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There is also a Ritz Cracker “apple” pie, that tastes like a good apple pie. Although I had it in the 50’s, I was told it was an old recipe. You could also consider rice pudding, and bread pudding.
“Vinegar Cake” from England and “Wacky Cake” from North America are war-time cakes that use no eggs or milk. Vinegar Pie is a Depression era recipe for a dessert pie, while Scrapple is best left unsaid and untouched.
My mother grew up in the Depression, and still prefers her peanut butter sandwiches with mayonnaise.
Just last year I tasted a sugar cream pie, and it was edible but very boring. It tasted like a base of a better dessert, that you’d want to put some kind of tasty ingredient on top of. Even canned fruit would be an improvement to it.
My current favorite “use everything” dish is bread pudding. I almost always have eggs, milk and sugar on hand, and a well-stocked spice cabinet, so a stale loaf of bread becomes a warm homey dessert.
scrapple and black pudding are the two things i’ll never touch again. just me. i’ve seen people revel in them. vinegar cake is my favorite chocolate cake and a lifesaver, since my daughter-in-law is allergic to milk and my daughter is allergic to eggs!
I love scrapple and black pudding! Unfortunately, it’s hard to get either in Memphis (online only, sigh). I did try to make my own scrapple, but it was not as satisfactory as that I had at a Pennsylvania lunch counter many years ago. Another reason to travel!
When the cupboard was really bare, my mother would make a dish from her childhood she called “Nothing Soup.” (In Slovenian it translates to “Burned Soup”.). It consists of a roux made with whatever fat was available—bacon grease is nice—and flour, toasted to a dark brown, and then turned into soup by adding water. Season with caraway seeds and salt. If it’s a very good day, an egg per person was poached in-the broth. If it’s a so-so day, a single beaten egg could be drizzled into the hot soup. And when times were really bad, one just gets the watery broth with a far-off hint of bacon and better times.
One dish I remember as a child, whose ingredients are still readily available, was a patriotic gesture on my mother’s part. We children were not aware of that and she may not have been fully conscious of it either! During the second World War, her family had cooked with Spam. I imagine there are whole cookbooks dedicated to it. No longer any need to ration meat, we would still have a dish, I am afraid was really delicious! She would make (boxed) macaroni and cheese and then pan saute slices of spam drizzled with maple syrup at the end, on the side.
Here’s a recipe – Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise – John Tanner's Barbecue Blog.
The most important Depression foods were ultra-nutritious greens with pot likker – this is the Huey P. Long recipe - A Classic Pot Likker Recipe – John Tanner's Barbecue Blog with cornbread, perfected here – Recipe Time: Corn Bread – John Tanner's Barbecue Blog
My grandmother would make what she called goulash, but was in reality whatever canned vegetables she needed to use up, whatever broth she had on hand, and generally round beef. Paired with cornbread, of course.
My father would make boiled peeled potatoes with scallions, butter, salt & pepper. My grandmother grew potatoes and scallions in their tiny garden in Brooklyn because it was cheap and easy. When there was nothing else to eat, they were always ready to be dug up. When there was something to eat, this was the side dish. Having butter with them was a treat. Even though this dish was born of poverty, he never lost his taste for it. Neither have I
My nanna who half raised me was from the UK and was in London during WW2. She would save her fat in a jar or tin and told me in the war when they were on rations and couldn’t get any meat that everyone put the fat on bread like butter.
Potato crumb pastry is not a Soviet innovation. It is popular in Finland since the 19th century. I think it came to Finland from Russia.
Yes, my folks drank the pot likker, too.
Hungarian goulash tastes good. I was served that in the hospital once.
I eat this dish even today.
There’s War Cake and, of course bread pudding - the savoury not the sweet kind. When my mother was growing up, there was always a cloth bag in the pantry to put the bread heels and crumbs in over the course of the week - cloth so they would dry out. Then you’d add some herbs and tie it up tight to boil in the pot with the soup or vegetables and a bit of salt meat for flavour. Really any truly traditional Newfoundland dishes are going to be born of scarcity. Right now I’m taking the opportunity to work my way through freezer and cupboard. Last night it was split pea soup enough for the week and thick as porridge.
My Family is Italian, and during the great depression some recipes became a favorites of my parents and grandparents Ribollita, and old Italian bread soup was one, Beans, pasta and sauce was another, Polanta, chicken,and tomato sauce was also another rare but liked one.
I think it’s called “mock” apple pie. Mock meaning fake.