March 4th- The Canadian Wartime Recipe Challenge 2015 (2024)

So its very interesting that so many of the programs were aimed at the wives that stayed at home..

Wow, did the ladies of the day step up.. they left their homes and went to work full time as workers in t he factories, they ran the farms, they left school and joined the Womens Farmettes working as unpaid labour on the farms, they learned a whole new language of the time in terms of cooking and feeding their families, and they were still expected to have their hair done, and makeup on, raise the children, and keep the house..

I can only imagine just how stressed they were, their loved ones, be it husbands, brothers, and sons or grandsons where miles away fighting in a war that came on the heels of the great depression and a world war before that..

Life as they knew it was hard! and then came another war, more hardship, more worry and loss, and yet its clear that they stepped up! O did they step up.. The land army produced for by both home and overseas, the farmettes helped feed this country, and the victory gardens where hard work, they figured out how to make the rations work for them..

Now, I know that this does not sound nice but most poor in many ways were in fact better off during the rationing time then they had been in the great depression, there was now caps on rents, on basics like gas and so much more and then there were the ration books that each family was to get…

This meant that everyone had the ability to get a basic of food for their family, while at the same time work for the women was plentiful, if you want to get a idea of how poorly the basic folks where doing, before these measures where brought in.. 60 percent of all young Canadian men where failing the requirements to be able to go to war..

granted it was in some cases poor mans food at the time, including food that we consider healthy today and they considered animal fodder at the time, including beets, carrots, turnips, cabbage

Yes, it was low fat, low sugar and leaner meat but least face it, really is two pounds of meat per week per adult really that little meat, I would say that there are lot of folks and families out there that already limit their own families to around the same amount, stretching it out with all kinds of things..

Bread was not rationed during the war but it was afterwards..

But veggies and some fruits where very plentiful indeed, but there was a great lack of knowledge in the general public in regards to foraging, I thought that odd until it was pointed out to me that most of the folks who settled just did not have the knowledge.

My great-grandfather was a tailor, it must have been so hard, to have come from the city to a farm in the wild west, he made fine gentlemans suits, what the heck did he know about growing food, or looking after animals..

Thankfully not all settlers where so challenged, a goodly number did come from farming backgrounds but many of those would have been tenants and would have very limited forage or hunting rights if any at all.

This was not handed down knowledge and they had no google, no books that are easy to get, no clinics offered by local gardening or forage groups..

They made due.. o yes they did..

Which brings me to a few of the replacements for Coffee or Tea

It’s time to learn how to make Barley tea. Let’s put the kettle on.

Roasting the grain:

You can buy roasted barley at a local Asian market. Otherwise, when making this tea from scratch, you must roast barley in the oven or in a skillet, until as the grains become brown (traditionally, a deep dark brown).

Later, you can easily grind roasted barley by using a pepper grinder.

Watch out for the freshness of barley grain, as it can turn rancid if you leave an open bag too long in the pantry. Don’t be afraid to get creative as it goes well with all types of food!

It takes more time to prepare it this way than using a regular tea bag, but tastes better and makes a fine iced tea when steeped for a few minutes.

Brewing your tea:

    • Simmering makes the most robust tasting and dark mugicha. To do this, bring water to boil, throw in 2-3 tablespoons of loose grain per liter of water or tea bag, then lower the heat and let simmer for a couple of minutes.

      Tip: make sure you use filtered water as it makes a difference in taste.

    • Turn the heat off and let it cool in the pan to room temperature, then strain and, for iced tea, chill in the fridge.
  • Adjust amount of barley seeds to the desired flavour. Mugicha often comes in tea bags as well as loose form. It usually involves roasted barley and a deeper, stronger flavour that may or may not be as enjoyable as unroasted barley.


Parsnip Postum Coffee

Here’s all you do to duplicate Marjorie’s recipe: Cut a batch of fresh parsnip roots (skins and all) into very small pieces, or grate the roots as you would hash brown potatoes. Dehydrate the bits well, then roast ’em in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven until they’re a very dark brown (about 20 minutes). Turn the oven off and allow the crunchy morsels to cool as the oven itself cools.

Then get out your favorite mug, steep the parsnip chunks in scalding-hot water (one rounded tablespoonful per cup), and presto! You’ve got a Java substitute that — in Mrs. Meschke’s own words — “is better than coffee . . . with no bitterness!”

Or the one I knew growing up..

Dandelion Coffee

Susanna Moodie explained how to prepare dandelion coffee in her memoir of living in Canada, Roughing it in the bush[1] (1852), where she mentions that she had heard of it from an article published in the 1830s in New York Albion by a certain Dr. Harrison.

Clearly its been around for a long time indeed in Canada

After harvesting, the dandelion roots are dried, chopped, and roasted. They are then ground into granules which are steeped in boiling water to produce dandelion coffee

Now after digging and digging it really would appear that the most common and popular teas that replaced regular tea was mint..

All kinds of lovely flavoured mints where grown in the gardens and dried and saved to create mint tea.. Borage and Nettles were also common, as was Elder flower tea, so was current tea.. Pretty much if you could grow it, it had a flavour you liked, it could be dried and saved, it was up for grabs on the tea front.

March 4th- The Canadian Wartime Recipe Challenge 2015 (2024)


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