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Food from the 1940's?

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Our church is planning it's annual dinner/dance fundraiser. Last year's theme was the 1970's, the year before was the 50's. This year's theme is the 1940's. More specifically, "A Salute to Our Troops Yesterday & Today". There will be a USO-style entertainment show. The food needs to be inexpensive, served buffet-style, and in keeping with the theme. Oh, and we expect to serve about 250 adults. Any ideas? Thanks!

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  1. Check this website out.. http://www.foodtimeline.org/fooddecad...


    Pot of baked beans, frankfurters in toasted rolls, steamed brown bread, mustard pickles, salad of mixed vegetables, raisin and walnut turnovers, tray of assorted cheeses, coffee.
    Cold sliced baked ham, swiss cheese, peas marinated in French dressing, jellied tomato and potato salad, brown bread sandwiches, frozen chocolate russe, iced tea.
    Veal paprika, noodles with poppy seeds, string beans, a salad of greens, velvet pie, orange mint julep, coffee.
    Creamed oysters, eggs and mushrooms, buttered rice, peas, marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, celery, heated rolls, lemon meringue tarts, mints, coffee.
    Neapolitan spaghetti and meat balls, salad of mixed vegetables, celery rolls in loaf, wine jelly, bran butterscotch refrigerator cookies, coffee.
    Cranberry juice cocktail (served in the living room), ham and string bean savory, corn bread squares, tossed salad of shredded cabbage, prunes, grapes and orange sections, pumpkin pie, coffee
    Baked corned beef with mustard sauce, cheesed new potatoes, horse-radish, salad bowl of tomatoes, celery, radishes and mixed greens, soft rolls, buttered and reheated, raspberry-whip cake, coffee.
    ---Good Housekeeping, 1944 (p. 899-900)
    Buffet Suppers
    NO. 1: Whole Baked Ham, slightly warm, Horseradish Sauce...Shrimp or Lobster Aspic...with Blackstone Dressing...Macaroni with Tomatoes and Mushrooms...Crescent Rolls, Milwaukee Rye Bread, Chocolate Coffee Ice Cream, Almond or Peanut Cookies, Orange Sticks, Stuffed Dates, Coffee
    ---The Settlement Cook Book, Mrs. Simon Kander [Settlement Cook Book Co.:Milwaukee WI], 25th edition enlarged and revised, 1943 (p. 610)

    Picnic basket menus

    Ham and mustard sandwiches, egg and tomato sandwiches, cream cheese and grape jelly sandwiches, assorted fresh fruits, cookies, coffee (vacuum bottle.)
    Deviled eggs, sardine sandwiches, olives, spreading cheese and green pepper sandwiches, fruit, hot water gingerbread, coffee.
    Cold fried chicken, salad of mixed vegetables (in container), bread and butter sandwiches, mincemeat turnovers, tomato juice, coffee.
    ---Good Housekeeping, 1944 (p. 889)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lightsuprooms

      EARLY 20th CENTURY:

      ***HORS D' OEUVRES: Sardine pasties, Rolled toast with mushrooms, Cheese puffs, Snacks in bacon blankets, Crabmeat or lobster canapes, Picquant puffs. Platter of cold appetizers: Rainbow rye bread appetizer, Canapes of Smoke salmon, Stuffed celery stalk with crabmeat, Caviar sandwiches...piped with cream cheese, Rolled sandwiches filled with mock pate de foie gras or any spread, Dried beef snacks, Raw chopped meat.

      ***COCKTAILS: Liquor cocktails, Yellow tomato juice cocktail, Dubonnet and Sherry, Ice cubes, Charged water, Ginger ale, Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch Whisky.

      ***FUN 1940's SNACKS: M&Ms, Welch's Junior Mints & Tootsie Rolls packed in US ration kits were all introduced in the 40s!

    2. try finding out what was compiled in to a soliders field meal and go from there

      1. You might have a look at How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher. She wrote it at the beginning of WWII in response to rationing. I haven't read it in a long time, but I remember it being funny, sympathetic and down-to-earth while emphasizing the importance of eating well during hardship.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ks in la

          Or maybe even better, Adele Davis. To put it in pop cultural terms, she was the spriritual grandmother of the Jane Brody/Alice Waters types - definitely ahead of her time, but now lost in the sea of food/health fads this country has been suffering through since the 50s.... She was arguing for fresh food wholesomely prepared before it became chic to do so. ;)

        2. Oh the rationing! Might be fun to some how incorporate rationing int the event!!!

          1. coca-cola cake! Seriously. :)

            1. I am with all the folks who mentioned the rationing - perhaps you could hand out ration stamps for dessert.

              1. In high school, my best friend and I were going through her mother's recipe cards and found an odd raisin muffin recipe. No sugar or butter from what I remember. We asked her why you'd make muffins without either, and she said it was a WW2 recipe. Rationing often left everyone without sugar or butter, and cooks got inventive to make sweets and baked goods. I'm not sure how well they'd go over on a buffet, but I thought I'd share anyway. She also said they ate inexpensive cuts of meat, and nearly everyone had at least a small garden.

                1. A fascinating book called "Don't You Know There's a War On?", about the home front during World War II, has a brief section on typical foods served at home.

                  Breakfast; Orange juice, oatmeal and milk, bacon and eggs once in a while, toast and coffee. (I'd include apple jelly for the toast.)

                  Lunch: Soup, bread and butter, celery and carrot strips, sandwiches only occasionally, milk and fruit for the kids, cheese sandwiches, cake and fruit for dad's lunch bucket.

                  Dinner: An inexpensive main dish, such as macaroni and cheese, tomatoes and franks, scalloped potatoes with bacon and franks, vegetable beef soup, fruit salad or Jello for dessert, or very occasionally cake or pie. and once in a while on Sunday pot roast or chicken. (Also, of course, good old beans and franks.)

                  I was just a little kid back then, but I seem to remember a lot of bologna and Velveeta sandwiches. Peanut butter was a staple with the men in our family, but not so much with the females. We also liked a baked casserole with tuna, noodles and Campbell's mushroom soup.

                  And don't forget Spam, which I understand is much better today than the stuff served GI's. Bake it like ham, with a glaze and cloves. Not bad.

                  Also check out:

                  1. A salute to the troops, 40s style, HAS to include SOS - aka creamed chipped beef on toast!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bat Guano

                      Yes, though in mess halls with refrigeration hamburg is also widely served. The authentic version uses cream sauce made with powdered milk. For a better dish, substitute homemade beef gravy.

                      1. I found this discussion and couldn't resist asking how it went, and what menu did you end up with? Were folks in costume also? Just love old recipes and the 40s are a top favorite.