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The Food of WWII

Discussion in 'WWII Activities and Hobbies' started by Jack B, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Today's lunch: Cretons Francais

    Few people have heard of this dish and I don't know why.

    It’s a French Canadian recipe that is older than the hills. It harkens back to the French dishes of Rillettes and, perhaps, Pâté. Cretons is a meat spread used for sandwiches or canapés. Traditionally made with pork, Cretons has been made with many meats, to include moose.

    It seems to me a way to make a tasty meat spread using lesser cuts of pork. And it preserves well.

    I learned to make Cretons from a Canadian who had a closely-guarded family recipe. I had assumed that it was a dish that was only homemade, so I was a bit surprised to find that Cretons is made commercially. It was still popular during the war and was rationed.


    [​IMG]

    Edmonton Journal, 10 Sep 1945


    I found a couple of wartime recipes; this is a good example from the Montreal Gazette:

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    The Gazette, 27 May 1944


    Note that recipes vary quite a bit:

    [​IMG]

    Canadian family cooking: the best of regional recipes by Norman Kolpas


    I think every family has their own ‘secret recipe’, but the essentials are slow simmered pork ground and blended into a paste with onion, garlic, and spices. Use more or less spice as you wish. Same with the garlic.
    Fat is crucial in this dish. Use a nice fatty bit of pork or ask the butcher for some pork fat to add in while cooking. As the pork cooks, stir the fat back into the mix. It can be made with water and/or wine, but has a richer flavor (and I think is more historically 'true') when made with milk.


    Here’s what I did:

    Ingredients:

    • 1.5 cups milk
    • 3 pounds pork (shoulder is good), cut into chunks
    • 1 yellow onion, minced
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup bread crumbs blitzed finely in a food processor
    Method:
    • Place all ingredients (except bread crumbs) into a large pot, cover and bring to a simmer.
    • Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. (This can be made in a crock pot or slow cooker, too. Set it and forget it. Let cool and then continue as below.)
    • If it starts to become dry, add some water or milk to keep meat covered.
    • When very soft (falling apart), remove lid and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
    • Stir in bread crumbs and mix for next 5-6 minutes. The mixture should be thick.
    • Let cool thoroughly.
    • Once cool, run through meat grinder using fine plate. (I run the mix through twice.)
    • Store in jars or zip top bags. This freezes well.
    Serve on toast. I like it topped with mustard, fresh onion, or pickles. (I’ve been reliably told by a genuine French Canadian that it should be eaten plain on toast and that mustard is heresy. Consider me a heretic.)


    Results:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Mrs Jack loved this. “OMG!” She scarfed her sandwich down in the blink of an eye.

    OK, it is good, really good, but I don’t think it warrants that much excitement. As a way to use up some pork scraps, I think it excels. And it is a little addictive, too. Definitely worth a try. Experiment with the spices. Develop your own "secret family recipe."

    I'm still working on refining my recipe, but I do now have few jars in the freezer for a rainy day….:hungry:
     
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  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    @Jba45ww2 , you may recognize this as the Northern cousin of Penn Dutch "Scrapple", another under-appreciated dish!
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Scrapple in SE Pennsylvania is a mainstay. I have it whenever I go out for breakfast. My son-in-law makes it for us when we're on vacation. I can hear it sizzling now.
     
  4. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Nobody knows about Scrapple. It's a secret. Shhhhhh....

    I make my own Scrapple. ('though I haven't made a batch for a while.) I got a recipe from a sausage making cookbook and tweaked it for Mrs Jack's tastes. Goooood stuff!
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Does your recipe use snouts, tails, and the squeak?
     
  6. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    All I know I know is that it looks like a bunch of goodness. Plus you then really bring it home with a topping of mustard and pickles. Hard to resist
     
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  7. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Sadly...no. As stated earlier, mine is tweaked for Mrs Jack. No squeaks. :D
     
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  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Wow...that looks good! The bread is so important in this type of recipe...would make or break it.
     
  9. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Agree heartily. :thumbup:

    Good bread.....mmmmmmm.....
     
  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    reading The Battle of the Atlantic by Dimbleby...regarding rationing:
    '''by the standards of a later age, the rations were meagre [sic] {initially half a pound of butter, bacon, and sugar per head per week}'''
    this must mean a half pound of all put together, correct?
     
  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I don't know. Even a half pound of each would be fairly tight rations. And nutritionally.....weak.
     
  12. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..we buy 2 pounds of butter for 4 people and this last much longer than a week ....we don't use much sugar....I use about 5 tablespoons per week for coffee--which I only drink on the weekends
    ....the bacon I don't know about because half of what I get is just fat that boils away....I guess it depends on what else they get .....
    butter could not have been a major portion of their food intake?
     
  13. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Augmented with fruits, vegetables, grains, meat.....then, sure, that is more butter, bacon, and sugar than I use in a week. Though.....Mrs Jack and I can go through a pound of butter in a week pretty easily, depending on the menu. I could easily give up all that bacon and sugar if I had other foods.

    So, it does make one wonder what was being omitted from the list?
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....I don't buy bacon much anymore--too expensive--especially when half of it turns into grease ..the prices skyrocketed a couple of years ago
     
  15. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    My grandfather (WWII vet) used to have bacon with breakfast every morning.

    Try that today and you'll end up with a second mortgage and a slap across the face from your cardiologist.
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...ever since I started reading about WW2 many years ago, I've had great appreciation for all and any food I get ....so my ''favorite'' dishes are the ''simple'' ones like a potato/pot pie/a sandwich/soup/a sausage and a roll/etc
     
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  17. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I know my grandmother said she was always running out of sugar and coffee. I was digging around and I saw some information that sugar was calculated as no more than 2lbs per person in a household per month. It also went further to say the importance of registering everyone in your household including your new born child.
     
    Jack B likes this.
  18. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    I know this has been discussed before..the different uses of spam. My Dad was a WWII vet and loved it overseas and as a family later on, he constantly pushed it on us four kids at the dinner table..."come on Dad..spam again tonight?"...years later after I left the house...I have to say I never touched spam since. I am sure before he passed away in 2010 he was still having it for breakfast.
     
  19. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I can't say I love it, but I do enjoy it. And am sure it will show up again in this thread. ;)
     
  20. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    .....from my readings, real coffee was a big/''prime'' subject/want .....it's a prime staple ...and I'm guessing it was back then also...I made a thread on it
    http://ww2f.com/threads/hot-coffee-tea-why.56495/page-4#post-642766
    4 pages!?!
     

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