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Jun 12, 2011 02:29 PM

Food Trickery?

My book club tries to have food appropriate to each book. This month I am the cook and our book is "Operation Mincemeat", the story of a British undercover operation which fooled the Nazis during WW2. I am not eager to produce wartime British cuisine! My husband suggested instead that I serve food which is deceptive in some way. So, fellow Chowhounders, any ideas on a menu that would fool my guests?

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  1. Lupa,
    I can not speak too much about deceptive food, but, if you changed your mind about serving something that might be "authentic" for that time and place, I can tell you this:

    My mother was in Britain during the war. She was raised in a small village outside of Glasgow and would not see the end of rationing until she was a teenager. Even though it was difficult (though, not impossible) to get things like real butter...they always had fresh fish. Actually, the Fish was delivered by carriages drawn by Clydesdales. Meat, other than mutton, was hard to come by. Though, that did not really change even after rationing was over.

    I hope that helps.

    1. Isn't modern mincemeat, made of various fruits, really a "deceptive" version of original mincemeat which was indeed minced meat products? I guess along with the idea of mince pie, here is a link for mock apple pie made from Ritz crackers. I've never made it; I've only ever run across it from time to time. I believe it is a Depression recipe, but perhaps my information is not correct.

      Of course there is also mock turtle soup, which I will let you look for online.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        Oh, I like the idea of mock apple pie (even though I would not normally serve guests a dish made from Ritz crackers!). My grandmother used to do something bizarre to tuna salad to make it taste like chicken. I wish I knew what it was......

        1. re: lupaglupa

          You can get all-natural versions of Ritz crackers at Whole Foods. I think the Late July brand has butter crackers that look like Ritz, at least on the box. I did have that mock apple pie years ago, and it was very good. I knew it wasn't apple pie, though.

          For your deception, you could write a menu with British wartime foods and tell the guests this is what you are going to serve, then produce whatever real thing you want. For example, you could write on your menu "omelets made from powdered egg," then serve a yummy frittata as an appetizer.

      2. Don't know where you're located, but Trader Joe's carries an eggless egg salad that could be used as a filling for petite cream puffs, or filo shells, and served as an appetizer. But, if you want to go the extra mile, here's a recipe for homemade (haven't tried it, so can't say how good it is)

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          1. You could serve anything stuffed, or filled, or "en croute" -- something that must be "uncovered".

            Or you could physically hide the food on the premises and play the "warm...getting warmer" game!

            3 Replies
            1. re: blue room

              Not sure that would go over well! This is a group that would only like a theme that resulted in a delicious dinner. Authenticity would be compromised early if it meant bad food.

              1. re: lupaglupa

                ? Not sure why these suggestions would mean "bad food" -- ?

                1. re: blue room

                  I didn't mean that - I was thinking that they would not enjoy a game - they care more about food than theme.