Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Estate Tag Sale Scores a WWII Cooking Pamphlet and Army Cookbooks
I stopped by an estate tag sale on Saturday morning and what luck! Amid the stacks of books on different subjects I found some real gems. There, in almost mint condition, was a Betty Crocker pamphlet in red, white, and blue called, "Your Share" from wartime. It gives tips to the homemaker on ways to deal with rationing, and then all kinds of recipes that use very little meat, sugar, shortening, butter and eggs. There is one section that covers cooking at odd hours for people who work shift work, and nutritious snacks to send to work with them. There are tips in the book on making the most of the produce from their Victory Gardens.
My excitement of discovery didn't stop there; I found an Army Manual for K.P. Duty that is full of instructions on how to prepare each recipe (each serves 100 men). Units of measure include: Mess kit spoons; No. 56 dippers; pounds, gallons and mess kit cups. This book does not have its front cover anymore, but I assume it was even taken "in the field" so it's had rough treatment and been well-used. It's dated 1942.
My final purchase of the day was an Army Canned Food Manual from 1942. It is hard-backed and in mint condition, also. There are lots of charts in the book breaking down the cost per serving and amounts of cans of food needed per 100 men. The book goes into detail on the canning process and how best to store and rotate canned foods. I would imagine that Army cooks were tested on the information in this manual. The front of the manual has the Army seal and says, "To Be Used As a Training Aid-Not An Official Publication."
Since I'm interested in old cookbooks and history, I really enjoyed reading these items of American military history. I don't know that I'll ever have the chance to cook for 100 men...but if so, I'm prepared!