A Victory Garden

In the early nineteen forties,women shopped with ration stamps that limited the amount of groceries they bought in order to support the war effort. To supplement the their meager rations, they grew vegetable gardens in spare plots of land and also in their own back yards. Neat rows of lettuce, tomatoes, yellow wax beans, green onions, cabbage and yellow squash were planted everywhere. Since the ingredients for the meals depended upon what was available in the cupboard and the garden, the home cooks really had to stretch their imaginations.

For a late afternoon lunch, leaves of cabbage were stuffed with ground meat, uncooked rice, stewed tomatoes and a pinch of sugar.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
(Serves 8)

8-large cabbage leaves, washed and left whole
1-lb. ground meat
1-cup rice, uncooked
1-can stewed tomatoes, chopped
1/4-tsp sugar
1/2-cup onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large pot boil enough water to cover the cabbage leaves. Turn down the heat and add the cabbage leaves for three minutes until the leaves are softened. Into a large bowl: mix the ground meat,the uncooked rice,the onion and the sugar.Season with the salt and the pepper. After the ground meat mixture is well combined. Spoon enough of the meat mixture into the cabbage leaves. After they are filled with the meat mixture. Roll each filled leaf and secure it with a toothpick. Line a baking dish with the stuffed leaves and pour the stewed tomatoes over them. Bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes to an hour. Serve with a bowl of lettuce and tomatoes with a sweet boiled vinegar salad dressing.

Boiled Vinegar Salad Dressing

1-cup white vinegar
1/2-cup sugar
1/2-cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a saucepan: add the white vinegar, the sugar and the water on medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the vinegar the sugar and the water are well combined. Let cool. Pour the salad dressing over the lettuce and the tomato and combine them until the salad is well coated with the dressing.

Yellow squash is so versatile to prepare. It is good steamed with some butter and nutmeg, baked into a favorite casserole or sliced thin and dipped into an egg wash, then rolled into a seasoned corn meal and flour mixture and dropped into a pan of hot vegetable oil.

Fried Yellow Squash

4 or 5 yellow squash, slice thin
2-eggs,beaten
1/4-cup water
1-cup flour
3/4-cup corn meal
Salt and pepper to taste
3-cups vegetable oil

Directions: Beat the eggs with the water. Soak the slices of the yellow squash in the egg wash mixture. Soak the squash for fifteen minutes. In a bowl: mix the yellow corn meal, the flour, and the salt and pepper. Evenly coat the slices of yellow squash in the seasoned corn meal and flour mixture. In a deep fryer: Gently drop the coated slices of the squash into the hot vegetable oil and fry until they are golden brown.

Crispy yellow wax beans have never failed to please the most finickey appetites with bacon added to them. For the carb conscious, olive oil is substituted.

Yellow Wax Beans With Bacon

2-lbs. fresh yellow wax beans, parboiled
2-slices bacon, cut into pieces
1/4-cup onion, chopped

Directions: In a skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they are done. Remove them from the skillet and set them aside. Saute the onion in the bacon grease, or olive oil until it is transparent. Add the parboiled wax beans and the bacon pieces. Coat the wax beans evenly with the bacon grease or the olive oil.

When the sugar ration ran low, a sugarless lemon pie was invented for those times when a dessert was needed before the ration stamps ran out.

Lemon Victory Pie
(8-inch pie)

Graham cracker crust
16-graham crackers
2-Tlb sugar
1/4-cup of butter or margarine, melted
Directions: Combine the ingredients and press them in a eight inch pie pan. Bake in a 150 degree oven for ten minutes. Filling:
1-1/3-cups sweetened condensed milk
1-tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2-cup lemon juice
2-egg yolks, mixed well until thickened
Directions:Combine the ingredients. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Meringue:
2-egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4-tsp vanilla
sugar to stiffen egg whites

Directions: Mix the egg whites in a medium bowl add the salt and the vanilla. Set the mixer at high speed adding the sugar a little at a time. When the egg whites have formed white peaks, spoon them on top of the pie mixture. Bake the pie for ten to fifteen minutes. Serve cooled.

Cooking since the age of fifteen, the author has always loved learning food history.

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