stouffer's chipped beef and sauce was actually pretty good as is.
    I've never handled spicy foods well and in the last year or so I've cut back on salt.
     
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  16. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    This is a diary that belonged to Lt. James Muise. He was a navigator in a B24 that was shot down after a bombing mission. He was taken prisoner and in his diary he constantly is writing about food he will eat when released, recipes he will try, restaurants he will visit and even list what came in Red Cross packages from different countries. When I saw Canadian RC Spam Loaf sits as the first item.
    James Muise.JPG
     
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  17. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Limited diet, but I bet he was grateful. The RC parcels were delivered inconsistently, often infrequently.
     
  18. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    It seems Spam also had many names in a POW camp
    Spam1.JPG
    Spam 2.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    You are inspiring me to try another Spam recipe....... :D
     
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  20. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Okay bare with me here, and like I say on the first tee, "No Laughing"!

    This is not a WW2 recipe but the thread has intrigued me so wanted to give it a go.

    Spam Hickory Smoke simply sliced and diced and added to scrabbled eggs.


    SHS.JPG
     
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