Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wartime Recipes

Critic Issue 8: Anzac Day Issue - Num Nums
Mock Goose

In keeping with the theme of this issue, I thought it would be interesting to try some wartime recipes. These were not what soldiers were fed, but rather recipes that women used, with what little rations they had, to feed their families. After some quick research, which consisted solely of entering ‘wartime recipes’ in Google, I settled for what looked like the recipes that would produce the most palatable food of the lot – ‘Mock Goose’ and ‘Honey Cakes’. Ah, the lengths that I go to for material for this column…

The ‘Mock Goose’ was horrid. Okay maybe I am exaggerating a little but it was one of those things that tasted tolerable at first but got exponentially worse the more you tasted it. It was basically made with layers of sliced potatoes, apples and grated cheese, baked in vegetable stock. In addition to that, we were instructed to season each layer with salt and pepper. The combination of the cheese, salt and vegetable stock made the entire thing far too salty for me. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if it was a side dish that accompanied a sweetish or citrusy fish or meat, but on it’s own it was AWFUL. Whoever named it ‘Mock Goose’, deceiving me into thinking of it as a main meal and thus aggravating the experience, needs to be charged for the worst misnomer crime in history.

The tasting of the ‘Mock Goose’ left us in an understandably fragile state so we were very suspicious of the ‘Honey Cake’. Luckily, although not at all cake-like, I must say that if I lived during the war and got to eat ‘Honey Cakes’, I would have considered myself quite lucky. It had a somewhat stiff exterior but the crumbly texture of peanut butter cookies on the inside. The mild sweetness and the honey and cinnamon flavours were quite pleasant and I think ‘Honey Cakes’ would be great with a hot cuppa. My obliging colleagues ended up being the unsuspecting guinea pigs for the cakes (I chose not to inflict the goose on them) and 5 out of 7 quite liked them.

Honey Cakes

I am not going to try to prove it but I don’t think it gets much better than these recipes – I avoided things like ‘Pea Puree Pancakes’ and ‘Carrot Fudge’. Obviously with rations like 1 packet of dried eggs and 100g of margarine a week, people who lived during the war had to eat and do whatever they had to do to stretch their rations and survive. I truly have a newfound respect for people who survived that era.

Quantity 16 to 20


1 level teaspoon sugar
2 and a half oz. margarine
2 Level tablespoons honey
6 oz self raising flour
1 level teaspoon cinnamon.

Beat together the sugar and margarine until the mixture is soft and creamy, then add the honey. Sift together the flour and cinnamon. Add to the creamy mixture with a spoon until it binds together then work it with your fingers until it is a soft smooth dough. Flour your hands, take off a piece of dough about the size of a large walnut and roll between the palms of hands until it is a smooth ball. Put onto a slightly greased tin and flatten slightly. Continue until all the dough has been used up. Bake in a moderately hot oven until the cakes are done – about 15 mins.

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