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.
The best part about cooking like it’s 1945, deprived of precious commodities like butter and eggs, is being able to lick the spoon without fear of eating raw eggs. No wait, it’s the easy clean-up. It’s the sense of duty and victory baked into a cake. Or the memories brought about by Grandma’s recipes, complete with tales of war-rationing and boys overseas. Whatever it was that drove them to 1940s cooking, our readers’ versions of Wacky Cake were all victorious.
Congratulations to Nicole Schubert and Malorie Souza, whose patriotic avoidance of butter and eggs won them an apron signed by Bridget Lancaster and a copy of Cook’s Country Blue Ribbon Desserts. At the bottom of this post, see their photographs that will make you want to spend the ten minutes (!) to make this delicious cake.
Hungry for more? In the 1940s, to save on entertaining costs while still fulfilling a need for food and friends, families embarked on Progressive Dinners: appetizers were at the Jones’, main course at the Smiths’ house on the corner, and dessert was served down the street at Betty and Joe’s.
Get the recipes for your own Post-War Party: Swiss Steak with Tomato Gravy uses an inexpensive cut of meat braised to tenderness that satisfied America’s meat-craving without breaking the bank; the opening of monumental French restaurant Le Pavillon after its debut in the 1939 World’s Fair blew America’s mind with its showcase of French haute cuisine, and homemakers were ready to translate Parisian fanciness into meat-and-potatoes Americanness (as in Duchess Potatoes); the post-war feast can be finished off with the cake discovery of the 1940s, Chiffon Cake.
After the war, America had an appetite and was ready to binge in its newfound prosperity, which meant money and time to fill the kitchen with canned goods and French foods. Be sure to check back for 1950s cooking in our next Cooking Through the Decades challenge!
Image Credit: Peter Dooley via Flickr Commons
Nicole loves American mid-century cooking, and this cake is just the right accent to her war-time apron, bought in London at Winston Churchill's underground war rooms, that has been in her family for twenty years. She is cooking and blogging her way through “A Treasury of Great Recipes” at The Pot and the Pendulum.
Malorie loved how easy this cake was to make, and to clean up. Who knew cooking without eggs or butter could be so moist? She blogs about all things neat and nerdy, which certainly includes cooking cool cakes from the Forties, at The Chic Geek.
Congratulations again to our winners!