Friday, March 23, 2012

Aunt Mabel's Brown Stew, Depression Corn Bread, and Vintage Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake

Today's meal is a great stew.
Stews were very popular during the Depression as you could "throw" anything into the pot and create a great meal. 
Chicken and rabbit were popular meats to use.
I am using {beef} stew meat today, as this a what I have in the freezer.
It is a great dinner and very filling.
Cornbread was also very popular during the depression.
The recipe I used is from the era and very simple and delicious.
I absolutely HAD to try the Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake!
You will be pleasantly surprised by how lovely it is!


The Depression is usually not branded as a time of culinary creativity. Meal makers were concerned more with providing substance than whipping up a Pillsbury Bake-off winner. However, making do with what few ingredients they could afford makes the Depression significant in culinary history. No time before or since has food been as simple or basic as then.
"Even though my Daddy couldn't find work and my mother took in sewing for extra money, we never starved because Grandpa was a fisherman and restaurants continued to buy from him." Says Maude Page, ten years old at the height of the Depression. "There wasn't much money for convenience foods. For instance, my mother used to make some pretty delicious casseroles using canned goods, but canned goods were one of the things we couldn't afford during that time. Most everything we'd store bought before, like cookies and bread, was cheaper to make from scratch. There was a whole lot of baking going on during those days."
"Every Saturday night we'd have hotdogs and beans. Except for an occasional roast from Grandpa or a traded chicken from next door, we only had meat-hotdogs once a week.
"The one thing we missed the most was fresh fruit. The only time the scent and taste of an orange graced our table was at Christmas. Every year we'd find an orange tucked in the toe of our stockings. We considered it a great treat."

Aunt Mabel's Brown Stew
From: The Country Mother's Cookbook by Jane Watson Hopping

If you have leftovers, use them the next day for Shepard's Pie. 
Just put leftover stew in a 2qt. casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Bake for about 40 min. at 350 degrees.

Depression Corn Bread

Dissolve 1 pkg yeast in 1/4 cup warm water
Scald: 2cups milk
Pour over: 1/3 cup lard or shortening {I used vegetable oil} and 1/3 cup of sugar. 
Cool and add 2 eggs, well beaten and 1 tsp salt and the yeast mixture. 
Mix well and add 4 cups flour and 1/2 cup cornmeal. 
Pour mixture into two loaf pans at this time and let rise until double. 
Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 mins 

Vintage Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake

Vintage WW1 Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake

1 cup water
2 cups raisins
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup lard (shortening) {I used vegetable oil}
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Place water, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, lard (shortening), nutmeg and salt in a saucepan and mix. Place on heat and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes. Allow to cool, then sift together the flour, baking soda and baking
powder. Stir into cooked mixture.
Place in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for one hour.

More Interesting Facts...

The Great Depression started in 1929

The Stock Market Crash was one of the main reasons for the Great Depression. Billions of dollars of stocks were lost.

The Stock Market crashed on October 29, 1929. This day is known as "Black Tuesday."

As a result of the crash unemployment went up, people lost their homes, people were very poor and could not afford the necessities of life.

Fifty percent of the children in the United States did not have "adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care." Some went completely without these necessities. Children started fainting because they did not have enough to eat.

Many people had to go to soup kitchens to get food. The lines were very long. People would spend all day waiting in line just to get a small meal. Soup kitchens were run by charities.

Some people did not even have a soup kitchen to go to. People had to pick trash to find food.

In the 1920s there were no governmental programs to help those who had fallen on hard times. As a result of the Great Depression we know have many governmental agencies to help in times of need.

People did not have money for necessities so there was no way they were going out and buying things they did need. Companies that sold items such as car and other appliance that were selling like crazy before the depression were not selling anything. So production factories stop making money so more people lost jobs.

People who did have jobs made barely enough to survive. Hired farm hands only made
$216.00 a year. A doctor made $3,382.99 a year. 

A few years later things became worse for Americans when the Dust Bowl started. In the area of the Dust Bowl people suffered from a severe drought and dust storms.

Dust was everywhere: lungs, food, drinks, houses, furniture, bodies.

Many people fled their homes to get away from the dust. They had little food and no place to stay. They lived in old cars, boxcars, and some on the streets.

The Dust Bowl most of the crops in the affected region. So there was little food to go around.

Many people were headed west to start over where there was no dust. Many people went to California. Others had no choice but to stay behind and suffer.

People who had savings in banks lost all their money. Banks had lent the money out and there was no money to pay it back. Today we have protection when we put our money in the bank thanks to laws past as a result of the Great Depression.

Many people lived in settlements where they built shacks out whatever they could find. These settlements for called Hoovervilles, named after President Hoover.

President Herbert Hoover in office in the beginning of the Great Depression. He was blamed for "doing too little too late."

Some people would go into restaurants and pretend they were going to order when the waitress went back into the kitchen they would poor all the stuff on the table like ketchup, salt, pepper, etc into their water. They would drink it down before the waitress came back and then they would tell her that they changed their minds and they didn't see anything on the menu they wanted. This drink mixture was called "Hoover soup."

And one more thought to ponder during hard times...

Christians can be and ought to be content with the simple necessities of life...First, when you have God near you and for you, you don't need extra money or extra things to give you peace and security... God is always better than gold...Second, we can be content with simplicity because the deepest, most satisfying delights God gives us through creation are free gifts from nature and loving relationships with people. After your basic needs are met, accumulated money begins to diminish the capacity for these pleasures, rather than increase them. Buying contributes absolutely nothing to the heart's capacity for joy...Third, we should be content with the simple necessities of life because we can invest the extra we make for what really counts (God's Kingdom)"
~John Piper 

Have a lovely day:).



MarmePurl said...

I was hoping edgless, milkless, butterless cake was going to show up in this series. My grandmother still made it in the 1970's. She told me as I was helping her one day that it she used to make for her young family during the depression years. She was the one who taught me to cook in the style that you have been describing. Many thanks for happy memories.

Debbie said...

Thank you for the eggless, butterless, milkless cake recipe! I can't wait to try it. I remember my Grandma making it every time I would visit.

Collette said...

I really enjoyed following this post series! Planning to give a few of these recipes a try next week & see how my family likes them :) (I know they will, lol!)

You have such a gentle, encouraging way of writing & expressing your perspective! You've blessed me this week....just thought I should return that blessing a little bit & tell you so :) It isn't always easy to find that camaraderie of like-minded Mama's who are happy just to be home.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Gina said...

All the recipes sound so good. I have enjoyed reading about the Great Depression too. I guess because I live in a rural area and people could raise gardens I never really thought about the extreme poverty and people truly not having food. I see today's menu had cornbread but it is nothing like we eat in the south. ;) Love the excerpt from John Piper too. So so true!! :)

Unknown said...

I am enjoying this series so much. I think we are in a mess and it isn't going to be any easier anytime soon. We need to be good stewards of what God has given us and be prepared for hard times. Thank you for doing this.


Unknown said...

I am enjoying this series so much. I think we are in a mess and it isn't going to be any easier anytime soon. We need to be good stewards of what God has given us and be prepared for hard times. Thank you for doing this.


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Unknown said...

I am so glad I found this blog! I followed as soon as I read your first post. You have an amazing talent for blogging, and I hope you keep it up!

Also I have a question for you. I also have a blog and I like to repost recipes. Would you mind if I reposted this one, along with the story?
I always credit the original writer, and make sure I add a link back to your blog.

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said... made my day by including the quote from John Piper. I was sitting her complaining of the things I don't have ( and really don't need) then I read it. It is sooo true...I have a full freezer, a paid off house and car, my health and my furbaby...Life is good!!!

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