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Dept. of Chemistry

Ah, the Magic of Cookery

Well, I was feeling rather glum a little earlier today - quite momentarily, I assure you, but glum nonetheless. I started a post that was gazing drearily on humanity's apparently matchless ability to bring an end to the Anthropocene ... and then I remembered that I meant to make an Apple Harvest Cake today. It's a recipe of my mother's and grandmother's that involves apples and cinnamon and far too many eggs and a great deal of sugar and oil (it's a Second World War-era recipe, for all that it was profligate with the eggs, so oil it was, rather than the fats that were necessary for the war effort, or the dairy goods that were needed for Our Boys at the Front) ...

The result is that, while it baked, filling the house with a perfectly wonderful aroma, I exercised, and then we had an excellent supper of leftovers, and the cake came out just as we finished supper. We will have cake and ice cream after the first hour of anime watching.

And the idea of monologueing about the end of the Anthropocene just flew out the window. At least for now.

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/370551.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


Jul. 19th, 2015 11:40 am (UTC)
Aw, sounds very nice - and apply cake to problems is always a cunning solution!

(Being a Brit, I'm highly amused at a WWII recipe that can be profligate with eggs, even if it holds back on the butter! Our WWII recipes were mostly things of desperation that involved how to substitute root vegetables for flour and use powdered egg and suchlike. My Mum's family on the Welsh side had Canadian relatives who used to sympathetically send them all food parcels at Christmas, well into the 50s, even after rationing had finally stopped.)
Jul. 19th, 2015 09:10 pm (UTC)
(Being a Brit, I'm highly amused at a WWII recipe that can be profligate with eggs, even if it holds back on the butter!

I suspect that the recipe had far fewer eggs when it was actually used during wartime - I remember my Nana talking about how everything was scarce during the war, and while Canada did have more eggs and meat throughout the war than you did in the U.K., eggs were still a rarity for most folks between 1939 and 1945.

I know that in Britain, rationing had to continue past the end of the war; was it the early 1950s or mid-1950s?

The idea of substituting root vegetables for flour .... I take it that the raw veggies would be grated, and the dried grated veggies (probably potatoes would work admirably because of their starch), would be used to help stretch flour?

ETA: I still make my Nana's "Ambassador Chocolate Cake," which is definitely still a wartime recipe: just 1 egg, cocoa, very little sugar. It's quite dry and not all that sweet, but it still works as that "something special" you could bring to the table for dessert.

Edited at 2015-07-19 09:14 pm (UTC)
Jul. 19th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC)
The shortages were chronic, and not just eggs and meat. It was worse elsewhere, of course; people were dying of starvation in the last winter of the war in Occupied Europe. But, yeah.

You boil the potatoes up and soften them that way, not grate them. People will occasionally still use it for chocolate cake, but it is rather heavy. (My sister made one for home ec once, and it was perfectly nice). Powdered egg was bought.

Rationing finally ended in 1954, but it had been over ten years for people and they were just about going crazy with it; it had been one of the hardest bits of the war to live with - it's always the day to day annoyances! - not only the shortages but the endless queuing for things you weren't necessarily guaranteed to get when you did have the coupons (because you had to be registered at one shop, you couldn't go somewhere else), and doubly so when the war was over.

(There's quite a detailed account of it all here if you're interested.)
Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for the information; it's stuff that I sort of knew as background knowledge, but hadn't had all the facts. And 10 years of rationing makes me wonder why all of England, and the rest of the U.K. didn't just go mad at the end.

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