Welcome to “Cooking Through the Decades,” a 10-week journey through the 20th century, where you can let our revamped retro recipes take you back through history. Cook along with us for a chance to win cookbooks and an America’s Test Kitchen apron autographed by Bridget Lancaster.
SETTING THE SCENE: THE 1940S
Uncle Sam needs you! He needs you to can and preserve. He needs you to switch to ground beef. He needs you to substitute honey or syrup or molasses for precious sugar. He needs you to buy war bonds, to save scrap metal, to keep the home fires burning while our boys are at war – and these fires need to be cooking for our country. Now your victory garden counts more than ever, for though the war is overseas, we are fighting on the homefront. And somehow, despite the rationing of expensive goods, we Americans are eating more meat than ever before. For Uncle Sam needs us to be strong and healthy to support our troops. Feeding our children vitamins, these newly discovered properties of health, and giving them glasses of milk is more than responsible childrearing: parenting becomes patriotic. The war will soon be over and then we can binge in our newfound strength but until then, yes. We can do it.
THIS WEEK’S RECIPE: WACKY CAKE
Even in wartime Americans were not about to deprive their sweet tooth. Unless they were dabbling in the black market or using precious ration points, homemakers found ways to avoid butter and eggs in their desserts. Wacky Cake sounds goofy but it is really a domestic science experiment gone completely right, in which the chocolate cake is moist and fluffy despite containing no eggs or butter. American bakers learned to have their cake and eat it too, realizing that serving their country and serving dessert were not mutually exclusive.
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Cook like it’s 1945! We can do it!
Make this patriotic recipe that uses no butter or eggs and send us a picture of you with the dish (or if you’re shy, just the dish is ok too)! Email it to email@example.com, with the subject line “1945.” Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and blog or Twitter URL. Also, feel free to include a few lines about your experiences with this dish or decade.
Deadline: Tuesday, July 31 at 5 p.m. EST
Two winning entries will will be featured on The Feed next Wednesday. The lucky bakers will win a copy of Blue Ribbon Country Desserts and an America’s Test Kitchen apron signed by Bridget Lancaster.
Images from Northwestern University Library.